Gyokura was known in ancient Japan as “history, philosophy and art in a single cup.” And why not? For many centuries the variety was known as Japan‟s greatest green tea.
So, just how is this fabulous tea made? Gyokuro is made from single buds that are picked only in April/May. In an effort to encourage chlorophyll development (responsible for the dark green color) and reduce tannin levels (the source of its sweet favor), the tea is covered with black curtains, bamboo or straw shades for 3 weeks before plucking. The leaves are small – about 3/4 of an inch long and extremely fragrant and tender. Immediately after plucking they are taken to the factory and steamed for about 30 minutes to seal in flavors and arrest fermentation. Next they are fluffed with hot air, pressed and dried to around 30% moisture content. The tea is then rolled repeatedly until it resembles long thin dark green needles, then dried until around 4-6% moisture content. The tea is then ready for drinking!