Gyokuro ( Japanese 玉露 , German “noble dewdrop”) is considered the highest quality Japanese green tea in Germany . It is raised in full shade for about 21 days, which greatly reduces the bitter substances. It is aromatic, sweet and mild. In Japan, this tea is used, among other things, on special occasions to honor guests.
Gyokuro grows in the Uji cultivation area near Kyoto , in the main cultivation area Shizuoka , in the cultivation areas on Kyushu and others. It is now also grown in China, but is very different in taste and price from the Japanese variant.
The plants are covered with nets (Kabuse) or bamboo, reed or rice straw mats (Hon-Gyokuro) as soon as they start to sprout at the end of April. Less tannins and bitter substances are formed than with Sencha, for example, and the leaves have a very high chlorophyll content, which contributes significantly to the taste of the tea. Only the most tender and softest leaves are ultimately used for the Gyokuro.
In German retail, the price for Japanese Gyokuro starts at around 10 euros for 100 grams and, depending on the quality, can be well over 200 euros for 100 grams. Gyokuro is therefore one of the most expensive green teas in the world. Gyokuro from China costs less than half.
You take about 3-4 times the amount of tea leaves compared to Sencha (Sencha: approx. 6 g for 0.5 l, Gyokuro: approx. 6–10 g for 0.2 l). Since the tea is very delicate, it should be prepared at a low temperature between 50 ° C and 60 ° C. Gyokuro loses its smooth, highly aromatic taste when it is infused with boiling water or water that is too hot. If the infusion is too hot, the bitter substances dissolve and the tea loses its actual taste. So that this does not happen or the tea can still be enjoyed warm, the teacups or the teapot should be rinsed with hot water so that they are preheated before the tea is poured and the cooling of the tea is delayed.
Gyokuro and other high-quality teas can also be prepared with melting ice cubes (Shinobi-Cha).
The first infusion should steep for about two minutes. For further infusions (up to eight are possible, but three should be enjoyed at least) 30 seconds are sufficient as long as the leaves are still moist.