We visited Uji on our May 2023 Japan tea trip, where the 16th generation of the Yoshida family makes tea. Masahiro Yoshida welcomed us with a very delicious Gyokuro, from the fresh harvest. We were all amazed by the dynamic and balanced green depth of the tea and accompanying sweetness. We were served a cold brewed Aracha Gyokuro made from a Samidori varietal. We’ve learned that Aracha (荒茶) means tea, that has not yet been fully processed, it is still to be rolled and sorted. It has stems and the shape of the leaves is not uniform. The flavour captured our attention, and we ordered a batch of this tea.
Steamed gaiwan: sweet beans, peas, vivid green notes.
Tastes, feelings: citrusy, like a very smooth lemonade, like an elegantly grilled fish with a little lemon drizzled on top. The tea has a bright sweetness and vivid umami taste, and its mouthfeel is very round and full.
This Gyokuro Aracha is exceptionally delicious and refreshing cold brewed.
Recommended preparation, our current favourite:
First steep 6g tea leaves in 100-120 ml cold water for 7 minutes for a fantastic ethereal and concentrated sip, then steep for 40-60s in 75°C water for further infusions.
Quantity: 5-6 grams per 180ml
Water temperature: 55 / 55 / 80 ºC. From fresh spring, mineral water, or filtered water
Brewing time: 90 / 75 / 60…seconds