Gyokuro, known also as a diamond dew or a liquid jade is the most precious Japanese tea. Even in Japan, where green tea is part of the daily life, gyokuro is perceived nearly with sacred respect and seen as a great rarity, which definitely is soething special. Whereas matcha become a part of everyday life in form of sweets, ice cream or drinks like matcha-latte, Gyokuro, however, retreated into the background.. With all its sophistication gyokuro remains aside from all the busy life and keeps its poetics and magic. The way to this tea isn´t easy, but those who get through will be rewarded with astonishing scale of tastes and scents, which any other tea canot offer..
The story of Gyokuro starts in the epoch of Edo, year 1835. The merchant named Yamamoto Kahei VI (the sixth of his name) visited Uji on one of his journeys. He went there to study the way of planting tencha at the house of Kinoshita family. The winter that year was unusually long and farmers tried to protect their tea plants with thatches. Later during the tea processing Yamamoto noticed that the leaves from local tea plants were more sticky while shaped than the leaves from other areas he visited. He made a mark about this curiosity and shaped leaves to the small balls - in that time very unusual shape. He named the tea "Tama no Tsuyu" and with its delicious taste it became in Edu (nowdays Tokyo) very well-known and successful. However, when Yamamoto Kahei tried to repeat the process at the other places, he had never achieved such delicate taste again. The man who in 1841 found out that the key to make such amazing gyokuro is in shading tea plants was Shigejyuro Eguchi, farmer from Uji. There the story of gyokuro started to tell itself - in short period of time it became famous in whole Japan, now in the whole world.
To produce good gyokuro is difficult - you need time, hard work and lots of experience. Many Japanese planters claim that plant really good gyokuro without the help of chemistry is impossible. Mister Sakamoto is a living example, that it is not only possible to plant good one but even to plant the best gyokuro, completely without chemicals and artificial fertilizers. The plantation of mister Sakamoto is situated far from big civilization, in the middle of beautiful nature, surrounded by forest and mountains, watched over by majestic fuming volcano named Sakurajima. Plantation is over 30years purely organic and certified by JAS. Thanks to the secluded location there is no pesticide contamination from other plantations. Story about meeting mister Sakomoto would fill the whole book, but shortly - there is no doubt about his abilities. I tasted a lot of different gyokuros during the last 20 years, but never such good as this one. Areek