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March 29, 2020 3 Comments

Chinese Green Tea And Its Miraculous Health Benefits

In a world where there are lots of unhealthy beverages and many ways to shorten one’s lifespan, there is a drink that can do just the opposite, and most people barely take notice of it.  

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world after water and definitely the most healthy natural drink found on this planet. 

But there is one tea that has more health benefits than most. That tea is called green tea.

Miracle Drink Green Tea

Although many have heard of it, this powerful enhancer is rarely consumed in the United States. 

By taking the time to educate yourself about green tea, you will be able to seek out and appreciate the very best, and I guarantee you will be rewarded with mounting enjoyment.

Green Tea Miraculous Drink

*Please keep in mind that the information in this post describes artisan, high-quality, authentically made whole leaf (not teabag) green teas.

Content Table

  • What Is Tea
  • Green Tea Chinese Miracle Drink
  • Green Tea Health Benefits
  • Green Tea Manufacturing Process
  • How To Make A Perfect Cup Of Chinese Green Tea
  • Caffeine in Green Tea
  • Conclusion

First Things First - What is Tea?

Tea is a beverage made by processing the leaves or buds of the tea bush Camellia sinensis. 

Tea Leaves

Camellia sinensis s a sturdy evergreen bush that features dark green, glossy, serrated leaves. 

Camellia Sinensis Tea Bush

Depending on how the leaves and buds are processed, you can make green tea , black tea , white tea , oolong tea , and pu-erh tea all from the same plant (also yellow tea , but that's almost unheard of outside of China).

So if all teas are harvested from the same plan, what accounts for the great differences between the seemingly endless varieties of tea? 

Difference Between Green Tea And Black Tea

The most clearly visible answer is in the method of manufacture the leaf is given. 

In other words, the process of turning a fresh tea leaf into green tea differs from that used to make a black tea, because theoretically any fresh leaf can be made into any style of tea.

Six Major Tea Types

Six Chinese Tea Types

Outside of China, tea is usually crudely divided into just two general catchall types: green tea and black tea. 

The Chinese method for classifying tea is much more precise and informative than the blunt Western distinction between green and black teas. This sophisticated system divides tea into six general categories based by the degree of oxidation:

  • Green tea - Unoxidized
  • White tea - Unoxidized 
  • Yellow tea - Slightly oxidized
  • Oolong tea - Semi oxidized
  • Red tea (Black tea in the western world) - Fully oxidized
  • Black tea (Pu-erh) - Fully oxidized / Fermented

Tea types by oxidation level

The first thing an informed Chinese drinker does when presented with an unfamiliar tea is to assign it to one of these six classes. 

Once you start thinking about tea this way, then instead of being perplexed by thousands of unfamiliar names you will be dealing with just six general kinds of tea. 

Understanding the common characteristics of each type reveals the underlying order beneath the surface chaos.

As you begin to explore this sublime drink, you enter a profoundly cultured world filled with intense sensory pleasures and enlivened by the wisdom of an ancient civilization.

Chinese Tea Fascinating Link Between Human And Nature

Tea harvesting in China

When it comes to Chinese tea, knowledge is power. For centuries, tea-drinkers in the West have been punished for their ignorance. 

Because few people outside China know the difference between Longjing and puer, the Chinese usually keep the best tea for themselves and pawn off second-rate dross on undiscerning foreign markets.

Drinking Green Tea in China

In a world where so many food products have been homogenized into bland sterility, tea offers the endless stimulation of infinite variety, constantly teasing drinkers with the possibility of serendipitously discovering fascinating new tastes and aromas. 

Chinese Tea Varieties

Chinese tea is still mostly a small-scale village handicraft, picked leaf by leaf and heated in small batches over a charcoal fire. 

During the tea harvest, the mountainsides are covered with farmers carefully selecting and pinching off tea leaves, which they place into large baskets strapped onto their backs.

Chinese Women Plucking Green Tea Leaves

While back home the whole family vigilantly tends piles of oxidizing leaves and periodically heats them with charcoal in fiery woks and smoky brick ovens.

Few foods are so labor-intensive. Chinese artisans still make tea by hand, the way all food used to be made. At a time when Americans and Europeans are struggling to preserve pre-industrial food-making traditions, the art of handmade tea is alive and well.

Artisanal Green Tea Making Process

Chinese tea displays the fascinating idiosyncrasies found in any handcrafted product. In each cup of tea, you can taste a farmer’s unique achievements, making it a profoundly humane beverage.

