Gyokuro Tea: Everything You Need to Know (And How to Make it Properly)

gyokuro tea leaves

Quick Look:

  • ORIGIN: Japan
  • TASTING NOTES: savory, umami, sweet, vegetal, grassy
  • STEEP TIME: 2 to 3 minutes

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What is Gyokuro Tea?

One of Japan’s most expensive and sought-after teas, Gyokuro is a high-grade green tea, also known as pearl dew or jade dew.

The epitome of “umami”, Gyokuro tea is meant to be savored slowly, sip by sip, to fully enjoy its flavors and aromas.

How do you pronounce Gyokuro?

The proper way to pronounce gyokuro is “g-ee-oh-koo-row”. The G is a hard G, as in “guitar”, and there is an emphasis on the “oh” syllable.

What do you need to make Gyokuro tea?

Tea Scoop

This is the perfect tool to help you get the perfectly measured scoop of tea leaves every single time. You won’t regret adding this to your tea arsenal!

Electric Tea Kettle

An electric tea kettle with a temperature setting is a must-have brew gadget for tea drinkers! You can set the temperature to the degree for the perfect brew every time. This kettle is a favorite of ours. Or you can check out our full post on the best electric tea kettles.

Spring Water or Filtered Water

To get the best flavors from your tea, use high-quality water. Don’t use tap water or distilled water!

Tea Pot with Strainer

A teapot with a built-in strainer makes brewing tea so much easier when you’re using loose tea leaves. If you’re an avid tea drinker, you won’t regret buying this tea tool!

Loose Gyokuro Tea Leaves

Using loose tea leaves really will give you the best tea-drinking experience. By letting loose leaves steep in the boiled water, they have room to unfurl and release all of their natural aromas.

Tea Cup

Gyokuro is meant to be sipped in small quantities and is often served in a 100ml teacup.  However, you can use whatever cup makes you happy!  If you need some inspiration, check out some of our favorite drinkware.

How do you make Gyokuro tea properly?

To make the perfect cup of Gyokuro tea, you will want to use 3 teaspoons of tea leaves for every 3 ounces of water.
Gyokuro tea is meant to be savored in small portions slowly and is typically made with less water and more leaves than other green teas to pack in all the umami flavors it has to offer.

Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.

Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Make sure to pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.

Step 2: Boil your water.

For an optimal flavor experience, bring the water to about 140°F. This is important, as the flavors of Gyokuro tea must be extracted at a lower temperature to avoid becoming bitter.  If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, bring your kettle to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and let the water sit for several minutes before steeping the tea. It may be wise to use a thermometer to check that the temperature is not too hot.

Step 3: Warm up your teapot.

First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your teapot or steeping vessel and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Then you can discard this water in the sink. 

Step 4: Put your Gyokuro tea leaves into the teapot and add the rest of your hot water and then cover the pot.

Step 5: Steep your tea leaves for 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 6: Strain your tea leaves.

This is easiest if you have a teapot with a strainer. 

You can save the leaves for additional infusions. You can typically get 2 to 3 more infusions with Gyokuro tea. The subsequent infusions do not need to steep as long, since the leaves have already had the chance to unfurl; 30 to 60 seconds is long enough. 

Step 7: Decant your infused tea into your teacup and enjoy!

What does Gyokuro Tea taste like?

Gyokuro is the quintessence of umami! It is full-bodied, savory, vegetal, and grassy, with a hint of sweetness. 

How much caffeine is in Gyokuro tea?

Gyokuro is one of the most highly caffeinated green teas, thanks to its young leaves, and shaded growth. The exact amount of caffeine varies based on the leaf-to-water ratio, steep time, etc. However, gyokuro tea can have up to 120mg of caffeine! 

What are some health benefits of drinking Gyokuro tea?

Gyokuro tea has many health benefits including antioxidants, heart health, and oral health.

For the full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of Green tea.

Where can you find good quality Gyokuro tea?

There are several good quality Gyokuro tea options you can try. Here are just a few options to get you started:

What is the best way to store Gyokuro tea?

When it comes to storing Gyokuro tea, there are a few important things you will want to avoid. These are air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors. 

In order to keep your Gyokuro tea in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats. 

The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics. Beware that while you may see wood tea storage options, they are not best for storing loose-leaf tea, as they can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea. 

Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place. 

Here are some good options for storing your Gyokuro tea:

Looking for ways to organize your tea bags? Try these:

You want to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!

We hope this guide helped you learn everything you need to know about Gyokuro tea and how to make it at home!

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