The origins of our Gyokuro Japanese green tea
Gyokuro is the most sought after and luxurious type of green tea from Japan. Also known as Jade Dew, this tea is considered as one of the most hailed and expensive types of Japanese tea. Cultivated in the shade and enriched with a naturally refined sweet flavour, this Gyokuro emerald green tea is sparkling quality in leaf form.
This 2021 Great Taste award-winning No. 63 Gyokuro come from Ise Bay in Mie Prefecture which has 800 years of history for producing high-quality tea. The processing of Gyokuro is labour intensive and specialist, adding to the tea's expensive status.
Gyokuro is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make Matcha. Tea bushes are covered up to 3 weeks before harvest to prevent direct sunlight. This slows down growth, and causes the production of amino acids and theanine, giving rise to a sweet flavour, "mild in taste" and a "greenish in colour infusion".
The leaves are then processed using the Sencha Rolling method (this traditional 6-step process is explained more in our What is Japanese Sencha blog) before they are put through machinery to shape them into their pointed states. This is also when the leaves are dried and then ready to be sorted and shipped to exporters.
Perfect brewing technique for Gyokuro
Great care is taken when preparing this tea to specific requirements. As guidance the twice the weight in dry tea leaves for a given quantity of water (e. g. 6 to 10 grams for 180 ml); cooler brewing temperatures (in the range of 50ºC-60ºC instead of 65ºC-75ºC for sencha); a longer steeping duration, at least for the first infusion (90 second instead of 1 minute for sencha). Due to its high quality, the thick tea leaves maintain their pleasant flavour for up to 4-5 servings.
Since Gyokuro steeps at such a mild temperature, it is recommended pre-heating both the pot and cup to maintain the warmth of the tea as one drinks it. It is normally consumed very slowly to savour its distinctive flavour.