Gyokuro is pronounced “yo-cur-oh” and in Japanese it translates to "jewel dew" or "jade dew" which refers to the tea’s infusion which is pale green in color. For centuries this variety has widely been considered as Japan’s finest green tea. Since ancient times, Gyokuru has been regarded as “Japanese history, philosophy and art in a single cup.” The name Gyokuro comes from the product name given to the tea by the Yamamotoyama Tea Company in 1835.
In Japan it is often said that when your throat is thirsty, drink Sencha tea but when your heart is thirsty, drink Gyokuro.
While categorized as a type of sencha tea, gyokuro’s cultivation differs from other sencha teas. Depending on the variety Sencha tea is sometimes grown in full sun while other varieties are grown in the shade. Gyokuro tea leaves are shielded from the sun for about 20 days prior to being plucked. This slows the growth allowing the tea leaves additional time to develop depth while also allowing both the alkaloid caffeine and the amino acid theanine in the tea leaves to increase, which produces a sweet flavor.
Gyokuro also differs from another shaded sencha tea called kabusecha (which translates to "covered tea"), in the length of time it undergoes the final growth under the shade. While gyokuro is shaded for approximately three weeks, kabusecha is only shaded for about 7 days.
Gyokuro comes from single buds that are picked only in April and May. To promote chlorophyll development (which produces the dark green color) and reducing tannin levels (which enhances its naturally sweet favor), the tea is covered with bamboo, black curtains or straw shades for almost 3 weeks before plucking. The small leaves are approximately ¾” in length and very delicate and aromatic.
Once plucked they are promptly transported to the tea factory where they undergo a steaming process for approximately 30 minutes to halt fermentation while locking in the signature flavors. Once the steaming process is complete they’re fluffed with hot air, pressed and dried to approximately a 30% moisture content. The next processing stage has the tea being repeatedly rolled until it looks like thin long dark green needles. At this point it is dried again which results in a moisture content of 4-6%.
Our Gyokuro is from Kawane in Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. Kawane is the mountain region of Shizuoka prefecture, Japan's largest tea-growing region.
Gyokuro is not brewed like the normal sencha green tea one may normally encounter. If brewed like sencha, although it may taste "okay", it will taste completely different than it should. The brewing temperature, brew time, and proportion of tea to water are quite different. Knowing this up front makes a world of difference. The correct water temperature for brewing Gyokuro for optimum flavor is 104°-140° F not the 180° - 212° like with most other teas.
In order to obtain the genuine flavor of Gyokuro it's important to let the boiled water cool off first. If you pour hot water directly on the Gyokuro leaves without letting it first cool your tea will lose its highly sought after refined flavor and you'll be left with a bitter tea that will leave you wondering what was all the fuss about this tea anyway.
Pour boiling water into an empty teapot (do not add leaves to teapot). This is to warm the pot and lower the temperature of the hot water. The water temperature at this stage is about 212°. By first pouring it into the empty teapot will cause the water temperature to decline to about 176°-194°.
Pour the water from the teapot to 2 or 3 tea cups. This is done to both warm up the cups and also to cool the water more. If there is any water left in the teapot, discard it. At this stage the water has now cooled to approximately 158°-176°.
Pour the water from the cups to water cooler (or another unused teapot). This cools the water even more. When you hold the water cooler (or separate teapot) in your hands, it should be lukewarm. At this stage the water has now cooled to approximately 140°-158°.
Add several teaspoons of Gyokuro tea leaves into the original tea pot.
Pour the water from the water cooler (or your unused teapot) into the teapot with the tea leaves.
The amount of water would be just enough to cover the tea leaves. Put a lid on the teapot and let it "brew" for about two minutes. After the two minutes the leaves will have absorbed the water, and they will be half open. At this stage the water has now cooled to 104°-122°.
Pour the brewed tea into cups. Pour a small amount into each cup in turns. Repeat until each cup is full. This will give each cup an even consistency. Serve all the tea in the pot.
With a deep sweet aroma the flavor profile of our Gyokuro tea is of a full flavored green tea that has a refreshing and satisfying delicate finish without any noticeable grassiness or harshness. We consider this to be a very smooth tea. Adding milk and sugar is not recommended.
The tea liquor is very bright and pale green in color.
Low in caffeine. high in antioxidants.
1 oz makes approximately 36 cups of tea (if you use for 3 infusions)
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