Noted as one of the highest grade of Japanese green tea available, Hoshino Gyokuro, is a simple luxury. Gyokuro, also known as “jade dew” because of its pale jade-green color, is grown in Hoshino, a mountain village in Japan, in a careful and deliberate process. Noted by tea connoisseurs across the world, gyokuro is a tea to be sipped and savored. Its quality comes from how it's made.
Gyokuro tea leaves are shaded for 21 days. This 3-week span changes the chemical makeup in the leaves. Covering them halts the process of photosynthesis and instead, activates the leaves' energies to turn inward. Without direct sunlight, the leaves focus their attention on producing vitamins, minerals, amino acids, sugars and flavonols. Harvested only once a year, the leaves are picked by hand and immediately steamed, dried and carefully rolled to resemble small pine needles.
Noted for its ability to produce a Zen mind, gyokuro drinkers value this tea for its ability to increase alpha waves in the brain and bring you calm, alert focus. This effect comes from the naturally occurring amino acid, L Theanine, in the leaf.
Gyokuro is smooth and rich, also partially due to the L Theanine which is famous for its umami taste. It’s meant to be sipped slowly from small cups so that you can appreciate everything about the tea: the careful process of growing the tea, the attention to detail during harvest, the subtle green hue as the leaves steep and lastly, the rich savory jade dew in each sip.
The process of steeping gyokuro, a type of sencha, is done in a more gentle manner. As a rule, never steep gyokuro with hot water. Instead, keep your water temperature very warm, about 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. (50-60 degrees Celsius.) Slightly cooler water preserves the subtle notes of natural sweetness in gyokuro. Hot water, on the other hand, brings out harsh tannic notes in tea leaves and with gyokuro, can make it taste bitter. Note also that steeping times are very short...no more than 30-60 seconds. For this reason, gyokuro leaves will last for multiple infusions. You can re-steep and refresh your cup repeatedly, enjoying each subsequent sip as much as the first.
Gyokuro is not an “every day” tea in Japan. It’s considered a luxury, meant for special occasions with special friends...moments intended to be savored. Some teas are meant to quench thirst and can be consumed quickly. To do that with Hoshino Gyokuro is to miss out on the experience it offers. It is a precious and extraordinary tea that extends an invitation to mindfulness - to sip, notice and appreciate...a gift of health and wellness from Japan.