Many moons ago, a stubborn young tea-monk made a pot of Gyokuro for his master. The master tasted the tea and winced.
“What’s wrong?” Asked the young monk.
The Tea Master looked up and said, “Do you like Gyokuro?”
The young monk shook his. “No, Master. It’s too bitter.”
The Tea Master laughed and said, “Please, sit.”
The young monk sat down and watched as his master brewed them another pot of Gyokuro. Much to his amazement, his master did not use a measuring spoon – or a timer – or even a temperature gauge for the water!
A few moments later, the young monk tasted the most delicious tea he’d ever had and so looked to his master in confusion, “I do not understand. Gyokuro is a green tea, and I strictly followed all the rules for green tea.”
The Master laughed and poured his young apprentice another cup of the beautiful Jade Dew, “One does not bend Gyokuro to their will. One bends to the will of Gyokuro.”
There you have it! The perfect brewing instructions for Gyokuro: bend yourself to ITS WILL.
But what exactly is ‘the will of Gyokuro?’
At what temperature does IT wish to be steeped?
And for how long?
Perhaps the answer lies in how Gyokuro is produced, for during the last three weeks of its growth, the tea plants are blocked from sunlight, reducing photosynthesis and increasing chlorophyll. This shift in chemistry results in a sweet, umami tea that’s so very delicate it can easily be ruined by steeping methods that do not align with its gentle nature. Perhaps then, because the leaves learned how to thrive in shade, the tea itself desires a little ‘coolness.’ So at the risk of speaking for Gyokuro, I’d say Its Will is somewhere along these lines: Use spring water when possible and heat to 140-160°F. Use two teaspoons of tea for 8oz of water and steep 2-3 minutes (To be adventurous, make your first infusion with room temperature water and let it steep for 7 or 8 minutes!) Lastly, make time to sip and enjoy. Gyokuro contains high amounts of L-Theanine and so will produce a most lovely state of Tea-Mind.