Gyokuro tea bags: Read this Before Buying
You may find Gyokuro tea bags being sold online, but this tea in particular should be prepared in a teapot. A teabag is not the best way to prepare Gyokuro tea. In this article, we’re going to discuss gyokuro tea bags, and show you why loose leaf really is the way to go. Without further ado, let’s jump into the discussion on gyokuro tea bags.
Why you should not buy Gyokuro in tea bags?
You may have heard us discuss before that teabags are perhaps the worst way to prepare green tea. This is especially true in the case of gyokuro green tea bags.
Like other types of Japanese green tea, Gyokuro tea goes through a rolling and drying process. What makes Gyokuro unique is that it is rolled an additional time in a special type of rolling machine. This really compresses the leaves into these tight, needle shapes. This rolling is meant to really lock in the flavor so it can be released all at once when the leaves are rehydrated.
Because the leaves are so tightly rolled, they expand to many times their original size when they are added to water. Because of this, gyokuro needs even more space than a typical green tea. This makes gyokuro tea bags not a good option for preparing tea. In the next sections, we’re going to talk about the taste difference between gyokuro tea bags and gyokuro prepared in loose leaf form.
Difference of taste between Gyokuro in Tea Bags and loose leaf
We have done a few side by side comparisons between gyokuro green tea bags and gyokuro in loose leaf form. We found that, for a number of reasons the gyokuro in loose leaf form was far better than the gyokuro tea bags.
The most noticeable difference in the flavor is the complexity. When comparing the Gyokuro sasa hime, you get this pleasant floral note, a cooling sweetness and a rich umami finish. With the gyokuro tea bags, you get some of the sweetness but it feels faint and distant. The floral notes are completely lost and the umami can be found only with some imagination.
In other words, you are only getting part of the experience when you use gyokuro tea bags. If you really want the full effect, you will have to drink the gyokuro tea in loose leaf form. Another downside to the gyokuro tea bags is that you get the flavor of the teabag itself. All the materials used to make teabags impart some flavor into the tea that can negatively impact the taste. Even the silk teabags that we use provide some disruption to the flavor.
How to prepare your own Gyokuro Green Tea Bags step by step
If you must have gyokuro tea bags, we suggest that you make your own at home. This is something the Nio team actually does when we are traveling in Japan. Rather than counting on the hotels having proper brewing equipment, or risking one of precious clay kyusu teapots breaking, we instead opt to make silk teabags. By making our own gyokuro tea bags, we can ensure we get good tasting tea wherever we go. It may not be quite as good as a proper kyusu session, but it is miles better than what you would get from a cafe or a store bought teabag.
First, find some empty teabags to use for your gyokuro tea bags. We use these ones that are available at grocery stores in Japan, but also at a few Japanese owned grocery stores in the U.S and around Europe. Although teabags are still not a good way to produce green tea, these are the best among teabags.
You can set aside 5 grams of leaves (about one heaping tablespoon) and put it into the gyokuro tea bag. Try to do this carefully so you don’t drop any leaves!
Once you have your gyokuro tea bag filled, notice the careful folds on top of the teabag. These will be tucked so that you can seal the teabag without using any glue or staples (as many teabags use)
Fold the flaps over the teabag and tuck them in to seal up the gyokuro tea bag
Your gyokuro tea bag is now ready to go! You can prepare this right away, or you can save a few up for your next trip. This allows you to have great tasting green tea wherever you go.
You’ll notice that this particular gyokuro tea bag gives the leaves more space compared to a regular teabag, but still not nearly as much as the kyusu teapot. If you really want to get serious about your Gyokuro brewing, we recommend you go for the black kyusu, a teapot specifically designed to brew high quality Japanese green teas like gyokuro.
Where can I buy Gyokuro to prepare my own Gyokuro tea bags?
If you are looking for some Gyokuro tea, we really recommend the Gyokuro made by Mr. Sakamoto in Shibushi. Mr. Sakamoto took over his family business in 1985 and he has been growing gyokuro without the use of pesticides or chemicals ever since. Despite not using these potent chemicals, he is able to produce healthy and flavorful gyokuro teas by using his own fertilizer. This allows him to create delicious gyokuro without harming the surrounding ecosystem.The gyokuro we used for these teabags is the gyokuro sasa hime which is made from a blend of different tea cultivars. You can also try the light and sweet gyokuro cha mejin, the strong and savory cha musume or the smooth and vegetal gyokuro wakamusha. Whatever Gyokuro you decide to use, I’m sure you will enjoy taking great tasting green tea with you when you’re on the go.