An illustrated chapter of Obscura Magazine "Things in Themselves" issue. The story of gyokuro brewing were told with drawings and words. / illustration by Furze Chan / words by Phaedrus Lam & Furze Chan / translation by Iris Heung
Gyokuro is the first flush of hand-picked young tea shoots, most suitable for slow appreciation.
You wake up in the morning full of energy, feeling that it is just the right time to brew a pot of gyujuro, to deliver a dose of delight to the mind.
Scoop up a big spoon of tea leaves, and just pour in a tiny amount of water.
When boiling water is ready, hold off brewing the tea right away. First pour the water to a different container, and repeat the process four to five times to cool it down.
Make sure that all the tea leaves lie down quietly at the bottom of the teapot, as it they are little children well tucked in. You can then whisper to them, "I am going to pour in water now."
The temperature of the water is between 50C and 60C. After waiting quietly for two minutes, you will see that the tea leaves that were curled up sleeping are now as soft as green shoots.
While you are waiting, do not forget to move your nose up close to smell. The richness of the aroma gives you a hint about the taste.
The first brew has the riches tea flavors, and the fresh taste thins slightly in the second, and further in the third brew. Start with the richest and end with the lightest, and only that makes a full course.
At the end, stare at a pot plant idly while cleaning the teaware. Your mind at the moment is completely refreshed, just like the teaware being wiped clean.
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