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Gyokuro Tea is one of the most famous Japanese teas and is one of the highest quality teas ever. Although not as famous as the powdered matcha used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, it is one of Japan’s most expensive and unusual teas due to its reputation and limited supply. Translated, Gyokuro means “noble dew drop”.

Green tea in one-handed can
Noble Gyokuro Green Tea Leaves

The special thing about Gyokuro Tees

The special thing about Gyokuro tea is mostly due to the tender and young leaf buds, which are harvested exclusively in spring. As in all other countries, Japan produces the best teas produced from the spring harvest. The first sprouts picked after hibernation are appreciated all over the world for their complex taste and natural sweetness. Gyokuro tea is defined by the methods for growing and producing these special leaves, which distinguish it from other green teas from all over the world and from lesser known Japanese teas.

The production of Gyokuro

The main feature of the Gyokuro teas is that it is grown in the shade for at least two weeks or up to 30 days before harvest. This means that the leaves are covered with a loosely woven black fabric. This fabric allows only 10 of the natural sunlight to pass through the growing leaves. In larger farms, the umbrellas are pulled over a scaffold of rods arranged between the plants. This gives the workers enough space to care for the plants. For smaller plots, the covers can be gently placed over the plants themselves and rolled back daily during the care of the plants. With some of the highest qualities, such as our Hon Gyokuro Kusanagi, straw is also placed over the pads to further reduce the light conditions.

What is Gyokuro Tea? 1

The end result is that the natural process of photosynthesis of the plant is interrupted in an exaggerated version of the slow growth that occurs in naturally cloudy or misty areas such as high mountain tea gardens in Taiwan or China. The plant retains more chlorophyll instead of converting it into bitter tannins. Scientific analyses have shown that shadow plants also produce a higher content of theanine and fructose, which contributes to the natural sweetness of the early harvest leaves.

These effects are underlined by traditional Japanese processing techniques, in which the leaf is steamed and dried, while maintaining the high content of chlorophyll in the leaf. In contrast to the Chinese methods of roasting green tea, this type of production gives the finished tea a rich umami taste. This unique taste profile requires great precision in preparation and does not forgive too high a temperature or too long drawing time.

Traditional preparation of Gyokuro tea

The preparation of Gyokuro, which is common in Japan, can seem strange to us from the West. Because the Japanese pour out their gykuro from only a small amount of water. Japanese green tea is generally more intensively prepared in Japan. With the Gyokruo, the whole thing is pushed to the extreme, because when pouring, you only use 40-60 ml of water and a lot of tea leaves. The result is only a few drops, but they have it all! This Gyokuro essence is a real umami bomb and is packed with aroma and flavor. Gyokuro is only drunk for pleasure, not for quenching thirst. The production of this teas is elaborate and you want to experience all the nuances of the teas, which works best through this intense infusion.

Here is a little guide to the traditional preparation of Gyokuro:

  • 40-60 ml water
  • A water temperature of 50 degrees Celsius or less
  • 6 g tea leaves
  • Preparation best in a Japanese one-handed can

As with most high-quality teas, it can be difficult to verify the quality or authenticity of Gyokuro tea without having a direct connection to the few specialized farms that grow it. We are happy to offer such an excellent Gyokuro in our range. We hope that more people can enjoy the wonderful taste!

Have you ever tried Gyokuro tea? We look forward to your comment!