Mandokoro, Shiga, Japan.
Mandokoro native cultivar.
Hand-woven straw-mat shading.
About the manufacturer
As the population in the Mandokoro region is aging, more labor intensive types of tea making become too burdensome to maintain. Satō-san has resolved to continue crafting the regions’s premium gyokuro according to the ancient old methods to preserve this valuable tradition.
About the tea region
Altitude approx. 500m.
Mandokoro is one of the only regions in Japan where traditional cultivating and harvesting methods have not been overthrown by industrialisation.
Situated right next to the Echi-river that runs through the Mandokoro vollage, Satō-san’s gyokuro tea garden is nourished by the early morning dew and soothing mists of the river.
The small tea garden (seen on the photo to the left) is covered in spring with hand-woven straw coverings to reduce the amount of sunlight that gets through to the tea trees. This helps maintain the lush umami sweetness of the gyokuro tea.
To make a stretch of straw covering is a labor intensive and enduring task and is currently maintained by the oldest inhabitants of the Mandokor village. Ms. Toshiko Okada (95 years) is a wonderful example of an expert straw covering weaver. One meter of matting takes approximately one hour to complete.
Suggested measurements for 1 portion.
Suggested no. of infusions: 
Begin with a cooler temperature and long steeping duration for the first brew. This will bring out the tea’s umami flavors.
For the successive brews, gradually increase the water temperature, and decrease the steeping time.
Second infusion: 80℃ for 1.5 min.
Third infusion: 98℃ for 40~60 sec.
Join me on a 2-part visit to this tea region:
The best method to brew a delicious gyokuro:
In this video I visit the tea garden of this gyokuro (min 6.55~)