Gyokuro is not your everyday drinking green tea. It is something of an experience which should be savoured whenever you want to treat yourself. The brewing process is very different from most other tea and the texture and flavour of the tea are totally unique.
Gyokuro is made from heavily shaded green tea. In the same way as growing Tencha (to make Matcha), the shading stops the leaves from converting Theanine to Catechins and increases the amount of Chlorophyll. The resulting high Theanine content in the tea means that you get a huge mouthful of mood-enhancing umami in your cup!
This Gyokuro has been shaded for three weeks up to 90% and hand-picked (a lot of Japanese green tea is machine picked tea). It is grown in Fujieda from the late flushing Okumidori cultivar which means that the tea is protected against any spring frosts for perfect growing conditions.
The taste of this tea is something to prepare yourself for if you have not tried a quality Gyokuro before. Get ready for an intense Umami (rich and savoury) taste and super thick mouthfeel. For some people, the umami is too strong but I think that this particular Gyokuro balances the umami with herbaceous top notes.
We always recommend experimenting with brewing parameters however we suggest that you try the following method at least once to have the full Gyokuro experience.
- Measure out 6g per 100ml of water. This is a good amount for 1-2 people.
- Preheat the teaware with very hot water and pour away the water before you are ready to brew. We recommend a Shiboridashi or wide and flat pot that is not too much larger capacity than the amount of tea you are making.
- Add the tea leaves to the pot and enjoy the aroma briefly (we don't want the pot to go cold before brewing).
- Here is where you have a choice. For an ultra thick, smooth and umami tea, pour over room temperature water and leave to brew for 14 minutes. This is essentially making a strong cold brew of the tea. For a slightly more refrained umami (with a bit more minerality), pour over 50 degree water (120F) and leave to brew for 120 seconds. Some people say that you should leave the pot uncovered but we have not noticed any difference in the resulting tea.
- Strain the tea into a Gong Dao Bei or directly into cups.
- Enjoy the first infusion of Gyokuro - this is the most flavourful brew that you will make so savour the small but concentrated sip of tea.
- For the second infusion brew with 50 degree (120F) water for 150 seconds.
- For the third infusion brew with 50 degree (120F) water for 180 seconds.
- For the fourth infusion brew with 70 degree (160F) water for 150 seconds
- For the fifth infusion brew with 80 degree (175F) water for 150 seconds.
- You can keep infusing but after five infusions the tea is usually lacking flavour. We like to take the leaves and add a squeeze of lemon juice and some soy sauce and eat with a meal or by itself. BE CAREFUL though as the leaves will continue to contain some caffeine and we have overdosed on caffeine by eating too much tea!