10 June 2022
Guide for Brewing an Excellent Cup of Gyokuro
Gyokuro is one of the finest Japanese teas, a type of sencha, grown using special cultivation methods.
It has more flavor and sweetness and less bitterness than regular sencha green tea, and has a unique aroma. Because gyokuro is a special type of green tea, the way it is brewed is slightly different from that of regular green tea.
Here are some tips on how to enjoy Gyokuro at its best.
- What is Gyokuro?
- How to brew Gyokuro?
- Enjoy the best Japanese tea ever
- The Best Tea Items for Gyokuro
What is Gyokuro?
Regular green tea and gyokuro are made from the same tea plant, but there is a difference in the way they are grown.
Unlike reguler green tea, which grows in full sunlight, gyokuro is covered with a cloth and kept out of sunlight for several weeks to months before harvesting to reduce bitterness and bring out the sweet flavor. The added difficulty of shading from the sun makes the cost of production higher, leading to the rarity of gyokuro.
Gyokuro has a deep, rich flavor that cannot be experienced with regular green tea, and it also has a unique aroma characteristic of sun-shaded cultivation.
When drinking gyokuro, sip it slowly to allow the flavors to spread throughout your mouth. It takes a little time and effort to brew, but it is the best cup to enjoy in a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere!
How to brew Gyokuro?
There is an optimum temperature for brewing gyokuro just like there are suitable hot water temperatures for various tea leaves.
Gyokuro is brewed at very low temperatures of 50~60℃ (122~140℉), but it is tedious to wait until the boiled water cools down while measuring it with a thermometer.
However, there is an easy and proper way to brew with hot water at just the right temperature without using a thermometer.
1. Boil water and pour into a teapot
Pour boiling water into a teapot and keep it warm. It is best to use a small teapot for 1~2 servings.
Tap water can be used at this point, but one of the first tips is to use soft water (low mineral density) for making gyokuro and other Japanese teas.
If you are in an area where the tap water is hard water with high mineral content, it is recommended that you use commercially available soft water, as you will not be able to extract the tea well with tap water.
2. Pour into teacups and keep warm
Pour 30cc (1oz) of the hot water from the teapot into each teacups to warm all the utensils. Discard any water remaining in the teapot.
By keeping the utensils warm, the temperature will not cool down rapidly when brewing or pouring the tea, and the flavor and aroma will not be lost.
3. Brew gyokuro
Empty the teapot and add gyokuro tea leaves. A serving measure for two people is 8g (0.3oz), or about a heaping teaspoonful.
Pour the hot water from the teacups prepared in step 2 into the teapot. At this point, the water should have cooled to the perfect temperature.
Wait for two and a half minutes to brew.
4. Pour into each teacups
When making several cups of tea, pour a little into each cup in turns, so that the thick tea in the bottom of the teapot is evenly distributed to all cups.
Make sure to pour every last drop of tea. By doing so, the second brew will also taste good. If there is any tea left in the teapot, the second brew may not taste as good.
It is also good manners in Japanese tea culture to pour with both hands, the one holding the teapot and the other holding the lid.
When using a small capacity kyusu, sometimes the strainer clogs. Gyokuro tea leaves are well-formed and open slowly at low temperatures, making them easy to use in a small kyusu.
Japanese Gifts and the Spirit of "Omotenashi" Hospitality
If brewed in the proper way, gyokuro will taste like nothing you have ever experienced before. It has a deeply sweet, magnificent fragrance and contains mellow umami flavour.
In Japan, everyone values gyokuro for its exquisite taste. It is indeed a luxury product that is often reserved for special occasions.
Even in your busy daily life, you can make time to savor gyokuro because it is surprisingly easy to brew more than you thought. Please try brewing gyokuro for a relaxing time to relieve daily tiredness.
The Best Tea Items for Gyokuro
To experience the best taste of gyokuro, the highest quality tea leaf, it is preferred to have the appropriate utensils.
Of course, you can use your own tea utensils, but we hope you will refer to this section to enjoy the special tea.
For teapots, we recommend a flat-shaped teapot called a Hira Kyusu (flat teapot). The shape of the teapot allows the tea leaves to spread out in the hot water easily, bringing out the full flavor of tea leaves that are brewed slowly at low temperatures, such as gyokuro.
In particular, the flattest teapot called "Gokuhira" is most suitable for brewing gyokuro, as the tea leaves spread most easily.
Junzo Black And White Gradation Tokoname Japanese Teapot Set 3.4oz(100ml)-Sasame and CerameshView Item
Gyokko Red Clay Tokoname Japanese TeapotView Item
Gyokko Smoky Black Tokoname Japanese Teapot 6.4oz(190ml)-Sasame and CerameshView Item
To enjoy the gyokuro that has been slowly and carefully brewed, we recommended using a finer tea cup than you would normally use.
Thinner porcelain is a better material than thick stoneware, allowing you to concentrate on the delicate flavors and aromas.
Also, a slightly smaller size, about the size of a sake cup or espresso cup, is better suited for gyokuro brewed in small quantities.
Hibino Crystal Glaze Mino Ware Tea Cup
To store and keep gyokuro tea leaves in their best condition, it is important to store them in a suitable tea canister. Japanese tea canisters have a double-layered lid to prevent the tea leaves from absorbing moisture.
The Kabazaiku, cherry bark work tea canister is particularly well suited for storing tea leaves because the bark of the cherry tree breathes and is both moisture-proof and dry-proof, prolonging the flavor and aroma of the tea leaves.