The quest for the best gyokuro tea brand can often be complicated with lots of conflicting information. So many companies claim they are the best brands for gyokuro, but who is right?
In this article, we are going to be reveal you the best gyokuro tea brand, how to select the best gyokuro from this brand and all the tips to make sure that you get the best gyokuro during your shopping. Without further ado, let’s get started. 🍃🥇
What is the Best Gyokuro Tea Brand in the World?
Here is the part of the article where we have the big reveal. We believe that asking for the best gyokuro brand is the wrong question. This is because brands don’t produce green tea, farmers do.
At Nio, we are proud to do things a bit differently. We’ll tell you exactly where your tea was produced, and who it was produced by. We believe it is important to know where your foods and drinks are coming from, and we are willing to “give away our secrets” for the sake of transparency.
Do you want to know who is the best gyokuro farmer? This answer is right below 👇
Then, who is the best gyokuro farmer from Japan?
After travelling all over Japan for many years, we can proudly say that we found the best gyokuro farmer in the world, the legendary tea farmer, Mr. Sakamoto.
This farmer is selling his gyokuro to dozens of tea brands all other the world! So we can proudly say that we're part of the best gyokuro tea brand in the world.
Mr. Sakamoto has been producing gyokuro without the use of pesticides or chemicals since 1985, and during that time he has developed his own blend of organic fertilizer that allows him to grow strong, healthy and flavorful tea plants without harming the natural ecosystem.
In a way, you could consider him to be the best gyokuro brand, even though he and his family just represent one small farm.
If you’re interested in learning about the best gyokuro from the master himself, you can read our article 👉 What’s the Best Gyokuro in the World?
What to look for before searching for the best gyokuro tea brand?
Focus on the farmers
If you are looking for the best brands for gyokuro green tea, you should instead be looking for the best farmers for gyokuro tea. Brands like to keep these farmers a secret, rather than giving their names away to customers and competitors.
When you order tea from us, you’re not only helping to support Nio, but also the dozens of talented farmers we work with. We believe that by sharing these farmers stories and their teas with people all around the world, we can shift the tea industry into a more positive, sustainable direction.
It has to be organically grown
When it comes to green tea, it is very important to buy from a source that does not use chemicals or pesticides during the production. Although the leaves are washed off, there is always a higher chance of cross-contamination the closer chemicals are to the tea being produced.
It is very rare to find a gyokuro not produced with pesticides or chemicals. The reason for this is that the 3 week shading process can be a stressful time for the plant, and most farmers rely on chemical fertilizers to keep the plants alive. To produce flavorful gyokuro without these chemicals requires a lot of skill, and there are only a few farmers who can do it.
When it comes to price, it should be fair but not too low. Gyokuro tea requires quite a bit of labor to produce, so you should expect to pay over 30 cents per gram. Don't worry, this only comes out to around $1 per cup, which is not bad considering the tea is such an indulgence.
If you're interested to know about this topic, we invite you to read our article 👉 Why is the Gyokuro Tea Price so High?
Flavor profile description of the teas
What does Gyokuro taste like? When you look at the flavor profile description of the tea, it should be clear that the seller understands the purpose of Gyokuro, which is to capture these sweet and savory (umami) flavors. The mark of a good gyokuro is how well it can capture this taste.
Appearance of the gyokuro
The gyokuro leaves should be dark, almost black in color. This shows you that the tea has gone through a proper shading process and the l-theanine content is high.
The leaves should be tightly rolled into needle shapes, indicating that the tea has been through its full production process. To produce these tight needle shapes, the tea needs to go through an additional rolling phase, which requires additional machinery. If the producer is serious about gyokuro, they will make the investment into the right equipment.
What is Gyokuro Tea?
Based on our tea experts official gyokuro definition, it's a type of shaded green tea from Japan. It differs from the standard sencha (a classic unshaded green tea) in being grown under the shade rather than the full sun.
Gyokuro is considered to be the most sought after leaf tea in Japan. It was once the favorite tea for the emperor himself, and that’s why you’ll sometimes see it being solde as “imperial green tea” or “imperial gyokuro”.
A tea that can age
Before the invention of refrigeration, the quality of a tea was sometimes judged by how long it maintained its flavor.
When the emperor would select teas for his private collection, he would wait until a few months after the harvest, to evaluate how good the tea was.
Because gyokuro is one of the few Japanese green teas that maintains its flavor with age, it was always the one selected by the emperor.
Unique flavor profile
Today gyokuro is famous for a different reason - it’s flavor. Gyokuro has this powerful sweet and savory flavor that is quite unique in the world of tea.
If you were to describe the taste of gyokuro tea, you would actually likely compare it to a food like miso soup.
It has this rich brothy or savory flavor, a hint of saltiness and this marine note of seaweed or steamed vegetables. This gives you a bit of an idea when it comes to the taste of gyokuro tea.
How is gyokuro made
To be considered a gyokuro, the gyokuro plant has to be shaded for a minimum of 3 weeks before the harvest.
This maximizes the content of sweet and savory theanine, and minimizes the content of bitter catechins.
After the tea has been shaded, it is ready to be harvested.
Only the top 3 leaves are use
In the early spring time, the farmers will select the top 3 leaves of the tea plant.
These younger tea leaves are the smoothest and sweetest in flavor and the highest in nutrients.
Once these leaves have been harvested, they are then gathered up to be processed.
Leaves are steamed to stop the oxidation
Because gyokuro is a green tea, the leaves used to make it cannot be oxidized. In order to stop the oxidation process, the leaves need to be heated in order to deactivate the enzyme oxidase. This allows the tea to lock in its greener colors and more vegetal flavors. After the leaves are steamed they are dried and rolled into these thin needle shapes gyokuro is famous for.
Final words on the best gyokuro tea brands
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read about our thoughts on the best gyokuro tea brands. We hope that you have found this helpful when it comes to learning about gyokuro green tea loose leaf best brands for gyokuro tea and why it doesn’t matter as much as most people think. We’ll see you all next time.