Monday, October 4, 2010

How to brew gyokuro

How do you usually prepare gyokuro? Gyokuro tastes different by how to brew it. It should be prepared differently from sencha brewing. The differences are the amount and temperature of water, and brewing time. Here I’ll introduce a basic way of gyokuro brewing.

*** Tea wares ***
Very small teapot (100ml/3.53oz) and cups (20ml/0.7oz)
Water cooler (a small bowl)
Example of gyokuro tea set (my past blog) >>>

*** Steps for preparing gyokuro for four servings ***

Pour boiling water into the teapot.

This is to warm the pot and lower the temperature of the hot water.

Pour the water from the tea pot to four tea cups.
This is to warm up the cups, and to cool the water more. One cup of water is about 20ml (0.7oz). If you have water left in the teapot, dump it away.

Pour the water from the cups to water cooler.
This makes the water cooler a little more. When you hold the water cooler with your hands, it should be lukewarm. The correct water temperature is 40-60 degrees Celsius (104-140 deg. F) for Gyokuro. It should be higher temperature for low-grade tea and lower temperature for fine tea.

Put the tea leaves into the tea pot.
One scoop (about 3g / 0.106oz) makes one serving. This time, I put 12g (3g*4servings) of tea leaves into the teapot. The leaves on the tea spoon are 3g, and the leaves in the teapot are 12g.

Pour the water from the water cooler into the teapot.

The amount of water would be just enough to cover the tea leaves.

Put a lid on the teapot and leave it for two minutes.
You should adjust the brewing time for your environment.

After two minutes, the leaves would absorb the water, and be half open.

Pour the brewed tea into cups.
Serve the tea by pouring small amounts into each cup in turns. Repeat until each cup is full. This would make each cup have an even consistency. Serve all the tea in the pot.

Some water were absorbed by leaves, so the each portion would not be too much (about 13ml / 0.45oz). The tea has very rich umami, and you will be surprised how different is it from sencha.

The points of gyokuro brewing are …
1. Very small portion (20ml/serving)
2. Low temperature water (40-60 deg. C / 104-140F)
3. Long brewing time (2 minutes)

You can use same set of leaves couple times. Just refill the teapot with warm water.


  1. wow, I have tried this... wow... I have never tasted something like this... from now on I will try all your brewing methods. I bought first gyokuro like 1 year ago but always prepared like it was written on the romanian package... 4, 5 tsp for a liter with 80 C degree for 3 to 5 minutes... But I am seeing now that I got almost everything wrong in preparing japanese tea... But I love it so I will start over. Also I think to say bye to the romanian shops and try online from now on...
    Thnks again
    here is something about me when you have 5 minutes :)

  2. I’m glad that you have tried it. It is interesting to learn that you can find a wrong recipe on a package of tea, hahaha. I have visited your sites. They are wonderful, very creativeヽ(^。^)ノ Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  4. Thanks for your tips. May you also suggest a nice Japanese song for the Tea moment?

  5. Hi, Reberto-san,

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    Japanese songs for tea momen? Good question! However, I regret to say that I don’t usually listen to Japanese songs at my tea time. So, I can’t give you a good advice on it.

    If you say any music for tea time, it’s definitely JAZZ!!
    Please check out >>>

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I was wondering, where did you get the tea ware in the photo? Is the little pot called a Houhin?

    Thanks again, Sivan

    1. That’s right; this type of teapots is called “hohin” or “houhin”. I got this tea set from my grandfather. I’m sorry that I don’t know where and how he got it (^^;;

  7. Thank you Kohei for the gyokuro brewing lesson. I discovered gyokuro at the Teavana store but have recently branched out to finding a higher quality tea online. I have ordered two from o-cha's site and am looking forward to their arrival. I was a huge fan of Teavana's Genmaicha (which they have discontinued) so I have been in search of a good genmaicha online. Any recommendations? Thanks for your time!

    1. Hi, Kristin-san, I love the pleasing roasted flavor of Genmaicha. I don’t usually buy tea online and I regret to say that I don’t know any tea shop that I can recommend. You are getting two high-quality gyokuro from Japan. Wonderful! I’m always excited then I get a new tea. I hope you enjoy them.

  8. I went to Ippodo in Kyoto and they recommended 60degC for only 1min 20 seconds. Is there a difference between 1min20sec and 2min like you suggested?

    1. The best temperature and brewing time depends on each gyokuro. The two minutes is just a general brewing time. It is better to try different time to find out what the best for your gyokuro.

    2. I like two-minute brewing for my gyokuro. Some people even recommend three minutes. I personally think that short brewing creates simple sweet tea and long brewing provide complex taste with various flavors.

  9. This is to warm the pot and lower the temperature of the hot water.powder green tea perth

  10. The differences are the amount and temperature of water, and brewing time. Here I’ll introduce a basic way of gyokuro brewing. powder green tea perth

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