Green Tea

GREEN TEA GUIDE

Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival

All teas start out the same way, and what makes them different is how they are processed after harvest. Green tea is sometimes referred to as an un-oxidized or ‘non-fermented’ tea. Oxidation is the natural chemical process that occurs after vegetable matter is picked. The leaves begin to oxidize immediately after harvesting and to stop the oxidation process, green tea leaves are steamed or baked. Steaming is usually used for Japanese green tea, while baking or pan heating is often used for Chinese green tea.

By stopping the oxidation process, the tea retains it’s green color. Green tea needs a little extra care when preparing - the main thing to keep in mind is NOT to use boiling water. Most green tea prefers water temperatures between 160-180 degrees. They also tend to steep for no more than 3 minutes. If your green tea ever tasted very bitter—it was most more likely due to a combination of over steeping and/or water that was too hot.

Green teas do indeed taste more ’raw’ versus black tea, with some grassy and vegetal undertones. This varies greatly depending on the type of green tea. Gyokuro has a much more pronounced sweet and grassy flavor versus the lighter, more astringent White Eagle Long Life. There are also many wonderful flavored green teas, most of which are fantastic iced and a good way to get your daily fluid intake.

Health Benefits

While there is no such thing as a miracle drink, green tea combined with a good diet and exercise can contribute to a healthier life.  The amount of studies done on the health benefits of tea, especially green tea in particular are vast. While not all are conclusive, the majority of studies do show a POSITIVE correlation between green tea and better health.

The health benefits of green tea are due to its high levels of flavonoids, polyphenols and catechins. These are nutritional compounds that are classified as anti-oxidants. They work by binding harmful oxygen-containing molecules in your body called free radicals and peroxides that otherwise could damage your DNA, cell membranes, and other cell components.

This is why green tea has attracted wide interest in it’s ability to control inflammation, improve immune function and prevent cancer. For example  a new study from the Linus Pauling Institure show that compounds in green tea have a powerful ability to increase the number of ‘regulatory T cells’ that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease.

Other studies have shown that green tea can help fight glaucoma and other eye diseases, inhibits bacteria formation and prevents tooth decay. One key benefit of green tea is unlike drugs, tea doesn’t have the problems of toxicity.

Green tea has also been linked with weight  loss.  A study highlighted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  showed that the catechins in green tea triggered specific areas of the brain for weight loss. Specifically, it moved to the thermogenesis area of the brain. This particular area is one that communicates with the metabolism, telling it to produce more energy for the body. This particular effect from the study was then compared to just pure caffeine. It was shown that green tea is more effective than any type of caffeinated drink in helping the body to produce more energy.

Brewing Methods

Hot tea brewing method: Heat water to 180°F. Place 1 heaping teaspoon per 6 ounce cup and let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes. Resteep until the tea flavor is exhausted.

Iced tea brewing method: Heat water to 180°F. Place 1 heaping teaspoon per 6 ounce cup and let the tea steep for 3 minutes. Remove tea leaves and add ice. Gojiberry Blueberry Pomegranate, Honeydew Melon Lemon, and Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival make excellent iced teas.

History

Tea consumption has its legendary origins in China of more than 4,000 years ago. Green tea has been used as both a beverage and a method of traditional medicine in most of Asia, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and Thailand, to help everything from controlling bleeding and helping heal wounds to regulating body temperature, blood sugar and promoting digestion. A book written in the Tang dynasty in china is considered one of the most important in the history of green tea. The book was written by Lu Yu and is called the "Tea Classic" or "Cha Jing". It was written between 600 and 900 AD and spoke about exactly how and where one should enjoy a fine cup of green tea. The Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written by Zen priest Eisai in 1191, describes how drinking green tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs, especially the heart. The book discusses tea's medicinal qualities, which include easing the effects of alcohol, acting as a stimulant, curing blotchiness, quenching thirst, eliminating indigestion, curing beriberi disease, preventing fatigue, and improving urinary and brain function. Part One also explains the shapes of tea plants, tea flowers, and tea leaves, and covers how to grow tea plants and process tea leaves. In Part Two, the book discusses the specific dosage and method required for individual physical ailments.

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