Gyokuro is one of Japan’s finest Sencha Green Teas. The process involves shielding the leaves from the sun for 2 weeks before being harvested. This increases caffeine and amino acid levels and decreases catechin (a source of bitterness in tea) making the brew sweeter in flavor.
Gyokuro is prepared differently from other green teas:
- use twice the weight in dry tea leaves for a given quantity of water (e.g. 6 to 10 grams for 180 ml, or 2 to 3 heaped teaspoons for 2 small cups);
- use a lower brewing temperature (in the range of 50 °C–60 °C (122 °F–140 °F) instead of 65 °C–75 °C (149 °F–167 °F) for sencha; for high-end Gyokuro such as National tea jury rank, a temperature of 40 °C (104 °F) is recommended.);
- a longer steeping duration, at least for the first infusion (90 seconds instead of 1 minute for sencha).