Gyokuro Japanese tea
Gyokuro Japanese tea, expensive? Yes, it is. If you are in search for the absolute best loose leaf Japanese tea available anywhere, however, your search is over with our Gyokuro!
Here in Halita’tea we made it our mission to find the best Japanese tea available and bring them to our costumers in Israel. We call these teas “Hunters Reserve 2014“.
Dainty yet beautiful leaves, described by tea professionals as “bijin”, a beautiful woman.
Small and large grain, softer green compared to Gyokuro Japanese tea from Kyoto.
The Japanese have treasured Gyokuro Japanese tea for hundreds of years as the finest green tea. Now the best grades of this tea are becoming more available outside of Japan as more tea lovers learn to appreciate this wonderfully fragrant and delicate tea. The English translation for Gyokuro is Jade Dew, which is an apt reference to its gemstone-like color and naturally sweet flavor.
What makes Gyokuro Japanese tea so special? The primary factors that contribute to making this special tea are how the leaf is cultivated and how the leaf is processed after picking.
Gyokuro Japanese tea Harvesting & Shade Cultivation
Gyokuro Japanese tea is grown from the tea varietal known as Yabukita, which is a small leaf, sweet tea that is used in many of Japan’s highest quality green teas.
Gyokuro Japanese tea is made only with the earliest leaf buds of the spring harvest. The tea is grown under shade cover (using reed or straw screens) for 20 days before harvesting begins. Growing the tea in diffuse sunlight reduces photosynthesis in the young leaf buds. As a result, the tea plant produces more chlorophyll, which changes the proportions of the sugars, amino acids, caffeine and flavanols that contribute to the color, aroma and taste. Less exposure to sunlight results in a mild and sweet flavor and less astringency.
Gyokuro Japanese tea Processing Skills
Special, labor-intensive processing skills are required to produce Gyokuro Japanese tea. Careful control over the processing is necessary because the shade-grown leaf buds are softer and hold more moisture and flavor than many other kinds of green tea. First, the carefully picked leaves are lightly steamed to prevent oxidation. The second step is an initial rolling and then air-drying, before a fine rolling to acquire shape and flavor. The result is a raw tea known as aracha, a rough grade of tea with high water content.
The aracha is later sorted into various leaf grades, known as tencha. The finest grades of tencha are then selected to make Gyokuro. At this stage, the tea undergoes many lengthy rolling and drying stages to finish the tea into its needle-like form. Finally, the finished tea is allowed to settle or mature for at least a week in order to further develop its characteristic flavors.
The gardens with the best reputation for making the highest quality Gyokuro tea are located in three regions: Hoshinomura in Yame (Kyushu), Joyoshi in Kyoto and Okabe in Shizuoka (Honshu).
Yame region focuses on making the best Gyokuro, where Uji, Kyoto rather focuses on making the best quality Matcha, generally speaking. Gyokuro from Yame has well balanced presence of sweetness, umami as well as astringency and bitterness to accentuate the umami.
Once you learn to make it properly, you wil be hooked for life! Since this is a connoisseur grade of gyokuro and is not considered a beginner’s green tea, make sure to read our brewing instructions as it is brewed differently than sencha.
Available in 50g packaging only.