A treasure in any tea collector's collection, our gyokuro is a sublimely sweet brew with very little astringency. Crafted by one of the top producers of the region, Mizuba's gyokuro is grown in an ideal climate of clean air, clean water, and rich volcanic soil (known as shirasu). Part of the deep, mellow umami and strong concentrations of L-theanine comes from Kagoshima's famous fog, which shades the trees from any harsh morning sun and protects the leaves from freezing temperatures. Our gyokuro is also shaded 21 days prior to harvest. Truly a tea to savor each and every sip!
Brewing gyokuro is also a unique and engaging process - each successive steep brings out progressively different and distinct flavor experiences. Note the use of very low temperatures and small amounts of water. No shortchange in your cup here - albeit a small portion at first, gyokuro tea is one of the most concentrated flavor experiences you'll ever find in tea! Read below to find our preferred brew tips.
What is Gyokuro?
Ah, gyokuro! The deep, satisfying sigh you hear after someone sips a cup of gyokuro? That happy human is experiencing one of the richest concentrations of umami you can experience in tea. Literally translating to "jade dew," gyokuro is made from Camellia sinensis leaves which are steamed and rolled like sencha, though a gyokuro can only be called so if the leaves have been shaded. First crafted in 1835, a producer initially covered their tea plants to protect from frost. Lo and behold, when they brewed the covered leaves they found the delicious taste of gyokuro! Shading styles and duration vary depending on the farmer and the region, but in general, the tea must be shaded enough to spur the plants to build a concentrated amount of sweet L-theanine — gyokuro's hallmark. A special tea indeed, gyokuro comprises less than 0.3% of Japan's tea production.
Aroma: sweet pear, melon, light citrus.
Flavor: a very well rounded, satisfyingly syrupy brew, with layers of pear, baked peach, and sweet pea.
Location: Kagoshima, on the Kirishima mountain range.
Harvest Season: Spring 2020
Cultivar: organic Saemidori
Process: tea leaves grown in volcanic soil are shaded about 3 weeks prior to harvest (just like tencha!). Shade-growing concentrates the sweet amino-acid L-theanine in the leaf, providing a deep and rich flavor and virtually no astringency.
Amount: 5g (1.5tsp)
Water: 50ml of 105ºF (40º C) water. Cooler water is the way to go here!
Time: 60 seconds, but you may brew up to 120 seconds depending on your preference for the first steep. For subsequent steeps, increase water quantity by 10ml and water temperature by 10º each steep. Remember to pour slowly!
You may also try hotter temperatures for shorter periods of time. You'll experience a range of flavors. Using the guide above will give you a sweeter cup, while the hot/short brew method will extract more vegetal notes. Experiment!
Tea for two? Try 10g of our tea with 100 ml of 104ºF water, and brew for 60-90 seconds.
Make Iced Tea: our gyokuro is fantastic for both slow ice-steeping and cold brewing.
Learn 3 different methodologies to make iced tea here.
Sold in either 50g or 100g bags. Store in a cool, dark location. Best consumed within 3 months.