Green tea: Gyokuro

Gyokuro (玉露)

The refreshing, spinachy precursor to Matcha (a five-star tea).
Green tea » Japanese » Shade-Grown, ★★★
Also known as: 玉露, Jewel Dew, Jade Dew.

Gyokuro and its powdered form, Matcha, are acquired tastes.

The first thing you’ll notice about Gyokuro is its unusually dark green colour. Gyokuro is produced from shade-grown tea plants, which increase their chlorophyll content to compensate for low levels of sunlight. The result is a very dark, spinachy, vegetal tea that’s much richer in nutrients than many sun-grown teas (that’s most teas).

Gyokuro and Matcha both taste vegetal and kelpy, and the brews are identically fluorescent green. Because the Matcha is powdered, and the Gyokuro leaves are so brittle, pieces of both of these teas inevitably escape your filter and enter the brew. Brewed directly in a cup (as I did), both Gyokuro and Matcha teas can feel like medicine; but brewed properly, with the appropriate whisk and ritual ceremony, both of of them can be delicious. See the ceremony demonstrated, then performed, in my next post.

Gyokuro is slightly spinachy with a dew-like, sweet aftertaste. It has a fascinating leaf shape, leaf colour and infusion colour, but still lacks the uniqueness and ritual importance of Matcha. It’s an interesting tea, but take Matcha instead if you can. ★★★

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