photo: www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/2130756375/

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos…

The Christmas Song as sung by Nat King Cole. In my opinion, you can’t get any better than that during the holiday season. Once you hear this song on the radio for the first time, you know it is the Holidays.

My favorite part is the opening line, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” It not only gives me a vivid mental picture of sitting around the fire with family and friends, but I also can almost smell the chestnuts roasting. It is because of this I can’t think of a better way to introduce a brand new tea to our line, Gyokuro. But instead of roasted chestnuts, it has a natural flavor of roasted walnut.

Gyokuro is the Most Prized Tea From Japan

Guyokuro’s are grown in the hills of Uji, Japan near the former capital of Kyoto. What makes them so unique is that they are shade grown. About a month before the first plucking season, the tea plants are shielded by the sun with large straw mats. This “shading” of the tea helps to concentrate the amino acid content giving Gyokuro’s their umami characteristic.

Umami is a Mouth Coating Sensation

Have you ever had a traditional, homemade chicken soup? Did you notice how the broth felt much “thicker” than the stuff you find in the can? It was probably also much tastier.

This same concept applies to Japanese teas. Gyokuro’s have the same “thickness” as homemade chicken soup. When you take a sip of Gyokuro it literally coats the inside of your mouth, expressing the concept of “mouthfeel” to the fullest.

Gyokuro has a Flavor of Roasted Walnuts and Nori

Unlike Senchas, which have predominant Nori or Spinach notes, Gyokuro’s are known for their roasted walnut flavor. The reason I call it a roasted walnut is because walnuts acquire a “meatiness” when they are cooked. It is this same “meatiness” that give Gyokuro’s a savory flavor that can’t be found with any other tea varietal.

Summary

If you think that all Japanese teas are the same, then you have never tried a Gyokuro. The umami and walnut notes make it an incredibly delicious tea and much like The Christmas Song, Gyokuro’s are one of a kind.

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