Gyokuro

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Gyokuro Cha is the best Japanese green tea. Gyokuro are special tea leaves, selected from shaded tea bushes that result in a naturally sweet and fragrant green tea. Gyokuro green tea is expensive and must be treated carefully when brewing so use freshly boiled water that has been allowed to cool to 50 - 65oC (120 - 150oF).

Gyokuro's liquor is bright and emerald green; gyokuro tastes delicate, smooth and clean and has sweet, aromatic grassy notes - some even say spinachy flavours. It is suitable for drinking from the morning onwards, but is best avoided after the late afternoon. Gyokuro is meant to be enjoyed in small, delicate sips and without sugar.

Gyokuro teas are hand-plucked, shade-grown teas. In late spring (April/May), when the first buds appear on the tea bushes, bamboo covers are rolled over canopies above the tea bushes for roughly three weeks. As the leaves grow, more shading is provided up to 95% of sunlight being excluded. This shade-grown period creates a sweet, less astringent tea and a brighter green leaf because the tea bush compensates for the lower light levels by producing more chlorophyll. The gyokuro tea leaves are then hand picked, steamed, dried and rolled until they resemble little green needles. Finally, the tea leaves are oven fired.

Infusion

  • Quantity: 1 teaspoon (2½ g) per cup or person
  • Water: 50 - 60oC (120 - 140oF)
  • Brew time: 2 - 3 minutes

Further Reading