All About Green Tea
Green tea is a caffeinated tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea, also known as unoxidized tea, is made solely from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are plucked, slightly withered, and then immediately cooked to preserve the green quality and prevent oxidization. As a result of these methods, green teas have a much higher concentration of chlorophyll, polyphenols, and antioxidants than other tea types.
Although written records trace the cultivation of green tea as far back as the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD), when its primary use was medicinal, it wasn’t until China’s early Tang Dynasty (600-900 AD) that we hear of green tea being consumed for pleasure. During this time, green tea was only distributed in compressed cakes for easy transport.
During the Tang Dynasty, there was a groundbreaking book written about the art of green tea drinking called the “The Classic of Tea” or “Cha Jing” by Lu Yu. It was one of the first all-inclusive explorations of green tea culture as a whole and is now considered one of the most important books of its time. The formal tea ceremony came into being during this time period; a ritual, in part due to the tools necessary for preparation, accessible only to the wealthy elite. Because of this, green tea consumption became a symbol of status in society. Today, green tea is consumed around the world with China, Japan, and other East Asian countries being the largest producers.
Types of Green Tea
Also known as Dragonwell, Longjing is a high-quality variety of green tea grown in Zhejiang province, China. The leaves are picked before they are fully opened then pan-fired in a wok to stop the oxidation process, bringing out their distinctive flavor and aroma.
A high-quality Japanese green tea known for its delicate flavor, sweet aroma, and vibrant green color. As one of the finest and most expensive types of green tea in Japan, it’s typically brewed at a lower temperature to preserve its flavor.
The most popular and commonly used Japanese green tea is made from leaves grown in full sunlight and steamed immediately after being harvested. It’s mild and refreshing taste can be enjoyed hot or cold and is often the base for flavored green teas and blends.
Commonly known as twig tea or bōcha, Kukicha is a type of Japanese green tea made from the twigs, stems, and stalks of the Camellia plant as opposed to the leaves. Since it’s less caffeinated, Kukicha is popular with those watching their caffeine intake.
Made from shade-grown tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder, Matcha is a traditional Japanese tea used for centuries of tea ceremonies and for enjoyment all over the world. It has a rich, vegetal, and slightly sweet flavor and is known for its vibrant green color and high concentration of antioxidants.
What are the health benefits of green tea?
Green tea is believed to have several health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, improving brain function, aiding in weight loss, and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.
What is the best time of day to enjoy green tea?
You can enjoy green tea any time of day but many people prefer to drink it in the mornings or early afternoon due to its caffeine content. Drinking green tea late may interfere with sleep and cause insomnia.
Is it true that green tea contains antioxidants?
Yes, green tea is known to contain antioxidants called catechins, which may help protect the body from damage by free radicals.
Can I add milk to green tea?
You can add milk to green tea but it may alter the taste and health benefits significantly. Green tea is traditionally enjoyed without milk or sugar.