Gyokuro from Shizuoka, 50g
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Green tea very rich in umami. Gyokuro is a “shaded tea”: as soon as the buds appear, or at the latest three weeks before harvest, the tea plants are protected from sunlight. They grow under increasingly tight nets, blocking from about 70% at the beginning to over 90% at the end. Photosynthesis naturally produces catechins that cause astringency; by shading tea plants, the production of catechins is slowed down while the proportion of theanine, a source of umami, increases. This is the reason why some Japanese tea, like Gyokuro, but also Kabusecha or Matcha, are partly grown in the dark. This extra work also leads to a higher price.