For a long time, green tea has been a well-known and most consumed beverage in Asian countries. If you ever had a chance to visit one of these countries like China, you surely will be hosted by a cup of this delicious hot drink whether at home, any restaurant, or office. Green tea is their culture and they are keeping it alive by implementing it in everyday life.
They believe that when they take this drink, they become healthier. No doubt Chinese & Japanese people who consume this drink the most, are hardworking nations and they do have more life expectancy.
On the other hand, the Western world in ancient times didn’t even know what is green tea? Until they came to realize its benefits in recent years and the hype is now been created. Green tea is now been presented and marketed as a weight loss remedy and healthy beverage to consume for certain conditions.
Although coffee and tea are still predominant, after different researches came out in favor of green tea, it acquired ubiquity in these countries too.
Most people are getting familiar with its unique taste and numerous health & medical advantages.
In this article, we will discuss all, what is green tea and where it came from? Behold the reveal and history of one of the most healthful drinks begin.
What Is Green Tea All About?
Green tea is one of the types of tea which comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis. The leaves used for processing are fresh. They do not go through the dramatic process of oxidation and withering. This is what makes green tea different from others like black tea and oolong tea.
There is a variety of green tea available around the world. It originally comes from China and has now been harvested in different countries of East and Southeast Asia. Japan is also a big consumer and producer of green tea.
Thus, one type of green is Chinese green tea, which is widely known and exported all around the world. The other type is Japanese Green tea, which is not quite famous but getting recognition day by day. The main cause of green tea’s popularity is the possible health benefits it provides to the body.
Origin & Invention of Green Tea:
The most popular legend goes way back to the reign of Emperor Shennong of China. Historical resources tell us that inventing green was a mistake when a fresh tea was served to the emperor which was steeped into the boiling water. Therefore, that’s how it was invented as a beverage in 2737 BC.
Few sources credit Chinese Monks in 500 BC to be the discoverer of tea. These Buddhist traveled and spread their culture and ways of brewing tea in Chinese regions. The monks used this beverage as meditation, healing, and refreshing of mind and body.
However, It came into limelight much later in Japan. In the 1190’s Zen Priest who studied in China at temples and Buddhist monasteries, returned and brought green tea along with them to Japan. This young priest called Eisai introduced the customs of green tea as a meditational ritual across Japan. Therefore, today China and Japan are the top two green tea drinking and producing nations in the world.
What is Green Tea Making Process?
DID YOU KNOW? There are around 1500 styles of green tea made around the world.
Yes, that’s a lot and that’s because of the processing, and growth of these leaves some on lands, some on farms, and others in the mountainous regions. These leaves comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis.
No matter where it grows all types go through the same procedure of:
The two growing conditions of growing green teas are sunny and under shade.
Shade Grown Teas
The Japanese are the masters of shade-grown teas that are usually grown in mountains. These teas have higher amounts of amino acids called L-Theanine. This element is famous for providing calmness effects to the body. Therefore, Sencha is a known Japanese tea. It is famous for its properties due to specially grown in the shady region.
It is a difficult task to pluck the leaves. The areas makes it difficult. Thus, these leaves are picked by experts.
Sunny Area Teas
It is the basic way to grow tea leaves around the world. Most common in India, Nepal, and China, the growth is in sunny and semi-shaded places. This is Chinese Tea and has a bitter taste due to the conditions it grows in. The sun makes these leaves dry and they are a little curly when picked. These sunny areas are mostly available on farms and plain land.
The flavors of our favorite tea vary from region to region. Some give grassy flavor; others have a bitter-sweet taste. Japan have more chocolate and peach flavors and taste.
The harvesting is the most difficult part and needs careful attention. The preferred climate for cultivation is a minimum annual rainfall of 45-50(114.3-127 cm). The pH value should be less than 5.8.
The new shoots develop after 70-90 days. The leaves reproduce from the seeds of already grown trees.
These shoots need to be handled by expert hand pickers only. If not done properly the fresh and young leaves that are fragile may get bruised and reshaped. For this purpose, soft bamboo baskets are used to transfer green tea for processing.
After harvesting it is important to note that all processing of green tea has to be done within a day. Therefore, the tea leaves are steamed and dried right after plucking is done. This process prevents oxidation and fresh flavor is stored.
The rolling and shaping are key factors in the quality of your drink. In China, some high-end brands roll their leaves by hand into various shapes like twisted, pointed, round, etc. This process is essential and determines the flavor of brewed concoction.
In Japan, most of the processing is by machines. Although, this may take up to 48 hours.
Green Tea: What’s Inside?
Green tea contains a lot of beneficial compounds and nutrients. Individually the ingredients might not be as effective, together they make green tea a powerhouse of vital ingredients. Let us break it down for you. The analysis of dry fresh leaves is as follows.
Young Green Tea Leaves % Dry Weight
[table id=46 /]
Japanese Sencha has the following quantities:
Dried Japanese Sencha (100g)
[table id=47 /]
What Does Green Tea Look Like?
Green tea may not always be green. A brewed cup may be green, pale yellowish, or light brown. When brewed correctly most green teas are light in color and astringent in taste. However, the taste also depends upon quality and steeping. It can be grassy to toasty, sweet, and a little bitter as well.
What Is the Color of Green Tea?
If you are drinking it for the first time, you would expect it to be green in color. However, after brewing it can turn out to be yellow or transparent in color, or darker shades like brownish yellow, etc.
Chinese brew usually turns out to be brownish and yellow shades. On the other hand, Japanese brew is always green.
Why Does My Brew Have Red Parts?
The red color is not common in the brew. It may become red due to the processing process. It turns red because of heat and oxidation. Some leaves may have red parts, it may be low quality or production errors.
Green is a part of culture in China and Japan. These people are utilizing it for medical purposes since thousands of year. It comes from the same plant called Camellia sinensis as other teas like black and oolong tea, etc.
Thus, the production is a tricky process of plucking, steaming, and drying. But it preserves the flavor and makes our favorite brew a unique blend.