Roy Brews 2010 Imperial Green Oolong and Imperial Gyokuro, Then Heads to China

Roy stopped by briefly Friday afternoon to brew the new Imperial Green Oolong and our first ever offering of the legendary Japanese tea, Imperial Gyokuro, then he was off on his latest jaunt to Asia. First, a stop in Taiwan to check on the green oolong harvest, then it's on to Guangxi Province for jasmine tea and Shaanxi Province to finalize paperwork on his new Chinese tea farm. If there's time he may also drop by Yunnan to check out this year's puerh crop. As always, Roy will be blogging about his tea journeys, so stay tuned here for his latest posts.

Our 2010 Spring Harvest Imperial Green Oolong is a special treat for anyone who loves the oolongs of Taiwan. For the first time, we've sourced our top grade of green oolong from Fu Shou Shan, Taiwan's highest-elevation tea region at 2,500 meters. The tea served at official Taiwanese presidential events comes from Fu Shou Shan, so it's also known as "President's Tea." Our tea features potent florals that never overwhelm, but work in harmony with the fresh green flavor and hint of firing that make it uncommonly smooth and balanced. You know it will be a special experience as soon as you see the bright, almost egg-yellow liquor and get a whiff of the exquisite, multidimensional aroma. Rich with a mouth-filling texture and pleasantly floral finish, this tea is packed with flavor and delivers many satisfying infusions.

With so many of China's early spring green teas compromised by bad weather this year, Roy turned to Japan to diversify our 2010 green tea lineup. For the first time, we're pleased to offer Imperial Gyokuro, a top grade of this legendary green tea that spends the last 20 days on the bush shaded, in order to retard growth and allow the tea to develop more nutrients and flavor. The result is small, deep green, needle-like leaves that deliver the thick - almost meaty - texture and intense burst of grassy green flavor for which gyokuro is famed. Grown in cold, northerly Japan, gyokuro is fundamentally different from Chinese green teas. Instead of presenting a complex matrix of flavors and drinking experiences, gyokuro is laser-focused on providing an extreme - and extremely delicious - zap of jade-green color (gyo is Japanese for jade), potent fresh aroma, mouth-filling texture, and concentrated, sweet chlorophyll taste.

For best results with gyokuro, use a bit more leaf than with Chinese teas and lukewarm water, around 100 degrees F. Infuse a minute or two in a gaiwan, until the brew develops rich color and aroma, then savor this Japanese classic.