Gyokuro (2 oz)
GJ100 - Gyokuro Green Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
Gyokuro Green Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
This high-grade tea is grown by an award-winning producer in Uji, the famous tea region just south of Kyoto. Only 4% of Japan's tea comes from this area, renown for its Sencha, Gyokuro, and Matcha production. The plants are covered for several weeks prior to picking, which increases the amounts of amino acids, chlorophyll and caffeine. As a result, the color, aroma and flavor of the tea are enhanced, producing a rich, intense cup full of umami. Experiment with the infusion temperature, but be sure to keep it around 120-140 F; this tea can also be made with cold water.

Country: Japan
Region: Uji
Tasting Notes: vegetal, marine, buttery
Year of Production: Spring 2016

Stock Status:In Stock

Product Code: GJY22


Gyokuro ("jade dew") is a full-bodied Japanese green tea perfect to enjoy on its own or paired with simple sweets. It's one of the world's most expensive teas - due to the high cost of cultivation and market demand. The taste has notes of ocean and spring greens, a balance of bitterness and sweetness with a lingering full mouth feel.

This style of tea began being cultivated in Uji prefecture in the 1800's, and continues today. After the first buds appear in the early spring, the tea bushes are shielded from the sun 20 to 40 days before it is picked. Farmers use screens of rice straw or synthetic netting to protect the leaves from the sun's rays, which inhibit the formation of catechin (tannin), responsible for the astringent taste of all teas grown in uncovered fields. The shading also enhances the production of theanine, an amino acid that is the source of tea's natural sweet, full, richness (umami, in Japanese). Once picked, the leaves are steamed, twisted, dried and left to age for six months (amino acids increase during the maturing process).

Soft Water is ideal to use when making gyokuro. The water brands Volvic and Crystal Geyser are close to the taste of Japanese soft water.

Store Gyokuro in an airtight and light-tight canister, around 30 to 35 F. If stored correctly, gyokuro can be aged and/or enjoyed for 2 years. As it ages, the taste becomes mellower.

Prepare Gyokuro with low water temperature, in a small brewing vessel. It is generally steeped with 100 F to 140 F soft water, with the first infusion being longer allowing the tea leaves to untwist. It can be made with hot or cold preparations. Here are some methods:

Hot Preparation:

Add 2 tablespoons to teapot

Add 6 ounces soft water (120 F)

Steep 60 to 75 seconds, pour all tea out - down to the last drop...enjoy!

Note: 3 or 4 steepings can be enjoyed from these leaves. For the next infusions, make short 1 second steep times, as the leaves have already unfurled.

Cold Preparation:

Add 2 tablespoons to teapot

Add 3 ice cubes (soft water)

Wait 15 minutes, then pour out tea...enjoy!

Note: 3 or 4 steepings can be enjoyed from these leaves. Re-steep with more ice cubes (10 minutes, then 5 minutes) or cold water (a few seconds).

About Japanese teas

History & Geography

Japan is an island country located in the Pacific Ocean. Made up of over 3,000 islands, it forms an archipelago that stretches along the Pacific Coast of Asia. 70 to 80 percent of its land is mountainous and not suitable for permanent living or agriculture. Most the population lives in densely populated areas, in coastal cities.

Tea first was introduced to Japan in the 900's through Zen Buddhism, when returning Japanese monks brought tea seeds back with them from China. Emulating what they had seen in China, they first cultivated powdered tea, or matcha, a style popular in Song Dynasty China. The tea was whisked in a bowl and shared, eventually evolving into the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Japan credits the rise of tea drinking to a Monk named Eisai. Returning from China, he planted tea seeds in the capitol of Kyoto and writes a book "A Record of Tea Drinking for Good Health." In 1214, he was summoned to administer the last rights to a young shogun, who was suffering terribly. Eisai diagnosed him with being hung over, revived him with a bowl of tea and presented him with his book. The shogun adopts tea drinking and a tea industry begins.

Tea Production Today

Today, Japan produces both powdered and loose leaf styles of green (un-oxidized) tea. They are divided into 4 catagories: matcha, sencha, gyokuro and bancha teas. The most important growing regions are: Uji, Shizouka, Kagoshima and Kyoto Prefectures. Uji, Japan, just south of Kyoto, is the most famous tea-growing region in Japan. Most of the finest teas come from this region even though it produces on 4 percent of Japan's tea.

Our Japanese teas include: bancha, Genmaicha (tea with popped and roasted rice), hojicha (roasted tea), karigane kukicha (twig tea), sencha, gyokuro, and matcha.

While there are different cultivation/processing methods unique to each style of tea, they all have the same first step in common: steaming. Immediately after the tea leaves are picked, they are steamed to halt the oxidization process. In contrast, Chinese green teas are pan or oven fired.

Japan currently harvests most of its tea mechanically. Traditional hand picking is now reserved for small lots of premium tea. The specialized harvesting equipment ranges from large tractor-like machines to smaller gas powered trimmers, which are carried by two people who walk between the rows of tea. The farmers using these precision machines are able to target the new shoots on the plant, while a vacuum pulls the clipped leaves into a basket.

Tasting Notes

Japanese green teas are famous for their umami taste, a flavor best described as the natural sweetness of the tea leaf, tasting like ocean and refreshing spring greens. This pronounced taste, occurring at different intensities depending on the tea, is directly related to how the tea was cultivated and processed. Generally, high grades of matcha, gyokuro and sencha teas have the strongest, sweet umami flavor.

  • Start with your favorite spring or filtered water. Preheat the teaware. Use a large strainer basket to allow the leaves to open and release their flavor.
  • Temperature: 140 F Time: 1-2 minutes
    Amount: 9g / 6 oz serving = 1 rounded tablespoon
  • Re-steep to make another cup. Play with the amount of tea, the water temperature, and steeping time to re-steep - rely on taste, not color. Get to know the tea!
  • For more about brewing tea, visit our Brewing Notes page.

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