It is one of the world’s last remaining major artisanal food products, and we should all treasure it as a precious remnant of a simpler, more natural way of life.

Chinese Tea Artisan

Unfortunately, obtaining premium tea outside of China is not always easy. As long as foreign consumers remain unaware of the differences between green and oolong tea, cannot tell good from bad, and do not even know how to drink it properly, merchants have no incentive to offer them quality merchandise.

Green Tea - Chinese Miraculous Drink

Chinese Green Tea Long Jing

Despite the fact that green teas all come from one plant, their other qualities and characteristics differ because of the different locations where the tea plant is grown, the climate in the location where it grows, slight alterations on how it is cultivated, and a number of other factors.

China produces the world’s largest quantity of green tea and the greatest number of variations in leaf styles. China’s ability to turn a fresh leaf into an amazing array of fanciful twists, rolls, curls, and slender needles is unmatched by any other country. 

Chinese Artisanal Green Tea Varieties

Chinese green teas are famous for their finesse, elegance, clean fresh flavors, and artistically shaped leaves. The finest of which are processed by hand with nimble fingers and a series of repeating hand motions. 

Green Tea Health Benefits 

Green Tea Healthiest Natural Drink

Drinking green tea has been considered a health-promoting habit since ancient times. 

Modern medicinal research is providing a scientific basis for this belief. The evidence supporting the health benefits of tea drinking grows stronger with each new study that is published in the scientific literature. 

Green Tea Healthiest Beverage on the Planet

Tea plant Camellia sinensis has been cultivated for thousands of years and its leaves have been used for medicinal purposes. Tea is used as a popular beverage worldwide and its ingredients are now finding medicinal benefits. 

Encouraging data showing cancer-preventive effects of green tea from cell-culture, animal and human studies have emerged. 

Major Components of Green Tea that Gives It Super Powers 

Green tea contains polyphenols, a naturally-occurring plant compound. It accounts for thirty percent of the weight of dry green tea leaves. Polyphenols are also flavonoids that contain catechins, the most powerful of which is EGCG or epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which helps prevent and cure various illnesses and conditions. 

Another thing that makes green tea so beneficial for those who want to improve their health is theanine. This amino acid is rich in psychoactive properties and crosses the barrier between the blood and the brain. 

With the high theanine content of green tea, you can expect your levels of dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, and serotonin to increase. All of these can help in significantly reducing physical and mental stress while also relaxing your body and mind. 

Another thing that makes theanine useful is that it is capable of preventing the decline of your memory due to age. It has a positive impact on your brain, which allows you to boost your ability to solve even complex problems. It can also improve your concentration and your attention to details. 

Now that you know the major components of green tea that make it so healthy, it is time to delve deeper into its more specific benefits.

Green Tea Health Benefits

Green Tea Has a Good Supply of Antioxidants 

Green tea is considered one of the world's healthiest drinks and contains one of the highest amounts of antioxidants of any tea

The final drink is still rich in polyphenols, such as catechins and flavonoids, both of which work as effective and powerful antioxidants.

These antioxidants are good for your body because they reduce the development of free radicals, thereby protecting your cells from damage.

Green Tea Benefits For Weight Loss

Have you noticed that most fat burning supplements use green tea as one of their major ingredients? The main reason why green tea is found in most of these supplements is that it is capable of burning fat. 

Aside from fat burning, the drink can also boost a person’s metabolic rate. 

It can increase energy expenditure by up to 4% and increase fat oxidation by 17%, which clearly indicates how effective it is in increasing your body’s fat burning ability. 

Polyphenol, which is abundant in green tea, can also intensify fat oxidation levels, as well as the rate through which the body turns foods into calories. It can also enhance your physical performance due to the presence of caffeine. Caffeine can mobilize fatty acids found in fat tissues and make them available for your body to use as energy.

Green Tea Benefits On Skin

If you want to keep your skin healthy and young-looking, then making green tea a part of your daily beauty regimen can help you a lot.

Apparently, the properties in green tea can fight wrinkles and other premature signs of aging. This is possible through the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the tea.

According to studies conducted to both humans and animals, the topical application of green tea can protect the skin against sun damage.

The catechins in the tea can also improve the ability of your skin to resist the damaging effects of UV rays. This reduces skin redness right after exposing yourself to UV rays.

