Master Hideyuki Kumagai
This special select Hon Gyokuro is among the very best in Japan! We called it Tengoku, meaning "heaven" in Japanese.
A single sip of this delicate beauty and you'll know why a Hon Gyokuro from Yame is so famous. With dark, lush, hand-plucked leaves, Hon Gyokuro is the top classification for any Japanese tea, the pinnacle grade, yielding brews to be cherished, drop after drop. Sophisticated, savory and satisfying, it is blessed by amazing lingering sweetness - the hallmark of Yame tea. When you experience the finishing note, you'll understand why Hon Gyokuro from Yame in Kyushu is considered to be the champagne of Japanese teas.
Within the Gyokuro classification, there's regular Gyokuro and then there's Hon Gyokuro, or "authentic" Gyokuro. The difference in taste and leaf quality is quite remarkable. It comes from the shading method using fresh straw mats to manipulate leaf-growth and boost the nutritional content of the tea. Regular Gyokuro doesn't use straw when shading only Hon Gyokuro does. The nearly extinct practice of shading with hand-woven fresh straw mats allows the minerals from the straw to filter down into the soil by rainwater, creating a more mineral rich and alkalizing, pinnacle grade tea. It's a luxurious and all-together different experience.
And don't forget to eat the leaves after you have delicately steeped them three times. Yes, really! Simply dress them with citrus soy sauce, salad dressing or even yogurt and avocado. Watch Holly trying it in this video...
Use a shiboridashi or small teapot
Water: 40ml (1.5 oz) or adjust to preference
Temp: 55-60°C (131-140°F)
Tea: 5g (1tsp)
Steep 1: 2 seconds
Steep 2: 90 seconds
Steep 3: 120 seconds
Dress leaves and eat!
Fabulous when cold-brewed too!