Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Delicious gyokuro by perverse brewing

At The World O-CHA (Tea) Festival, I joined four gyokuro workshops. There was a booth for gyokuro from the three major regions, Yame (Fukuoka), Uji (Kyoto), and Asahina (Sihzuoka). Each region had workshop and introduced little different ways of brewing gyokuro.

Today I would like to tell you about the way of brewing that I learned at the Asahina (Shizuoka) workshop. I thought it was very unique. Here, we learned cold water brewing, which is not unique about. What unique about was the brewing time and the way of pouring. Each participant got a personal tea set, and could try it by him or herself. Let’s take a look at the steps!

1. Put 4g of Asahina gyokuro into the teapot
2. Add room temperature water (not iced water)
3. Wait one and half minutes
4. Gently move the teapot in a circular motion to agitate and pour a little tea into a cup, and circle the teapot again and pour a little tea, and repeat it until you pour all of the tea.

We tried this cold brewed tea. It was so good. It was clear and sweet. I didn’t find bitterness. I was impressed with the good taste by the unique brewing. It was still good on the second and third brewing.
So what were the unique things? Yes, the time of brewing and the way of pouring. The brewing time was one and half minutes! It is usually said the time for gyokuro is about two minutes with warm water. If you are brewing with cold water, the brewing time should be longer than that. But it was only one and half minutes actually.
To make up for the short brewing time, the pouring will be the other point. I think the delicious tea will be completed by agitating the leaves and water as you pour the tea. Shaking or circling the teapot is a perverse thing to do on Japanese way of tea brewing. But the instructor encouraged us to break rules. He said he has tried many other ways, such as not moving the teapot and brewing longer time as ordinary way. But he could not get anything good as this tea. Also the water temperature, he said. He has tried different temperature of water, warmer and colder. But he got the best result with room temperature water.
I think brewing with room temperature water is easy and simple, and you still get good tea. It will be worth to try!


  1. The circling or agitating technique was taught to me by the sales lady who sold Fukujuen tea in Singapore. It is true--I do that with Sencha too. But the problem is that the kyusu must be right. Those small and flat pots will not permit this technique.

  2. Hi, StationeryMad-san

    Oh, you did know the technique, Great! (^-^) I guess the sales lady knows about tea very well.

    In Japan, you don’t move the teapot in the proper way of brewing. Some people don’t know about it. So I often hear that tea instructors are telling not move the teapot on their workshops. I have heard two reasons, first, shaking or circling a teapot is not a beautiful movement, and second, grazing tealeaves each other makes the tea taste bad.
    I think it is okay for casual tea at home, and it works fine anyway (^-^) He, he, he…