If you’ve already read the Vol1 and Vol2 of these story series, I think you are ready to go forward to these special tea.
Gyokuro and Kabusecha are usually more expensive than Sencha, Hojicha and Genmaicha because they are grown with special care.
Gyokuro tea fields are covered for about 20 days before harvest by straw or sheets made from synthetic fibres to hinder their exposure to sunlight. (Kabusecha fields are covered for about 10days before harvest.)
The effect of covering tea fields is to avoid the chemical reaction that lowers the amount of amino acid and increase the amount of catechin. Amino acid gives tea more umami and sweetness and catechin gives tea astringency and bitterness. Thanks to the shading effect, Gyokuro and Kabusecha have more umami and sweetness. Traditionally, we enjoy Gyokuro and Kabusecha in a tiny cup (everyone will be surprised to see how small the Gyokuro tea cup is! The size of the cup is for 40ml! ) and sip little by little, like Italian espresso style. L-theanine (Amino acid) helps you feel relaxed. If you feel the taste is too strong, don’t hesitate to use more water. Eventually, you’ll find your favourite depth of the taste.
For the Gyokuro and Kabusecha beginners, I highly recommend to brew them with cold water. Cold brewing is easy and never goes wrong. If you pour cold brewing Gyokuro or Kabusecha into a wine glass, that will be the perfect drink for parties and marry up with any food. And cold brewed tea has much less caffeine in it, so suitable drink with an evening meal. Here is the recipe for cold brewing Gyokuro or Kabusecha.
Recipe for 750ml of cold Gyokuro or Kabusecha
10g (2 table spoons) tea leaves
250ml x3=750ml of cold *soft water (put the water in fridge before use)
1. Put tea leaves into a big jar and pour the cold water into the jar and leave it for 15mins at room temperature.
2. Pour the brewed tea into an other jar, using a tea strainer. Try to pour the last drop of tea, which is important for the second brewing .
3. Pour the same amount of the cold water into the jar, which has used tea leaves in it and leave it for 7 mins at room temperature. And pour the tea into the other jar, using a tea strainer .
4. For the third brewing, repeat the same procedure, and leave it for 3mins. And pour the tea into the other jar, using a tea strainer.
That’s it. It’s easy but I’m sure that your friends and family will be really amazed to see the beautiful green coloured drink and to enjoy the mild delicious flavour.
Used Gyokuro and Kabusecha tea leaves have lots of nutritions and Japanese people likes to eat them with ponzu dressing. My favourite way of using the leaves is to marinade fish fillets with the leaves, a dash of cooking sake or mirin and soy sauce and steam them together. Tea leaves help to get rid of the fishy smell and make a refreshing meal.
Enjoy your tea and don’t waste the leaves!
*Water hardness affects the taste of Japanese tea. I recommend to use soft water which has less than 100mg CaCo3 per liter.