What is Gyokuro Tea and it’s 5 Health Benefits

Updated on: March 30, 2023
Author: Nick
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Gyokuro Shaded Green Tea

Gyokuro tea is what Kylie Jenner is in the Kardashians - the most expensive! 

This green tea is grown in Japan and is only harvested once per year which is one of the reasons why it is the most exclusive of green teas and the only one that is shade grown for 21 days before harvesting. 

Read on to learn more about this type of green tea and its health benefits (please don’t go and watch the Kardashians instead).

What Kind of Tea is Gyokuro?

It is a type of sencha green tea. It is the most expensive and the highest quality amongst all the other green teas. 

What Makes Gyokuro Tea Special?

This green tea can only be harvested once a year and is made in small batches from higher quality green tea leaves. It is also shade grown unlike other green teas which is why it is more expensive and one of the most popular teas in the world!

Origins of Gyokuro Green Tea

Gyokuro, ‘jade dew’ or ‘jewel of dew’ was originally made by the Yamamoto Yama Tea Company in 1835. 

It was then tweaked by a man called Eguchi Shigejuro who realized the most important part of creating gyokuro was to cover the tea leaves, i.e. to be shaded. 

And so gyokuro green tea was born (1). 

What Does Gyokuro Tea Taste Like?

The overall taste of this Japanese green tea is umami (savory) with hints of seaweed, grass, and a little sweetness. 

This tea has a delicate taste and a deep green color like an emerald shining from inside your cup. It is slightly thicker than other green teas and is made to be sipped. 

Processing and Oxidation

This Japanese tea is different from other sencha teas because the tea leaves are shade grown for at least 20 days before harvest (2).

Straw mats or mesh cloth are usually used for covering the tea leaves. This reduces the photosynthesis process which leads to an increase in the amino acid L-theanine and caffeine, plus other health benefits which we will discuss later.

The result is a distinct aroma and a sweeter flavor. 

The first infusion of the tea leaves happens between 50 – 60 degrees Celsius and it is brewed slowly. The second infusion happens in even hotter water (3). Creating this tea is a mix of using the kneading and drying method of sencha green tea with the method of cultivation of the tencha, which is the unmilled raw material for matcha (4).

Highest Grades Sencha

Subtypes of Gyokuro Tea

This loose leaf tea can differ in flavor depending on where it was cultivated. 

Fukuoka is the main region that produces gyokuro with it also being produced in the Uji, Yame, and Asahina provinces of Japan.

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Gyokuro Tea Preparation

It is easy to prepare gyokuro green tea at home. You can use a special Japanese teapot and cups, but that isn’t necessary.  

A Hohin is the special Japanese teapot used for brewing gyokuro. It has no handle, only a spout. It should be cool enough to be able to hold it. Check out our recommendation below:

Tokoname Hohin set - HAKUZAN

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You could also use a Yuzamashi. This is like a Japanese teapot, again with no handle but also no lid. This can help to cool the tea quicker. 

Gyokuro tea cups can be used which are smaller than normal tea cups and have no handle. They can be different shapes and are a lovely and authentic way to enjoy your gyokuro green tea.

How to Brew Gyokuro Tea

  • Use one tablespoon of gyokuro loose tea for a 12-ounce teapot with a strainer.
    N.B: If you don’t own one, then just use a tea infuser basket or check this article to learn how to make loose leaf tea without a strainer.

  • Add 2 ounces of lower temperature water (not boiling water). Filtered is better or use spring water, so the water does not taint the resulting flavor of your tea. 

  • Steep for up to 1-2 minutes.

  • The water temperature should be 40-50 degrees Celsius or 122 Fahrenheit (5).  This helps amino acids to extract and prevent any bitterness.

  • Enjoy again for a second or third time but with a higher temperature and a longer steeping time. 

  • Pour from one cup to the other to balance the flavor and to cool it down.

Top tip for brewing gyokuro tea:

Weigh the leaves using one gram of loose tea for every 30ml of water.

Boiling Water for Drinking Tea

Gyokuro Green Tea Health Benefits

  1. This Japanese tea has increased Chlorophyll, which may be good for anti-aging.  Plus the health benefits from the high amount of catechins (antioxidants) have anti-inflammatory properties and improve skin elasticity (6). 

  2. These antioxidants have other health benefits such as improving circulation, digestion, and they may be good for the nervous system and for a quick mood boost (7). 

  3. Gyokuro green tea, as well as other green teas, have polyphenols and their health benefits consist of fighting cholesterol, plus it contains minerals like magnesium and potassium (8). 

  4. Another of the numerous health benefits provided by these green teas is helping in reducing fluid retention so it can help with weight loss (of course drinking gyokuro isn’t going to help you if you eat a whole chocolate cake, it’s good, but it’s not a miracle drink unfortunately). 

  5. Finally, this green tea is one of the highest in fluoride and tannins (9). The health benefits of high fluorine content in green tea and the bactericidal properties of tannins are good for your oral health, so you can have pearly whites without going to the dentist.

Where to Buy Gyokuro Green Tea

It may be a specialist tea with an abundance of health benefits, but you can still buy it from Amazon (what can’t you buy from Amazon?).

Our Recommended tea is:

Japanese Premium Yame Gyokuro Green Tea

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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Gyokuro Green Tea

Which brand of green tea has the most EGCG?

Teavana Gyokuro Green Tea has the highest amount of EGCG, and it is the most expensive.

Green tea generally has the highest amounts of ECGC compared to other teas. ECGC or epigallocatchein-3-gallate (try saying that quickly), is an antioxidant that reduces free radicals. Compounds that fly around the body and can cause cell damage leading to chronic disease.

Which green tea has the highest caffeine content?

Gyokuro green tea is considered a high caffeine tea but not as much as matcha which has the highest amount of caffeine (10).

How much caffeine is in gyokuro green tea?

Gyokuro green tea has around 35 mg of caffeine (11), so it’s best not to drink this in the evening, especially if when you lie down at night you’re tossing and turning and wondering, ‘do you think Brendan from 90 Day Fiancé will ever grow up?’ 

Is gyokuro the best green tea?

It’s the most expensive tea and is a high-quality green tea but it depends on what you mean by ‘best’.

Gyokuro Green Tea

Bottom Line

We hope we didn’t put you off gyokuro by comparing it to Kylie Jenner, it really is far superior.

It is perfect if you’re a green tea lover (along with matcha) to drink in the morning instead of coffee for a sustained caffeine hit. 

And for it’s many health benefits. So you can’t lose.

Let us know if you’ve tried gyokuro and what you think about this rich tea.

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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