Uji is a city near Kyoto. Kyoto is considered to be the tea capital of Japan. This tea has a mild taste and is suitable for everyday consumption. Soothing. Excellent antioxidant.
How to prepare perfect tasting Gyokuro
A few important things you should know when preparing this type of tea.
The difference in preparation of Gyokuro and Sencha is the water temperature at which the leaves are brewed. If you brew the leaves as in Sencha tea, you can achieve a pleasant taste, but it will be quite different from the proper and specific taste of Gyokuro. The water temperature, time of infusion, and the tea – water proportion, are quite different.
It is important to know that one of the best ways to prepare this type of tea is to use spring water that can be found in any supermarket. Good water quality is essential for making the perfect cup of tea. This does not mean that you should search for water without minerals, but it is certainly more appropriate than tab water. You can also use mineral water – the minerals improve the taste of green tea.
Stages of preparation
For the preparation of Gyokuro green tea, you will need a teapot. You can use standard Japanese teapot – kyusu or Shiboridashi. In our case, we shall use Kyusu. You can use a yuzamashi (vessel to cool off boiled water), which can be found in the “Accessories”. We use a simple ceramic pot and three cups that are specific for this type of tea. Hot water will be transferred from one vessel to another. This helps to reduce the temperature of the water.
1 Water temperature
Here are the most common mistakes. The proper water temperature for brewing Gyokuro is between 50 and 60 degrees. This is 10 degrees lower temperature in comparison to Sencha preparation. Are 10 degrees going to make a difference? Yes! We start Gyokuro preparatuon with 90 degrees water. Hot water is poured in a yuzamashi for about 1 to 2 minutes. In this way the water temperature drops to 75 to 80 degrees.
2 Pouring the water
Then the water is poured from the yuzamashi into the cups to cool down once more for another 1 to 2 minutes. With every transfer of water from one vessel to another, the water temperature decreases by 10 degrees. While waiting for the water to cool off, let’s measure the amount of Gyokuro tea.
3 Proportion of tea to water
Gyokuro requires twice the quantity of tea leaves, compared to Sencha. If you want high quality Gyokuro tea, we recommend 1 gram Gyokuro per 30 milliliters of water. It is therefore important to know how much water your teapot contains.
For orientation – one teaspoon contains about 4 grams of tea. For three small cups that are about 180 grams you can put in the pot one and a half tea spoons of Gyokuro tea leaves.
Pour the hot water from the three small cups in the teapot. In this way the water temperature is already about 50-60 degrees, ideal for brewing of Gyokuro. Do not put the lid on the kettle. With the lid removed you can watch the leaves dissolve. Wait 2 to 3 minutes. Then put the lid on the tea pot.
4 Pour the tea from cup to cup
Pour the tea from cup to cup one after another alternating between 1,2,3,3,2,1. At the end shake the teapot with a slight movement and distribute the last drops of tea. The first three cups of tea may not be absolutely full because the dry Gyokuro leaves absorb some of the water.
During the second brew is not necessary to wait 2 to 3 minutes, one minute is sufficient. For the last (third) brew we recommend longer wait in order to extract the last flavor from the leaves.
Tip: Don’t throw away the leaves. Sprinkle them with sauce Kikoman Pontsu and eat them. They are terribly tasty.