What is Gyokuro? (玉露)
We would love to try many Japanese green teas, and now, let’s know about a high-grade and sought-after Japanese green tea called Gyokuro!
Gyokuro (玉露) in English is jade dew or jewel dew. Its color is darker than sencha. This tea leaf releases rich green color when infused. It is a rare tea and a high-quality one even inside Japan.
How do tea farmers grow Gyokuro?
Gyokuro plants are being grown in the shade from sunlight for 20 days. Not so shaded, but they are covered with straw mats and nets. Instead of having these grow in direct sunlight, the reason for shading is because when covered, the tea leaves turn into a dark green that makes the tea richer in taste.
Some tea, including Gyokuro, have L-Theanine, a compound that gives the tea a balanced sweet flavor. When the Gyokuro is under a shade, less of the Theanine is converted to catechins (an antioxidant), meaning the plants keep more Theanine and great taste than growing under direct sunlight.
After picking the leaves, these are steamed to reduce the oxidation and for long-lasting shelf life. Next, these are rolled, and then after drying, these are kneaded or cut into pieces. Then, these loose tea leaves are ready for packaging or straight to the teapot.
What makes it expensive?
It is difficult to shade the plants and the cultivation process is long, which is why the cost is higher than other green teas. However, tea consumers especially tea connoisseurs are buying this tea despite the high price because of its smooth and rich flavor.
How to prepare Gyokuro?
The materials you need are a side-handled teapot or any Japanese teapot, yuzamashi (a small teaware accessory for cooling water), and teacups. You can also use a kettle with a water thermometer in place of the Japanese teapot.
Preparing gyokuro is delicate, and choose the best brand for the best experience. Unlike the usual teas where you can pour hot water immediately, Gyokuro tea leaves need to be steeped at a low temperature for a bit longer to exude the flavor. The ideal brewing water temperature is 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (50-60 degrees Celsius).
The Gyoukuro tea’s leaves to water ratio are 1g or 2g. to 30ml.
Let’s now prepare the Gyokuro tea.
Preheat or warm up the teapot. Pour boiling water on it, then let it cool a bit. From the teapot, pour the water on the yuzamashi with no lid. After letting the water cool, or adding water to lower the temperature in case it takes too long to cool, add the gyokuro leaves in the teapot, and pour the cooled down water.
Steeping time is 2 minutes.
You can now pour the Gyokuro tea into your teacups.
When you want to enjoy the tea on the 2nd and 3rd brew, add 122 degrees Fahrenheit or 50 degrees Celsius of water, then steep for one minute. For the third or last brew, pour 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Celsius of water and steep for 2 minutes. You can still enjoy the aroma and the balanced flavor of the tea.
Gyokuro health benefits
Gyokuro tea has higher caffeine than other teas resulting in providing more mental alertness. It is also a good antioxidant and immune system booster.
Because of the antioxidants and Vitamin C, Gyokuro tea can lighten acne marks and dark spots.
Like with other green teas, Gyokuro can help in fat burning, protects gums and teeth because of the polyphenols, and reduce cancer risks because of the EGCG or catechins.
Is Gyokuro tea worth it?
Yes! It is worth it and not an overrated tea. You will feel the luxurious taste and it is an ideal tea for experiencing the Zen Garden ambiance.
Gyokuro tea that we carry:
- ShizuokaTea – Premium Gyokuro Okabe Single Estate Origin
- KagoshimaTea – Organic Gyokuro Premium
- ShizuokaTea – Gyokuro Hoshino – 2021 New Crop
- KagoshimaTea – Organic Kagoshima Ceremonial Matcha
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