Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gyokuro, Japanese premium green tea

Gyokuro is prepared with lower temperature and much smaller portion of water than sencha (the most common green tea) preparing. The magnificent allure of gyokuro is the abundant umami. The umami flavor is appreciated as the distinctive quality of Japanese tea, which doesn’t find much in English or oolong tea. English and oolong tea which prefer for their great aroma are prepared with boiling water to bring the aroma out. On the other hand, about 50 degree C water is used to infuse gyokuro for the best umami.
Gyokuro is produced with similar processes as sencha’s. The different process is a cover culture. The tea plants for gyokuro are covered to avoid direct sunshine for about twenty days after new shoots of leaves sprout. Young tea leaves naturally have a lot of umami (or Theanine, amino acids). Theanine change into bitterness (catechin) by the sunlight. Therefore, the covering makes tea leaves that a lot of umami remains in.

The picture is Uji-gyokuro from kyoto (50g 1050yen) that I bought at a Big tea store, Mikuniya-zengoro. Gyokuro look like Sencha tea leaves, don’t they?

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