Learn About Tea
August 3, 2012
|| 160° F
|| 1-3 minutes
|| These leaves are shiny emerald green spindles. The dark green comes from the fact that tea is grown in increasing shade. The plant compensates by making extra chlorophyl. They are shiny spindles because they are processed in hot machines that straighten out the leaves, then the heat buffs the leaves.
|| A lovely pale green, caused by the extra chlorophyl.
|| Very spinachy and seaweedy, dark and decidedly vegetal, with none of the lemon sheen of Sencha.
|| Overall it is medium bodied. However, for a green tea it is much fuller bodied (coats your mouth.) This is because the final weeks of being covered in shade increases the amino acids which create body.
|| The lush green flavor of the freshest steamed spinach, the cooked flavor of lightly toasted walnuts and a very slight note of sulfur. Filling and sustaining.
Gyokuro is the most cherished grade of green tea. Due to the great amount of hand labor required, it is also the most expensive. This tea, once brewed, is pale green to yellow color, and has a clean, brisk flavor.
Like most great things Japanese, Gyokuro is a study in subtlety. Both Gyokuro and Sencha are grown in similar regions and made using similar methods in the factories, yet they are quite different. The shade covering of Gyokuro accounts for the subtly lusher, darker, more mouth-coating tea.
Most Gyokuro is grown in Uji, half an hour south the former Imperial capital of Kyoto. To service the demands of the Emperor and other members of the artistocracy, there were large tea fields and many tea factories built around Kyoto. It was in the twight of the Edo era that shade grown teas were commercialized.