At Hibiya, a green tea cafe in Ginza, they invite Japan’s very first certified green tea instructor to teach tea lovers like myself about tea. They hold this class bi-monthly. There are only 30 seats available and an advanced reservation is required. The cost for this class is 5500 yen per person including tax. After we study, we can enjoy dinner followed by seasonable wagashi. This evening we studied Gyokuro Tea…we learned about the history, production, shape, colour, tea making method as well as tasting the first cup, second cup and third cup. It gets darker and tastes milder and sweeter. We tried the best of all, the most premium award winning gyokuro tea of Japan: Goko from Kyoto, Saemidori from Fukuoka and Yabukita from Shizuoka.
It costs around 8000 yen per 100 gram of tea, which I would never purchase in my life. Unlike sencya tea, gyokuro tea leaves are produced with less sunshine. The producers cover the tea trees with a cover, which looks like a giant sushi roller made out of bamboo. When you make gyokuro tea, you use warm water not hot. We tried three different kinds of gyokuro tea, three cups each. The first cup was bitter, tasted like grass and was a light colour. The second cup was still bitter. And the third cup tasted ok, it had a sweet taste, not grassy and the colour was darker. We also ate the actual green tea leaves cooked. I only tried a few pieces and gave up. Then we got to have dinner and sweets. The students asked various questions to the instructor while having dinner. It was a nice evening.