Gyokuro Tea: A Japanese Green Tea Like No Other

If you’re a tea enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of gyokuro tea – the finest and most luxurious Japanese green tea available.

But what makes gyokuro so special?

Gyokuro is a type of green tea that’s highly regarded for its delicate flavor and unique cultivation process.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about gyokuro tea, from its cultivation and brewing to its unique flavor profile and health benefits.


A brief introduction of Gyokuro Tea

Gyokuro tea is a special type of Japanese green tea that is widely known for its superior taste and health benefits.

Gyokuro is a type of green tea that’s highly regarded for its delicate flavor and unique cultivation process.

Unlike most green teas, gyokuro is grown in the shade for several weeks before it’s harvested.

This shading technique gives the tea a distinct vegetal taste and a sweeter, smoother flavor.

If you are a tea enthusiast looking for a unique and flavorful tea experience, then gyokuro tea is definitely worth trying out.


History & Origins of Gyokuro Tea

This special tea was first created in Japan in the early 19th century, during the Edo period.

It was invented by a tea farmer named Kahei Yamamoto, who wanted to create a new, high-quality green tea that would be different from the other teas available at the time.

Yamamoto experimented with different cultivation techniques and eventually came up with the idea of shading the tea plants before harvest, which produced a unique flavor and aroma.

The tea was named “gyokuro,” which means “jade dew” in Japanese, because of its vibrant green color and delicate taste.

Today, gyokuro is still primarily grown and consumed in Japan, but it’s gaining popularity in other parts of the world as well.

 gyokuro tea in a tea cup


Characteristics of Gyokuro green tea

Firstly, Gyokuro is known for its shade-grown cultivation process, which sets it apart from other green teas.

This process involves shading the tea bushes for several weeks before harvesting.

This technique results in a richer and more vegetal taste that is different from other green teas.

Its unique taste and aroma

When it comes to taste and aroma, Gyokuro has a sweet, delicate, and mild taste with a grassy aroma.

The taste is often described as “umami,” which means a savory, brothy flavor that stimulates the taste buds.

This unique taste is due to the high levels of amino acids, specifically L-Theanine, found in Gyokuro.

Want to learn more? Keep reading!

A woman holding a paper with antioxidant word

Health Benefits of Gyokuro

Antioxidant Properties

Gyokuro is packed with antioxidants that can help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals.

These free radicals are harmful molecules that can damage your cells, and contribute to aging and the development of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

The antioxidants in Gyokuro can help neutralize these free radicals and reduce their negative effects on your body.

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Gyokuro contains an amino acid called L-Theanine, which is known for its relaxing properties. L-Theanine can help promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety levels.

It works by stimulating the production of alpha brain waves, which are linked to inducing a sense of tranquility and peacefulness in the mind.

Aiding Digestion and Boosting Metabolism

Gyokuro can also aid in digestion and help boost your metabolism.

The catechins in Gyokuro can help improve your digestive health by reducing inflammation in your gut and increasing the production of digestive enzymes.

Additionally, the caffeine in Gyokuro can help boost your metabolism and increase fat burning.


Cultivation of Gyokuro Tea

Process of Cultivation of Gyokuro green tea

Cultivating gyokuro is no easy feat!

It requires a lot of time, attention, and care.

But the end result is worth it – a delicate and delicious tea that is revered around the world.

Gyokuro is grown using a shading process known as “tana,” which means “shelf” in Japanese.

The tea plants are shaded for about three weeks before harvest, which allows them to produce more chlorophyll and develop a unique flavor and aroma.

The shading process also helps reduce bitterness and increase sweetness, giving gyokuro its signature taste.

Cultivation of gyokuro green tea leaves

The ideal growing conditions for Gyokuro

Furthermore, Gyokuro is also known for its ideal growing conditions.

It is grown in several regions of Japan, but the most popular area for its cultivation is in Uji, located in the Kyoto prefecture.

The region’s ideal climate and soil composition, combined with the expert knowledge of the local farmers, have contributed to making Kyoto a hub for the production of premium gyokuro tea.

