Gyokuro tea is the highest grade of green tea produced in Japan. The name means “Jade Dew” , it’s considered one of the most flavoursome teas in the world. It has a distinctive thick rich flavour with savoury and umami notes.
Why is it so expensive?
You may have noticed the price of Gyokuro is higher than most other green teas, there are a few reasons for this. Producing it is truly a labour of love. Much time, care and skill is required to produce this treasured tea.
Grown from only the best cultivars Gyokuro tea bushes are shaded from the sun during the last two to three weeks of their growth. A tea master will monitor the plants and determine how much shading they will need. A canopy of straw mats is built over the bushes with more or less straw added depending on the level of light.
But why is the shading process so important? The lower levels of sunlight cause the plant to grow slowly and produce more chlorophyll, caffeine and theanine. More chlorophyll means more sweet notes in the tea. Theanine is a compound with mood enhancing properties and enriches flavour.
Young leaves and tender buds are hand picked then carefully removed from the stems. The leaves are lightly steamed to retain their flavour. A delicate and time consuming rolling and drying process is then undertaken to bring the leaves to their final form, thin needle like dark green leaves.
Brewing and Taste
How to brew:
All Japanese teas need careful brewing to bring out the full and best flavour of the tea. Gyokuro is no exception!
We would recommend using a lower temperature of water, about 75 º and one teaspoon of leaf per 200ml of water. However you can us a larger amount of leaf for a more intense flavour. Only one to two minutes brewing is required. Gyokuro can be infused two or three times, so although pricey you will get a lot from this tea!
Some people enjoy eating the leaves after brewing, either on their own or with a little soy sauce.
To fully experience the pleasure this tea provides you really have to taste it yourself. But what can you expect? The softness and almost thick broth like feel of Gyokuro in the mouth really sets it apart from other green teas.
The glistening dark green leaves produce a yellow/ jade coloured liquor. It has soft notes of vegetables, a light natural sweetness and plenty of umami notes (which on the tongue translate to a more savoury tea experience). Low in tannins it is without astringency and if brewed properly bitterness. A very moreish tea.
The perfect pairing to meat and fish dishes, but also for any time you want to sit and savour a tea s an enjoyable experience in itself.