Tea 101: Tea Varieties – Green Tea
The origins of green tea can be traced back more than 4,000 years to China, but its story is also predominantly rooted in Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
A varietal of the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea is considered to have some of the strongest healing properties of all teas, and contains powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols.
Unlike black tea, it is not oxidized. In fact, green tea leaves are steamed directly following their harvest to preserve flavor. The tea is put through a rigorous one-day process that includes three different stages:
• Pan frying or steaming blocks enzymes that would cause oxidation and fixes the unique color of the tea.
• Rolling the leaves reduces moisture.
• Firing preserves flavor and mitigates bitter qualities.
Types of Green Tea
There are literally hundreds of varieties of green tea, hailing from China and Japan, but also Korea, India, Sri Lanka, and beyond.
Green teas from China tend to be smooth and mellow, while their Japanese cousins boast rich, vegetal flavors as a result of the preservation of chlorophyll.
Matcha has become an increasingly popular green tea to brew. Shade-grown, it is processed as a finely ground powder and suspended in water or milk. Its popularity has spread to North American cafes and coffeehouses in green tea lattes, smoothies, and more.
Green Tea Around the World
Green tea is largely consumed in Asian countries, but has gained swift popularity in North America, as well as Europe and North Africa.
• It is believed Buddhist monks began using green tea in ceremonies and practices thousands of years ago, eventually taking the tradition to Japan, where tea ceremonies continue today.
• Green tea leaves were so valued within Chinese culture, they were used as currency for thousands of years.
The Best Way to Brew
Premium green teas can be purchased in loose-leaf or green tea bags. Green tea is also incredibly low in caffeine (approximately half of the caffeine content of black tea, and a quarter of what is found in coffee).
Steeping couldn’t be any easier.
All you need is a kettle, filtered water, and a teapot or mug to pour everything into.
• Fill your kettle with 6 oz. of fresh water.
• Measure out 2 grams of loose-leaf tea (if measuring by volume, begin with 1 teaspoon.)
• Place the leaves in your teapot or mug.
• Heat water until almost boiling (ideally 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit.)
• Pour directly over leaves.
• Steep loose-leaf teas for 2-4 minutes (1-3 minutes for green tea bags)
• Strain into another mug and enjoy!