Gyokuro Tea

Art-icle by painter Jan Karpíšek

Fairly said I'm no tea master but rather a tea enthusiast or 'a chai lover'. It is said that this tea also known as 玉露 or Jewel Dew is the highest grade of Japanese green teas. I think it means both quality and grade of caffeine content. I have also tried some weaker sorts like Kukicha (茎茶) which includes many twigs, stalks and stems or Tamaryokucha while it drinking I firstly tasted the specific cast which I can roughly describe as 'spinach'. But Gyokuro is really Something! I have never seen so GREEN tea leafs. Its aroma and flavour are just superb. Don't hesitate to make at least three fantastic infusions of Gyokuro with water approximately 60°C hot (someone says 50-60°C). To obtain water of this temperature put it aside for 12+ minutes after boiling or mix boiling water with a cup of cold water. Never use boiling water directly. Infuse for half a minute (someone says 30-60 seconds). By the time and experience you will certainely develop your own ritual. For example I use a spoon and a strainer to press out all tea of the green mass. I very recommend you my favourite seller Czech tea masters from Dobrá (Good) Tea. They travelled all around the globe to find personally the best plantations and producers. They have their own style and sell (also online) at a very reasonable prices. See their websites. Have you heard about health benefits of regular tea drinking? There are many (cancer prevention, prevention of circulatory system illnesses, anti-bacteria effect etc. etc.) Tea stimulates mind and body. There is a legend about meditating Bodhidharma (Daruma) who was angry of his sleepiness so to keep from sleeping he cut off his eyelids and threw them to the ground. China's first tea plants grew from them. I have also painted this enigmatic Indian monk and the first Zen patriarch in 2001. Below are some pictures made by me on the 18th October 2006 (the last file is a 3gp video).
Gyokuro Tea - the first infusion   Gyokuro Tea - the first infusion   Gyokuro Tea   Gyokuro Tea   Gyokuro Tea   Gyokuro Tea   Tea Pot with the Gyokuro Tea   Tea Pot with the Gyokuro Tea   Gyokuro Tea - pressed out tea mass   Gyokuro Tea - pressed out tea mass   Gyokuro Tea - pressed out tea mass   Gyokuro Tea - second infusion   Gyokuro Tea - second infusion   Gyokuro Tea - package by Dobrá Tea   Free 3gp video: Gyokuro tea, first infusion, 18.10.2006 - 244KB
I don't know why and how did it happen but I very tend to the Japanese culture. I love Zen buddhism, aikido, bonsai trees, their gardens even many phenomenons related to Japanese lifestyle I can only hardly accept. Like could be collectivism, technicism, frosted emotions? etc. I have a strong connection to tea however. Somewhere I read that taste of chai is a taste of Zen. As a wild student I've experienced the taste of traditional tea in Czech soul asylums. What to say about it? I've created a painting about my experience those days. Everything including world, Sun, Moon, me and you is in the Boat of Chau floating in the ocean of tea. This fact is always absolutely present and can never change.

Little update (9.Jan 2007)
I visited with my friends the Good Tea Room in Brno few days ago and I recommended Chloe (a friend from Hong Kong) to try the Gyokuro. Their way of its preparation surprised me. Especially that we were in my favourite chai room. Chloe received a flask with hot water, usual cup for drinking and a white porcelain cup with cover (infusor). The master told us that after 10-15 seconds lasting infusion we should be able to make up to ten cups! And it worked well!
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Painter Jan Karpíšek

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