Although green tea originated in, and was discovered in ancient China, green tea is now a massive part of Japanese tradition and culture, and has been for many centuries now. Japanese monks which were stationed in ancient China, are believed to have been responsible for introducing Japan to this delicious beverage, as whilst in China, they mastered the art of brewing the various green teas, they learnt all they could about it, and when it was time for them to head back home to Japan, with them they brought their knowledge of the tea, along with as many green tea leaves as they could carry (so the story goes). Once home, word of this magical elixir, which not only tasted great, but also made you feel healthy, energized, refreshed, and fantastic in the process spread throughout the country, making green tea more famous and more popular with each passing day. Now green tea is a huge part of Japanese traditions and customs, and they even hold green tea ceremonies, as well as green tea brewing competitions and contests in the process. One of the most popular forms of green tea consumed in Japan, is one known as Gyokuru (Jade Dew) green tea, and it is this tea we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at right now.
A little more about Gyokuru (Jade Dew) green tea
Gyokuru green tea is considered by many, to be the equivalent of a fine wine in the tea world in Japan, and for very good reason too. Also known as Jade Dew green tea, Gyokuru is grown very differently to other green teas. Whereas most other teas, and indeed most other plants and flowers too for that matter, need direct sunlight to grow, Gyokuru is grown differently. Rather than in direct sunlight, Gyokuru is grown in the shade, directly underneath straw mats. It remains under these mats for around 3 weeks just before being harvested. The reason it is grown in this way is to help enhance the levels of L-theanine found within the leaves. The lack of energy from the sun actually stresses the plant, which results in increased levels of L-theanine, and a more distinct and unique flavour in the process.
Because the leaves are so different to other green teas however, standard green tea brewing instructions go out of the window, as it has to be brewed very differently indeed. Here’s a look at how:
Brewing tips and instructions
The great thing about Jade Dew tea, is that it can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Use cooler water and add your tea – Add around one heaped tablespoon of tea leaves to a 12 ounce teapot, and barely cover the leaves with room temperature water.
Steep and decant – Leave to infuse for 7 minutes, then decant the liquid and enjoy.
Add water and steep – To begin with, use a hot water of around 160 degrees F (around 71 Celcius), in roughly 6 oz (around 180 ml) of water. As for steeping, you can go for as little as 30 seconds, or as much as 4 minutes, just let your palate be your guide. Add a little more water until you achieve the desired taste.
Decant and enjoy – Again, add as much or as little hot water as you like, infuse for as long as you desire, and when ready, decant the liquid into a cup, and enjoy.