If you have ever travelled to Japan, you may probably have seen the term gyokuro. Some of the bottled tea in convenience stores claimed to have gyokuro in the tea and the tea can be sold more expensively than usual bottled tea. Why does gyokuro seem more premium than other green tea?
Gyokuro is literally translated as the dew of jade. Can you imagine it is like liquid dripping out from a piece of jade, so precious and green! Gyokuro is actually one of the most premium types of Japanese tea, on par with premium matcha and sencha. Sencha can be very inexpensive; but there almot no cheap gyokuro! It is due to the growing and harvest processes of gyokuro. Gyokuro is usually grown in very good quality tea trees fields, such as mountain fields facing foggy river valleys, and only very few or even just single harvest from the tea trees are carried out each year.
Almost 30 days before gyokuro is harvested, tea farmers have to cover the tea trees with a layer of hay as shades. The ground of the fields also have to be covered by grass and hay. Without exposure to sunlight and absorbing the nutrients from the ground hay layer, tea leaves develop a very delicate umami fragrance which is very signature to gyokuro. The best form of gyokuro is handpicked. Imagine how much labour tea farms have to put on growing gyokuro and only very limited yield can be harvested each year.
Nicely brewed gyokuro is very umami and sweet, with a bit of saltiness. It has very thick texture, almost like oil flowing around your tongue and teeth. Fine quality gyokuro can give seaweed kind of umami flavour, almost like seaweed soup. First time drinkers may be surprised and may need some time to adopt to this kind of flavour and fragrance, which are so special that I think most of you have never encountered in your life. And because of this lingering unique flavour and texture, people are addicted to it and willing to pay so much for this tea. This tea is also very suitable for drinking during summer as a superb thirst quencher. Ahh, one thing you need to bear in mind, gyokuro has relatively high caffeine content (almost as high as, or even higher than that of coffee). So avoid it before bedtime!
If you want to get some high quality gyokuro, you can find it on our online store. Happy brewing!