Gyokuro is the pinnacle of Japanese loose leaf green tea. During the annual spring harvest leaves are shaded for around 20 days to increase the potency of the plant. While shaded, the plant continues to produce chlorophyll, but the natural cycle of the sunlight bleaching the leaves is inhibited. The plant also pulls more nutrients from the soil as it is not able to convert the sunshine into energy for itself. The harvest consists of the collection of just the top 3 leaves, which are quickly cut and steamed. The flavor is richly creamy, sweet, and oceanic.