The YAME(yah-meh) region is nestled among the mountains of southern FUKOAKA(foo-kwo-kah)prefecture on KYUSHU(key/yew-shoo), the large southern island of Japan. An enchantingly lush winding valley follows a mountain stream up to the village of HOSHINO(ho-she-no), which means “field of stars”. Perched high on the ridge overlooking the village is a tea museum, ... and a telescope observatory. Keeping with the Japanese magic of blending high technology and traditional ways, the observatory floor is beautiful polished hardwood suitable for stocking feet. No utilitarian grey concrete here!
Underneath the stars of HOSHINO, tea shines brilliantly. From these mountainous fields come consistent winners in the venerable GYOKURO(gee/yoh-koo-row, gee like in McGee) category of Japan’s national tea contest, with the entire winning crop devoted to Japan’s Imperial Household.
Conditions and methods parallel the practices of great wine producers in areas with similar temperature swings, which are ideal both for grapes like Pinot Noir and tea leaves. And there are similar growing challenges. GYOKURO is tended like a baby, and the precious tea leaves are shaded from the sun by bamboo screens for two weeks prior to harvest. This stunts polyphenolic catechins that cause bitterness on the palate, and yields an almost MSG-like flavor, full of umami and with an irresistible natural sweetness.
Check our online green tea store about Gyokuro from Yame-Hoshino: