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Green Tea

Green Tea at Your Tap
Positioned as the most deserving successor of "Water", the Green Tea (Camellia Sinesis) is the second popular drink in the world. Gaining immense popularity in the present times, it has become the subject of interest not only for scientists but also the people who remain concerned about their health or just have an interest for the tea culture. Green tea has an astringent taste, especially if high-concentrated, which pleasantly reminds of grape stone. This original taste is accompanied by original and very delicate strong aroma, which reminds of fresh hay, wild strawberry leaves or citrus leaves. In this domain, the Japanese green tea carries the most rich aroma and distinctively luring taste. Having darker colour than the Chinese one, this variety is very popular across the world, especially in the USA (California and Hawaii).

Another variety, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Green Tea is produced through using various methods of manufacture. The initial manufacturing methods were developed in China, being later processed in India using Assamese clonal stock. This is reflected in the flavour of the Ceylon green tea, which is different from Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Brazilian green teas. The Ceylon Green Tea happens to be very light, with a sparkling bright yellow colour and more delicate, sweet flavour-- indeed a specialty type of rare green tea.
 

History of Green Tea
Several archaeological facts have been found in the favor that green tea has been consumed for almost 5000 years, with China and India being two of the first countries to cultivate it. Studies found that green tea was used as traditional medicine in areas such as India, China, Japan and Thailand to help everything from controlling bleeding, helping heal wounds to regulating body temperature, blood sugar and promoting digestion. The famous Zen priest Eisai's work- Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea) in 1191, also describes the positive effects of drinking green tea on the five vital organs, especially the heart.

Green tea was first introduced in Japan during the Nara period (710-794), when numerous Japanese Buddhist monks visited China and brought tea seeds back to Japan. The Japanese tea industry is said to have begun in 1191, when the monk Eisai planted tea seeds from China on temple land. The making and serving tea as an art form (sado, the way of tea) was introduced in Japan during the eleventh century. The origins go back to China's Tang dynasty (618-907), when a ritual was performed in Buddhist temples. A brick of tea was ground to a powder, mixed in a kettle with hot water, and ladled into ceramic bowls.

 

Green Tea Grades

The tea leaves for making green tea are grown in the warmer southern regions of Japan, with about half produced in Shizuoka Prefecture. Uji, a district near the ancient city of Kyoto (and the district from which the finest Japanese tea comes from to this day). The Japanese green tea grades can be encompassed as:

  • Bancha: This is made by roasting Aracha from the second or later tea leaf picking (Nibancha, Sanbancha, Yonbancha). Usually is brown with nice aroma.
  • Sencha: Being made from all picking of tea leaves, it carries a dark green colour, but after brewing becomes yellow-green with light astringent and sweet taste.
  • Kabuse-Cha: Cultivated on a special plantation and covered for some time for protecting from straight sun rays, it carries more delicate taste and aroma than Sencha.
  • Gyokuro: In this highest-grade Japanese green tea, the plantations are protected from straight sun rays for longer period.
  • Matcha: This rubbed tea is made by pounding in special stone vessels. Being used in famous Japanese Tea Ceremony, Matcha is also a popular flavor of ice cream and other sweets in Japan.
  • Genmaicha (Brown-rice tea): Bancha (sometimes Sencha) and roasted genmai (brown rice) blend. It is often mixed with a small amount of Matcha to make the colour better.
  • Kabusecha (Covered tea): Kabusecha is sencha tea, the leaves of which have grown in the shade prior to harvest, although not for as long as Gyokuro. It has a more delicate flavor than Sencha.
  • Hōjicha (Pan fried tea): A strong roasted green tea.
  • Kukicha (Stalk tea): A tea made from stalks produced by harvesting one bud and three leaves.
  • Tamaryokucha: A tea that has a tangy, berry-like taste, with a long almondy aftertaste and a deep aroma with tones of citrus, grass, and berries.
 
 
 
Okinawan Tea

  • Other Green Teas
    • Green Tea from Ceylon
    • Kahwah


  • Major Ingredients of Green Tea
  • Catechins
  • Caffeine
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Gamma-Amino Butyric
  • Acid (GABA)
  • Flavonoids
  • Polysaccharides
  • Fluoride
  • Vitamin E
  • Theanine (A Kind of Amino Acid)
 
Cultivation and Harvesting Process

The majority of tea production occurs in the subtropical areas of Asia, including China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Indonesia. A suitable cultivation climate for green tea is with a minimum annual rainfall of 45-50 in (114.3-127 cm). The desirable pH value of the acidic soil is 5.8-5.4 or less for good growth, at the elevation of up to 7,218.2 ft (2,200 m) above sea level. The time period required for the plucked shoot to redevelop a new shoot ready for plucking varies according to the plucking system and the climatic conditions (intervals of 70-90 days are common).
Drying Process
The plucking process is followed by drying the leaves to prevent fermentation, which stops any enzyme activity that causes oxidation. In China, green teas are often pan-fired in very large woks, over a flame or using an electric wok. In Japan, steaming is normally used. Before the steaming process begins, the tea leaves are sorted and cleaned. After mechanical steaming, the leaves go into a cooling machine that blows the water from the leaves.

Shaping & Final Drying Process
Rolling or shaping green tea leaves is done by machinery in most of the countries. In China, high-end leaves are hand-rolled into various shapes, including curly, twisted, pointed, round, and more. In Japan, a number of rolling and drying steps take place. The tea leaves are dried to improve their strength so they can be pressed during the next drying process. After rolling, the tea is spread on a caterpillar-type device and dried slowly to about 5% moisture content or less. At this stage the half-processed tea, called aracha, is shipped to tea merchants or wholesalers for final processing.

Benefits of Green Tea
Instead of simply being known as a popular Japanese beverage, green tea has become an important "new" medicine of the twenty-first century. In addition to preventing or curing the common diseases, research by renowned organizations indicates the antiviral capability of green tea in fighting AIDS. Laboratory tests have verified that catechin can inhibit the activity of the AIDS virus. Thus, green tea has higher values of medicinal properties than other teas, because of the special way in which it is dried. The other advantages of having your cup of green tea can be enlisted as:

  • An ingredient of green tea may help to protect the brain against the ravages of Alzheimer's disease.
  • The component - EGCG - is already strongly suspected of offering protection against certain cancers.
  • Green tea can help reduce the risks of esophageal (the tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach), skin and many other forms of Cancer, mainly by its highly significant antioxidant properties.
  • It can help to lower cholesterol and cuts the risk of stroke in men.
  • Green tea can help suppress and reverse aging, and refreshes the body with its high Vitamin B content that helps the human body better deal with stress, and release more energy.
  • This tea variety can help restrain the growth of various bacteria that cause disease.
  • It can help stop cavities because of its rich Fluoride content and can help prevent bad breath.
  • Green tea helps eliminate constipation.
 
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