Country of Origin: China
Region: Zhejiang Province
Shipping Port: Shanghai
Grade: Gyokuro Made to Japanese specifications
Altitude: 500 - 1500 ft. above sea level
Manufacture Type: Shade grown and steamed green tea
Cup Characteristics: A full flavored green tea that has a satisfying light refreshing character. Tending pleasantly vegetative with some briskness
Infusion: Very bright
Ingredients: Luxury green tea
In ancient Japan, Gyokuru was referred to as history, philosophy and art in a single cup. And why not? For many centuries the variety was known as Japan���s greatest green tea. Unfortunately, following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011, much of Japan���s tea crop was affected with Cesium 137 forcing many tea companies, including Metropolitan Tea to find new sources for traditionally Japanese tea varieties. Thankfully, before the disaster, many Japanese tea manufacturers had already begun setting up shop in China to produce teas for the internal market using Japanese machinery, varietals and techniques. What���s more, China���s prime growing season is in spring, when our company traditionally makes tea purchases. The decision to place food safety over tradition was made and Metropolitan has now begun purchasing all Japanese style teas from China including this delicious Gyokuro.
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 favor), 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.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180�F or 90�C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup, let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - 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 flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves in the brew, not only do they foretell your fortune but you can see the bud and shoots presenting themselves, looking like they are about to be plucked.
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, scoop 2-4 teaspoons of tea into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn (previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (virtually all the leaves will sink), pour into your cup but do not add milk or sugar since green tea is enjoyed 'straight-up'.
Iced tea brewing method: Not recommended