“Gyokuro” means “jade dew,” named for the stunning green color of the liquor produced by this top-of-the-line specialty green tea.
The pampered princess of Japanese teas, Gyokuro requires enormous labor devoted to meticulous methods of care-taking the most precious specialized varieties of tea found only in Japan. Covering well-manicured tea bushes with straw mats as the buds begin to grow, usually for 20 days or more, prevents tannins from forming and encourages extra chlorophyll production, leading to the vivid green color and exceptional sweetness of this fantastic tea. It also leads to larger amounts of caffeine and other complimentary alkaloids, creating that unique “tea high” that only comes from the finest specialty green teas. Tiny young leaves are harvested and immediately preserved using pressure-steaming, then dried and sealed up to preserve the amazing heady aroma.
Not only shockingly green, Gyokuro is also surprisingly sweet. But it requires special steeping methods, as it is very delicate. First, you should always steep in the Japanese/Chinese style, as detailed in our guide How to Steep the Perfect Cup of Tea. That means starting with 6 or more grams (approx 1 tablespoon) of tea leaves for 175 mL (6 ounces) of water, and warming your cups and steeping vessel with some hot water which will be discarded before you add tea – this is to ensure that cold vessels do not suck the heat out of lower-temperature steeping water. Steep the leaves at a significantly lower temperature, between 120-140 F (higher temps will produce stronger tea, with more sweetness and more bitter astringent notes – try both to see which you prefer!). You can estimate by removing water from heat when you first begin to see tiny bubbles (120F), or shortly after those bubbles have visibly grown (140F). We recommend that you skip blanching (very briefly rinsing leaves with hot water) before steeping because it is not really necessary with a clean sweet gyokuro. But because the water temperature is lower, tea should be steeped longer, approximately 90-120 seconds for the first steep, then 30 more seconds for each subsequent re-steep. Best steeped 4 or more times, share this exceptional gyokuro in small cups with friends in a peaceful unhurried setting.
Steeping Time: 90-120 seconds
Water Temp: 120-140 F
Finest young sencha tea leaves