What’s so special about gyokuro that makes its so expensive? It requires a lot more work / labour to produce. The tea bushes are cultivated under shade for three weeks before harvest. The plantation is completely covered with special sheets to keep the bushes in the shade. Tea farmers would have to manually put up the sheets above the bushes. The sheet coverage is adjusted gradually up till before harvest period. Initially about 70% and closer to harvest period, the coverage is increased. A lot of manual work is involved when caring for the two bushes. Gyokuro it’s also known as shade-grown tea.
Tea plantation with netting over the bushes
Why cover the tea bushes? The method of shading is said to increase the caffeine level contents while decreasing the catechin content, which affects level of astringency (bitter / tannic) taste of the tea. So hooray! A smoother and more caffeinated green tea!
If you have heard that green teas can be brewed at a temperature as low as 40°C, yes, that’s right! You can brew Gyokuro at various temperatures! If you brewed up Gyokuro at 40°C, it will produce a very brothy and flavourful and savoury tea liquor. Many will use the term umami* to describe the flavour of the tea liquor. You can of course brew it at higher temperature - 65°C ~ 85°C producing cleaner tasting green tea versus brothy.
Brothy tea liquor
Enjoy experimenting and brewing up Gyokuro at different temperatures and steeping times! Share with us what’s your favourite brewing parameters!
Fun fact: Did you know you could also eat Gyokuro tea leaves as an appetiser?
How: Drain out liquid from steeped tea leaves, serve it with a dash of Japanese soy sauce and bonito flakes! Add a dash of lemon juice if you’d like it too! This way you actually consume both the tea liquor and tea leaves! Zero waste!
Tea farmer making Gyokuro appetiser for us
(Remember to take a photo and tag us if you created this appetiser dish after reading this!)
You can buy Gyokuro on our store - we get it fresh from the tea farmer every season.