Enhance the Pure Elegant Flavor (Tencha - Pure Elegant Flavor)Enhance the Pure Elegant Flavor (Tencha - Pure Elegant Flavor)

Kuradashi Tea

We are planning to sell three limited edition Kuradashi Gyokuro, one Kuradashi Sencha, and three Kuradashi Matcha only available mid-autumn. Please wait and see!

Maturation of Kuradashi Tea

It has been said since olden days that fine Gyokuro and Matcha gain an enriched flavor and deep noble aroma and sweetness over time, and so are best some months and up to two years after harvest. Not all green tea is suitable for this process, and only certain types of high-quality Uji tea produce the finest Kuradashi Gyokuro.
From a scientific standpoint, Japanese tea does not age in the same way as fine wine, and of course it does not become alcoholic. However, it is an indisputable fact that certain Japanese tea, specific breeds of high-quality Uji tea, gain an enriched flavor by a special traditional aging process.
We would like to explain more about Kuradashi Gyokuro. What flavor is created? What type of Japanese tea gains the flavor? And what is the aging procedure?

The features of green tea enriched and aged in good condition are:
- Deepened and gained smoothness and sweetness of flavor.
- Created and gained subtle enriched and noble aroma.
- Softened and rounded refreshing aroma, in contrast to Shincha's usual brisk and refreshing aroma.

All tea does not gain the enriched flavor. Only tea leaves which meet the following criteria can possibly gain an enriched flavor:
- Fresh, high-quality, and smooth-tasting tea leaves harvested at well-managed tea farms.
- Tea grown carefully in the shade by "Tana" (not "Jikagise"). With the "Jikagise" method, the tea plants are directly covered with a type of black fabric. "Tana" is not covering the tea tree directly but building a canopy.
- At processing, the tea must not be heavily steamed. However, farmers tend to steam tea leaves for Gyokuro more heavily to produce tea with a deep, smooth taste and vivid green color. Such Gyokuro can not be aged well.
Tea leaves meeting the above criteria are just a small portion of the highest quality tea leaves harvested in Uji, Kyoto. Tea leaves that do not meet these criteria just deteriorate when aged.

However, even with the correct type of tea leaves, it is not an easy task to properly age green tea.
Tea leaves are usually packaged in aluminum foil bags filled with nitrogen in order to keep fresh flavor through the year. And they are stored in a special refrigerator.
To create Kuradashi Gyokuro, the green tea must be allowed to "breathe". Over a period of time, the oxygen has an effect on the green tea which creates the enriched flavor. If the tea is aged by an inappropriate procedure or inappropriate type tea is aged, it will simply deteriorate.
In order to age and enrich well, tea leaves need air, oxygen. Though we put tea leaves in a foil bag, we don't seal the bag. The tea is carefully placed in a traditional wooden box (like below picture) in the special refrigerator. To enrich, the temperature in the refrigerator also should not be too cold. The air circulates in the bag, wooden box, and the refrigerator, allowing a flow of oxygen to constantly mix with the tea. In this way, the tea leaves are allowed to breathe over time.
However, because the bag is not sealed, and the temperature in the refrigerator is not so cold, tea leaves can easily deteriorate by absorbing moisture or odor. Therefore we always pay the closest attention to the tea leaves to ensure their perfection.

As above, it is not easy to enrich Gyokuro well, so many wholesalers and retailers these days are not willing to accept risks in order to enrich Gyokuro. However, the enriched flavor and subtle noble aroma and sweetness of Kuradashi Gyokuro are more than someone can dream. Would you enjoy it once?

Shaded from sunlight by way of 'Tana' before harvest

Shaded from sunlight by way of 'Jikagise' before harvest

Gyokuro Processing factory using very traditional machines

Tea leaves processed for Kuradashi Gyokuro by traditional way. Traditional processing way amazingly takes a lot of time.

Just one person operate modern processing facilities which capacity is about four times as large as this traditional facilities. In contrast that, five to seven persons work in the traditional factory which capacity is small.

Kurashi teas put in wooden box are enriched in the special cold storage chamber.

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