The ideal temperature for growing this type of green tea is between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius, and the tea plants are typically grown in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.

They are also frequently pruned to maintain their shape and ensure optimal growth.

A man harvesting gyokuro tea

Harvesting Gyokuro green tea

Harvesting gyokuro is a delicate process that requires skilled hands.

The tea leaves are hand-picked in the early spring, usually between April and May, and only the top buds and young leaves are used.

The leaves are then steamed, rolled, and dried to preserve their freshness, flavor and aroma.

shading net for cultivation of gyokuro

Special Tools

In addition to the ideal growing conditions, the cultivation of gyokuro also requires the use of special tools, such as shading nets and bamboo mats.

The use of these tools ensures that the tea leaves receive the right amount of shade and are protected from strong winds and harsh sunlight.

gyokuro and kyusu for brewing gyokuro tea


Preparation of Gyokuro

Selection and storage of Gyokuro tea

Alright, let’s talk about how to prepare this delicate tea, Gyokuro!

First things first, let’s make sure we get the best quality tea leaves.

When selecting Gyokuro, make sure to look for bright green leaves that are tightly rolled up.

The fresher the leaves, the better the taste.

And be sure to store it in a cool, dry place to keep it fresh.

Brewing Gyokuro Tea

Brewing gyokuro tea is an art that requires precision and patience.

The water used to brew this good green tea should be around 60-70°C, which is cooler than the water used for other types of green tea.

The tea leaves should be steeped for no more than two minutes to prevent the tea from becoming bitter.

I recommend to use kyusu a Japanese teapot to brew this green tea.

The resulting brew is a pale green color with a vegetal taste and a soft, smooth texture.

 Gyokuro and matcha

Gyokuro vs Other Types of Green Tea

discover the differences between three of Japan’s most beloved green teas: Matcha, Sencha, and Gyokuro.

So, strap on your tea kettles, and let’s go!


Let’s start with Matcha.

It’s the tea that’s been on everyone’s lips (and tongues) lately, and for good reason.

Matcha is made by grinding shade-grown tea leaves into a fine powder, which is then whisked with hot water to create a frothy, creamy tea.

Its flavor is sweet and slightly bitter, with a smooth texture that makes it perfect for lattes and desserts.


Next up, we have Sencha.

It’s one of the most popular green tea in Japan and is made by steaming tea leaves and rolling them into thin, needle-like shapes.

The flavor is fresh and grassy, with a slight astringency that gives it a bit of a kick.

It’s usually brewed at a higher temperature for a shorter time, which gives it a brighter green color and a slightly more intense flavor.


And last but certainly not least, we have Gyokuro.

It’s the Rolls-Royce of green teas, known for its delicate, sweet taste and smooth texture.

The tea leaves are shade-grown for several weeks before being harvested, which gives them a unique flavor and aroma.

Gyokuro is brewed at a lower temperature for a longer time than Sencha, which brings out its subtle sweetness and mellow flavor.

Gyokuro vs. Matcha & Sencha

So, what sets these three green teas apart?

Well, Matcha is the most nutrient-dense because you’re consuming the whole leaf.

Sencha is the most versatile and widely consumed, with a fresh, grassy flavor that’s perfect for any time of day.

And Gyokuro is the most sophisticated and expensive, with a delicate flavor that’s best enjoyed when you have some time to savor it.

While all green teas come from the same species of plant, gyokuro stands out for its unique cultivation process and flavor profile.


Gyokuro tea is a wonderful tea that offers a range of health benefits and a unique flavor that sets it apart from other green teas.

Whether you’re a seasoned tea lover or new to the world of Japanese tea, gyokuro is definitely worth trying.

With its rich history, unique cultivation process, and delicate flavor, it’s no wonder that gyokuro is considered one of the best green teas in the world.

So try it now!

If you want to experience the exquisite taste and aroma of Gyokuro then you can purchase it here.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

** Curious about the Plant Based Japanese Cooking Club? ** Learn more here!



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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

** Curious about the Plant Based Japanese Cooking Club? ** Learn more here!


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