Avid tea lovers are always looking for new herbs to try in the form of a delectable brew. In case you are one too, and haven’t drunk gyokuro, then maybe it’s about time to do so. We would encourage anybody to start sipping organic gyokuro tea on a daily basis, and even though we have a special sentiment for green teas and are perhaps kind of partial, we can still claim that the health benefits and antioxidant power of gyokuro are truly extraordinary.
What is Gyokuro tea and how is it harvested?
Gyokuro is some very high quality shaded green tea, which is also known as “jade dew”, a name originating from the pale green color of the plant. This premium green tea is traditionally cultivated in Japan, but nowadays it’s getting popular in many areas of the world. Unlike sencha (another type of green tea), gyokuro is generally made from particular varieties like Yamakai, Asahi, Saemidori, or Okumidori. Similarly to matcha, gyokuro is kept under shade for 3 weeks, instead of being exposed straight to the sunlight. The shade boosts the preservation of chlorophyll in the leaves, thus increasing the beneficial nutrients (like the amino acid L-Theanine) and the fine taste of the tea.
Nutrition facts and health benefits of gyokuro green tea
Like other green tea sorts, gyokuro is a host of potent antioxidant compounds like polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, and flavonoids, which help cleanse your body of environmental toxins and noxious free radicals that might harm your DNA or cellular membranes, which highly increases the chance of premature aging, and the potential development of dangerous diseases from heart failure to cancer.
Because of the superb antioxidant capacity of gyokuro, Asian healers have been using it for many years to treat many ailments, including digestive issues, diabetes, and heart problems. The modern medicine also acknowledges the potential of this precious herb, which only proves how undeniable its qualities are.
This high grade green tea is a cancer-preventative herb, due to its polyphenol constituent called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). The fact that EGCG shields cells from carcinogenic agents has been proven by a study conducted in the laboratories of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Thanks to the catechin in Japanese green tea, the herb lowers the level of bad LDL cholesterol in our blood, therefore it can also lower the risk of heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Not only that, but catechin also helps raise the good HDL cholesterol.
The fact that gyokuro is a generous source of catechin, makes it a great sterilizing, antibacterial, and antiviral means. That’s why it is so capable of preventing or relieving symptoms of flu, soar throat, nasal congestion and cough.
Just like in matcha, in gyokuro the L-Theanine levels are higher than in regular green tea. This essential amino acid stimulates a calm mind and strong focus by generating alpha waves in the brain. Studies have also shown that by increasing dopamine on a chemical level, theanine also improves memory. So even though the caffeine in green tea makes you stay energized and on your toes, the L-Theanine in it still relaxes your mind.
Gyokuro green tea promotes better energy utilization in the body, it reduces the overall fat index of the body and the digestive tract. So it’s only right to say that it accelerates fat metabolism.
The herbal tea fortifies dental and oral health. The strong bioflavonoids in green tea help to protect gums and teeth in proper condition, as they exterminate germs in the mouth and abet the prevention of bad breath.
The bone and teeth supporting properties of gyokuro are backed by the plant’s mineral content, as the green tea delivers calcium, potassium, and manganese.
Controlling allergies may be easier too, again thanks to the catechins in the premium green tea.
How to prepare gyokuro tea
Now let’s say a few words about brewing this luxury green tea.
Another thing you would also need is a particular container called yuzamashi. It’s generally where you have to pour the prepared brew, so it can cool down a bit. Of course, you’re not obliged to use yuzamashi, if you don’t have this utensil, you can use a simple mug for the purpose.
Keeping precise temperatures is also an essential moment when it comes to infusing gyokuro, especially if you want to have perfect results in terms of taste and nutrient preservation.
The ideal brewing temperature is between 122°F and 140°F (between 50°C and 60°C), which is lower than with the rest of the green tea types, plus the brewing duration should be a bit longer – from 2 to 3 minutes. If you brew gyokuro less than recommended, it’s possible that you don’t get to enjoy its sweetness, and if you stew it at higher temperatures, especially at 100°C or more, the tea could lose some of its nutrients, and will acquire a more bitter taste.
So, start by boiling some water in a kettle (boiling point is reached at 212°F/100°C). After that, pour it in the houhin. This will drop the temperature by 10 degrees (90°C.)
Next, transfer the water into small tea cups. That’s how you warm up the cups and lower the temperature by another 10 degrees until it reaches around 80°C.
Afterwards, you need to continue with the temperature decrease, by pouring the water from the cups to the yuzamashi (or a mug), then add 4g gyokuro (1 tsp) per cup into your houhin, and transfer the water from the yuzamashi to the houhin.
Note that the number of water transfusions is a total of 4, which results in dropping the temperature at around 40, 50, or 60 degrees Celsius. You don’t necessarily require an exact temperature, just somewhere around that.
Let it steep for 2-3 minutes, and pour in the tea cups again. The preparation procedure may not be as simple and quick as with a regular herbal tea, but trust us that the health benefits and the magnificent specific taste of gyokuro are totally worth it!