What is Green Tea?
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 and in many cases, to reap 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.
How Green Tea is Made?
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.
Green tea is a type of tea that is made from leaves and buds harvested manually, for better quality and flavor or mechanically, for lower grades/flushes. The flushes are then wilted and bruised and crushed 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.
Judging Quality: The Best Green Tea
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 in higher altitudes, other factors such as the climate and soil can also affect the flavor. 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.
Preparing Green Tea
The basic recipe for Green Tea is one teaspoon (2g) per 6 ounce cup. For steeping, water temperature range from 70C°(158F°) - 80C°(176F°) and steeping times from 1- 3 minutes. Tea leaves can be steeped multiple times until the flavor 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.
Yixing Clay Tea Pots work great as well, it is important to use one tea pot for one tea, if not you will ruin the flavor profile changing each time.