Hello, everyone.

Given the historical connection between green tea and zazen, I suspect that there are many green-tea drinkers and connoisseurs in this forum. If so, I would like to solicit your help.

I have been drinking Japanese green tea for years, and with the help of a thermometer and a timer I can now make a satisfying cup of Sencha tea or a tasty bowl of matcha, but when it comes to brewing the premium Japanese tea known as Gyokuro ("jeweled dew"), my efforts fall far short. This tea is rare, expensive, and famous for its bittersweet taste. I buy it fresh from Japan, and I follow the instructions precisely. But despite my best efforts, it ends up tasting rather ordinary. I realize that tea-brewing is highly subjective and a matter of trial-and-error, and that there may be no ultimate cup of Gyokuro tea. But knowing this has not been very helpful. So if anyone has secrets to share, I'd be grateful.

Beyond the brewing of Gyokuro, I'd be interested to know how the tea drinkers among us integrate the consumption of tea with the practice of zazen. Here at home, as in the zendo during sesshin, I drink green tea before my morning sitting. It has become an essential part of my practice. I'm wondering whether others have had similar experiences.