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The next tea on our list is called “Gyokuro”. Gyokuro is a type of green tea that is very expensive. It translates as “jade dew”, because of its pale green color.  Gyokuro is different from teas like sencha in the fact that it is grown in the shade, and not in direct sunlight. It is grown in the shade for about three weeks. This tea has a reputation for being extremely high quality. The reason being its cultivation and processing methods. It has sweet, umami flavor and a great fragrance.

 

Cultivation

 Gyokuro is only harvested once a year, and is not found on every tea plantation. Areas, that are big producers of Gyokuro are Yame in Fukuoka, Uiji in Kyoto, and Asahina in Shizuoka. The climate for growing gyokuro must be rainy, misty, and at a lower altitude than the areas for growing sencha. A few weeks before the tea leaves are picked, the bushes are covered with black sheets or bamboo and straw mats, which blocks about 90% of the sunlight from getting through to the leaves. By covering the tea leaves, it slows down the photosynthesis of the leaves, which also increases the chlorophyll in the plant. This makes the leaves a very dark green color and the tannin amount is lowered, which makes the tea sweeter and less astringent.

 

The youngest tea leaves are cultivated once a year, in the spring. The leaves are steamed right away after picking, so as to preserve flavor. Once the tea leaves cool a bit, they are then rolled into needle-like shapes. The final step is that the leaves are aged for a few months before they are packaged and sent out for sale.

 

How to Brew

 Gyokuro is brewed at a lower temperature than sencha. This allows for the flavors to really come out. Because it is brewed at a lower temperature, this means that it can become cold faster. To prevent this, it is recommended to pre-heat your pot and tea cup. This tea is also delicious to use with rice. After steeping it a few times and making a few cups of tea, the flavor will become perfect to be mixed with rice and a dash of soy sauce. Just mix the leaves into a bowl of steamed rice, and add your soy sauce to enjoy a nice dish. Adding sesame seeds to the top also creates a nice touch. 

 

Benefits

 There are lots of antioxidants packed in each cup of gyokuro. This is great for you overall health and will leave you feeling good. One of these antioxidants speeds up your metabolism, which helps you burn calories and fat faster. Also, green tea contains caffeine and theanine, which both help with staying awake and focused. Gyokuro has a higher caffeine amount than other green teas because it is not in the sun for as long of a time. All of the minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins found in gyokuro also help your heart stay healthy by lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar. Gyokuro is not only delicious, but is good for your body. What more could you want!

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