The complex flavours combine sweetness and umami notes with beautifully balanced vegetal depth.
Sakamoto Tea Garden
A 3rd generation farm run by the two Sakamoto brothers. They moved to fully organic farming thirty years ago, realising that the soil and the tea plants were being ruined by pesticides & herbicides. They believe as we do that "healthy soil creates healthy plants and better tea."
They focus their attention on the soil as much as the intricate crafting of the leaf. You can taste the love and care they take in every aspect of this tea.
The Sakamoto brothers focus intensely on soil health as the key to growing healthy tea plants and making the most delicious tea. They create their own nutrient rich soil mix with natural fertilisers and carefully nestle each new tea plant in 2 metres deep. This allows for the tea plant's roots to fully develop in the soil mix.
The brothers only harvest once a year - the leaves that are pruned from the plant throughout the remainder of the year are used to make an organic fertiliser, and returned to the soil, helping maintain the mineral aroma of the tea leaves.
Twenty days prior to harvest the tea is shaded in the fields, as is the practice for all gyokuro teas. But the Sakamoto brothers developed a system to do this in three stages.
One layer of shading material is used in the first week and a new layer is added every few days, leaving the plants fully shaded for the very last week. This gently builds the chlorophyll production in the plant, preventing the L-theanine from turning into catechins through reaction with sunlight.
L-theanine is the reason for the umami notes in Gyokuro, and it is responsible for the "feel good" effect on our brains.