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What makes it so special?
Gyokuro is made from the same tea plant all green teas come from: Camellia Sinensis.
The similarities seem to stop here, though. Only the youngest buds are used to make this tea and they undergo a special treatment to be selected for this purpose. They are grown in the shade for 20 days before harvesting as they are covered from sunlight using straw or reed screens.
This reduces photosynthesis changing the proportion of amino acids, caffeine, flavanols and sugars, and as a consequence the color, flavor and taste of the drink. The tea obtained by using this process is mild, sweet, has less astringency and higher quality.
The leaf buds that have grown deprived of the sun light are softer; they hold more moisture and are more flavored than many other kinds of green tea. The careful picked buds are lightly steamed to prevent oxidation, rolled and air-dried to get the perfect shape, texture and taste. They are then sorted into different leaf grades and the finest are selected to make Gyokuro. They are then let to mature for at least a week to further develop their properties.
How to brew the perfect cup?
The brewing process is a bit different than that of normal sencha green tea. If it is brewed like normal sencha it will still taste ok, but quite different than it should. What differs is the brewing temperature and water to tea proportion.
The water you use should be of good quality as the minerals in water can enhance the flavor of the tea. The optimal brewing temperature is between 122 F and 140 F degrees, lower than sencha. You should preheat the cups or the teapot because pouring the lukewarm tea into a cold cup changes the temperature. You can pour some of the boiled water into the kettle and wait for a minute or two, then add the leaves and add the remaining water.
Use 2 table spoons of tea to 4-5 ounces of water. Brewing time is two to three minutes. Don’t mix, stir or shake the tea while it is brewing. Allow the tea leaves room to expand.
Main benefits of Gyokuro imperial green tea
- Take the health benefits of regular green tea and multiply them by ten. Yes, Gyokuro is so beneficial because it is especially grown, picked and processed to enhance its characteristics.
Weight loss – its amazing antioxidants, the most powerful being EGCG speed up your metabolism burning fat and calories much faster. Enhancing the fat burning process is just one of the many ways this tea will help you shed extra pounds. It will also give you lots of energy to live a more active life and be able to exercise on a daily basis. The sensation of hunger is also suppressed by Gyokuro, so you won’t be craving unhealthy foods and you’ll be able to stick to a healthy diet.
Reduces the risk of cancer – the antioxidants play an important role here as well. This tea is able to fight the free radicals attacking cells and responsible for the growth of tumors. It will make the cells less likely to be affected by mutations and in some cases it will help to cell recovery.
Reduces the risk of heart disease – it lowers the risk of heart disease by reducing the accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries. It raises the level of good cholesterol and lowers that of bad cholesterol. Studies have shown that the polyphenols in this type of tea block the absorption of the cholesterols in the intestine and increase their excretion.
Supports brain function – the caffeine and theanine content of Gyokuro is high due to the shading process the buds undergo. They work as healthy stimulants and are gradually released throughout the day making you more focused, more alert, stimulating your brain and improving your concentration and reaction time.
Dental heath – the fluoride and minerals act like an antiviral agent preventing bacterial infections, tooth decay and plaque. Your breath will be fresher and your teeth healthier.
If you are looking for an exquisite tea drinking experience, or loads of health benefits in a warm cup of tea, you can purchase Gyokuro tea bags or loose leaves from the Internet or from different health stores.
The finest Japanese tea there is, “jade dew” as the name is translated into English is definitely one you should try.
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