$14.50 – $60.03
Country of Origin: Japan
Grade: Japanese Gyokuro Style
Altitude: Up to 750m above sea level
Manufacturing Type: Shade grown, steamed and pan fried
Cup Characteristics: A full expansive green tea flavour that has a satisfying light refreshing character. Tending pleasantly vegetative with some briskness.
Infusion: Tending bright forest green.
Ingredients: Premium Japanese Green Tea
Description: So, just how is this fabulous tea made? Gyokuro is made from single buds that are picked only in April/May. In an effort to encourage chlorophyll development (responsible for the dark green color) and reduce tannin levels (the source of its sweet favour), the tea is covered with black curtains, bamboo or straw shades for 3 weeks before plucking. The leaves are small about 3/4 of an inch long and extremely fragrant and tender.
Immediately after plucking they are taken to the factory and steamed for about 30 minutes to seal in flavors and arrest fermentation. Next they are fluffed with hot air, pressed and dried to around 30% moisture content. The tea is then rolled repeatedly until it resembles long thin dark green needles, then dried until around 4-6% moisture content. The tea is then ready for drinking! (Gyokuro is usually brewed in a Japanese Kyushu style teapot and served in cups with no handle.)
Why drink green tea? According to Japanese tea researchers there are many reasons.
Reduces the incidence of cancer – Their studies relate to the high levels of catechins in tea. One study by Y.Nakamura concluded that green tea and catechin markedly inhibited the development of cancer. This study utilized data from a survey of inhabitants of Shizuoka (the major tea growing region of Japan) where green tea is a staple product and a main beverage where the inhabitants daily consume as much as 1 – 1.5g of green tea catechins in their tea drinking.
The survey suggests that green tea catechins played a significant role in a low SMR (Standardized Mortality Ratio). The scientific aspect of the study when combined with the survey lead the scientists to the conclusion that there is a striking reduction in the cancer death rate amongst residents who are accustomed to drinking quite strong tea and frequently changing the tea leaves.
Green Tea Suppresses Aging – It has been shown in other studies that high the concentrations of powerful antioxidant Vitamin E and C in the bodies of animals the longer they lived.
Prof. Okuba (Chem.Pharm.Bull.31 1983) demonstrated that catechin in green tea is a far stronger antioxidant than vitamin E, leading to a hypothesis that green tea contains a powerful antioxidant that is believed to help control aging.
Organic tea is produced without the input of chemical fertilisers or pesticides and herbicides. Unfortunately the yield per acre is lower and quite often quality can suffer compared to when fertilizers and others inputs are utilized. Nevertheless with good manufacturing techniques the cup characteristics can be maintained at a very high level – such is the case with this tea.
Tea was introduced to Japan from China in the 7th and 8th century. Records indicate that Japan’s emperor Kammu created a government post called ‘Supervisor of Tea and Tea Gardens’ as Japan had begun to cultivate it’s own tea.
That this post was in the medical bureau of the government indicates that even then, there was tremendous respect for the health aspects of tea. From 800 to 1200AD Japan relied heavily on China for it’s tea supply. Because tea arrived in limited quantities from China, tea became a luxury used for medicinal and spiritual purposes.
A Zen buddhist, Eisa Myoan returned from China (from what is now Jiangxi) with tea seeds and planted them at his temple. He soon realized that the quality was superior to any tea currently grown in Japan. these seeds formed the basis of Japan’s tea industry in the centuries to come. Further evidence of the correlation between health and tea is found in a book that Eisai wrote: Tea Drinking is Good for Health. He wrote that tea drinking confers many benefits including curing lack of appetite, diseases caused by poor quality drinking water, and beriberi (a Vitamin B deficiency).
Hot Tea Brewing Method: Can be used repeatedly – about 3 times. Use water about 90ºC. Place 1 teaspoon of tea in your cup, let the tea steep for about 1-3 minutes – do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low – add more water, and so on and so on – until the flavour of the tea is exhausted.
Alternatively, scoop 2-4 teaspoons of tea into a teapot, pour in fresh boiled water (previously boiled water loses most of its oxygen and tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (the leaves will sink), pour into your cup and enjoy ‘ straight up’.
Iced Tea Brewing Method (To make 1 Litre): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1¼ cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes.
Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcheer with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
(A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice ice and diluted with cold water).
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