Straw-shaded for over a month before being hand-picked, this gyokuro has an enticingly sweet aroma, an umami rich body, and a long-lasting finish
Honzu (本簀) shading is the most traditional shading method. Dating back at least over 400 years, the Honzu method uses the same shelf system as kanreisha but uses a screen of reeds as the first layer of shading instead of synthetic fabric. Though considerably more labour intensive and expensive to construct, the reed screen allows for even more air and moisture to circulate around the plants producing higher-quality, more complex teas. Additional layers of shading are added by placing straw mats on top of the reed screen.
Uji city in Kyoto has long been at the centre of Japanese tea and has been famed for its high-quality matcha production for centuries, dating back to the 12th century. The shading method used to produce modern matcha (c. 16th century) along with sencha (1737) and gyokuro itself (1835) were all invented by Uji farmers looking to push the boundaries of tea quality. Though the name Ujicha remains associated with high-grade tea, most tea branded as Ujicha is produced in the neighbouring towns of Ujitawara, Minamiyamashiro, Kizugawa, and primarily Wazuka.
Meet the Producer
Yoshida Meichaen (吉田銘茶園)