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Gyokuro Tea


Mt. Fuji and Tea Garden, Fuji City, Shizuoka, Japan
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What is Japanese gyokuro?

It is the most prized tea in Japan.

The tea plants are shaded and the leaves are plucked during the first flush of the spring.

The tea leaves are hand-processed by artisans who make a delicious tea worthy of connoisseur status.

The taste is rich and silky-smooth.

The delicate sweetness has a deep complexity of flavors and a mellowness so smooth that it eases your heart.

There is a slight edge of tartness that leaves your mouth feeling clean and refreshed with a lingering aftertaste reminiscent of delicious fruit.

Appearance

Leaf: The leaves are tiny and dark green. They are usually rolled into straight green needle-like shapes or can have a slight curl in them like an eyebrow tea.

Brew: This tea has a glowing gem-like green color in the cup. Depending on the individual tea garden, it can vary from clear lemon green to brilliant lime green.

When to drink gyokuro tea?

Drink this tea with moments of great happiness and for times of great beginnings.

Gyokuro tea is pure pleasure and is best served alone. It can be an afternoon refreshment, or an after dinner treat. You might choose to occasionally add one small perfect dark chocolate with it, but no other food.

As with all green teas, you never add milk or sugar.

Preparation:

You can use up to two teaspoons of tea per cup. Add water that has just started to steam (140F) and steep your tea for two minutes only.

The second infusing should only be for 30 seconds and the third infusing can be for one minute.

Longer steepings will give you some bitterness in this tea.

How do they grow these teas?

This tea has become one of the most exquisite taste experiences known to humans because of a simple agricultural technique.

For 20 days before plucking, the leaves are shaded from the sun.

Shade reduces photosynthesis which changes the chemical composition in the leaves, altering sugars, amino acids, polyphenols, and tannins. More chlorophyll is produced so the leaves become greener.

An amino acid called theanine, unique to tea plants, is increased which enhances the sweet taste. Research shows theanine reduces many harmful stress responses in animals and humans, which allows you to relax when you drink it.

After plucking, the leaves are gently steamed to sterilize them and preserve their phytochemicals. The leaves are dried, then rolled into needle-like shapes.

The leaves are then aged for three months after processing to allow flavors to blend into an elegant composition. The use of shade before plucking and slight aging after processing are unusual for green teas but work together magnificiently to help create one of the world's greatest teas.

While shading the tea plants prior to harvest has been done for centuries, the complete processing techniques to make Gyokuro tea in Japan today have only been used since the mid-1800's.

Which is the best gyokuro tea?

Grading is usually based on two qualities--famed locations like the Yame gardens, and hand-processing by artisan teamasters.

The top grades are kept in Japan for connoisseurs and ceremonial use. You can occasionally find Gyokuro Imperial Crown, a famous name. There are also named brands like Tokusen for organically grown gyokuro teas.

The highest grades will have a more subtle and complex taste, while lesser grades will have a stronger aftertaste.

Many of the best Japanese teagardens are in the Uji district of Honshu near Kyoto, where tea was first cultivated around 1200 years ago. Gyokuro is also a famous product of the Yame area of Fukuoka.

It may also be named Jade Dew or Precious Dew

What's Your Favorite Japanese Green Tea?

Tell us about that Japanese green tea that you just can't get enough of and why you love it!

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I bought gyokuro tea a few weeks ago in our trip to Tokyo and Sapporo. I bought in rera mall where we stop for outlet shopping. We pass and saw a shop …

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Last year for Christmas my dear friend gave me a collection of Japanese teas. At first I was kind of skeptical since I have never been much of a tea drinker …

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This page was last updated by Sharon Jones.

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