Green Tea is a drink made by soaking processed leaves of Camellia Sinensis (aka tea plant) in hot water. It’s been suggested that Green Tea is among the most popular drinks in the world, second only to water.
People drink Green Tea for pure enjoyment, to maintain alertness (it’s caffeinated), and in many cases, to reap health benefits that Green Tea is suggested to have.
The Green Tea we know today has been enjoyed in China for more than 4,000 years, both as beverage and as a traditional medicine. Over time it’s popularity spread to Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand where it became very popular.
Today, Green Tea is very popular in Western countries where Black Tea has long been the tea of choice. This increase in popularity is believed by some to be related to numerous studies that supporting Green Tea benefits to health.
Green Tea is made from the same tea plant as Black Tea and White Tea, but is processed differently. Most Green Teas today are processed by machine, though higher quality brands still involve plenty of manual labor.
First, flushes (terminal bud and two young leaves) are harvested manually (for better quality) or mechanically (if flushes are fairly abundant) on the tea plants. The flushes are then wilted and bruised (crushed, kneaded or thorn into pieces) to release enzymes necessary to process the tea. Then the tea is fermented, but halted just before the leaves lose their green color. Halting is done by heating the leaves.
The resulting product is rolled or formed into desired shapes, then dried again, to make loose-leaf Green Tea . This method of processing retains many polyphenols and antioxidants in Green Tea.
Once the Green Tea is ready, it can be further processed by packing it into tea bags or mixing with other varieties (something we do every day here at Naked Teas Galore).
The quality of Green Tea goes right back to the conditions where the plants are raised. Teas from some mountainous areas of China are exceptional in quality because they grow more slowly and have more time to acquire more distinctive flavours. Presence of stalks or large discernible leaves is a mark of lower-quality Green Tea.
One simple way to evaluate the quality of your Green Tea is the smell of the leaves. Good Green Tea must be fragrant, reminiscent of air in a forest and must not smell musty or moldy.
The basic recipe for Green Tea is one teaspoon per 5 ounce cup. For steeping, water temperature range from 61 C to 87 C and steeping times from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Tea leaves can be steeped multiple times until the flavour fades.
For the most enjoyment, you should use teaware that retains heat, like a porcelain cup. Its ideal to warm up your cup beforehand to avoid having the heat dissipate too quickly, causing the tea to cool.
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