Promotes Better Heart Health

One of the main reasons why many consider green tea to be a powerful and miraculous drink is its ability to promote better heart health and function. It relaxes your arteries while also regulating blood flow. 

Several studies even suggested that regular or daily green tea consumption can prevent heart ailments. The fact that green tea contains EGCG makes it effective in preventing heart attacks, cerebral thrombus, stroke, atherosclerosis, and other ailments affecting the heart. This is mainly because EGCG is capable of relaxing your arteries while also improving blood flow. 

Promotes Better Bone Health 

The polyphenols present in green tea, along with alfacalcidol, a common form of Vitamin D, can help improve the strength and structure of your bones. 

This powerful combination works to reverse all forms of damage affecting your bones triger bones triggered by chronic inflammation induced by LPS or lipopolysaccharide. This can significantly reduce your risk of suffering from osteoporosis. 

The EGCC component of the drink also works to block the activities of two molecules, namely cyclooxygenase-2 and IL-6, both of which can contribute to bone damage and breakdown. 

Improves Vision 

According to researchers, the catechins found in green tea can offer protection to anyone who wishes to avoid eye diseases such as glaucoma. 

The main reason is that the compounds can reach eye tissues, thereby allowing some parts of the eyes to absorb them. The absorption takes place within 30 minutes to 12 hours of drinking the tea. 

Once absorbed, catechins will start working wonders when it comes to improving the health of your eyes. 

Lowers Cholesterol in the Body 

Easy access to greasy and unhealthy foods can increase your risk of suffering from heart-related complications such as high cholesterol.

If you want to reduce your cholesterol level, then consider replacing your greasy food and unhealthy drinks and snacks with green tea.

Note that EGCG is an antioxidant present in the drink that can inhibit your large intestine from absorbing cholesterol. Experts recommend drinking around five cups of the tea daily to enjoy the most reduction in cholesterol level. 

Prevents Depression 

Green tea can ward off depression because it contains theanine, an amino acid naturally present in tea leaves.

This substance can offer tranquilizing and relaxing effects to the body. If you constantly deal with stress and pressure due to your numerous responsibilities, then it pays to drink a cup or two of green tea a day.

It will help you relax, thereby preventing you from dealing with the adverse effects of too much stress.

Boosts Brain Function 

Aside from keeping you awake, green tea is also so powerful that it can help make you smarter.

It contains an active ingredient, caffeine, which is also a stimulant. While the caffeine content in green tea is lower in comparison to coffee, it is just enough to produce a positive effect on your brain and mental alertness. 

It is also rich in L-theanine, an amino acid which works effectively to boost your brain functions, especially when combined with caffeine. 

The good thing about this drink is that it does not only boost your brain function and mental acuity in the short-term. You can also expect it to protect your brain as you age. 

Its bioactive compounds are healthy enough that they can protect your neurons and reduce your risk of suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, two of the most common neurodegenerative ailments affecting the elderly. 

Green Tea Helps Prevent Cancer 

Although research about the connection between cancer prevention and green tea is still ongoing, and in its early stages, the results are already promising. Some researchers believe that the polyphenols found in the drink work in killing cancer cells and stopping their possible progression. 

According to a study conducted by the Iowa Women’s Health with 472 women who are suffering from breast cancer, those who consumed green tea regularly were able to reduce the progression of the disease. 

The researchers also discovered that women, who drink up to 5 cups of green tea daily, and are diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer, have lower chances of facing the recurrence of the disease once they have completed their treatment. 

Another Chinese study also proved that men who have at least three cups of green tea daily have a lower risk of suffering from prostate cancer. 

Green tea can also help prevent skin cancer because it has EGCC that can inhibit the development of urokinase, an enzyme needed by cancer cells to grow and develop. The substance also stimulates apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells. 

Green Tea Nutrition Facts

Green Tea Nutrition Facts

Green Tea Manufacturing Process

Chinese green tea is made by tea artisans, in so many unique ways, that it is almost folly to attempt to describe it. Please keep in mind that the information in this section describes artisan, high-quality, regional authentically made whole leaf (not teabag) green teas. 

Fresh leaves for Chinese green tea is usually plucked in the morning and then brought down the mountain in baskets or cloth or fiber pouches. 

Green Tea Manufacturing Process Women Plucking Tea

These containers promote air circulation and protect the fresh leaf from damage due to compression by weight. 

In this first phase of manufacture, the picking is generally done by women and young adults. The budset is being picked, so it is essential that the smallest hands with the most slender fingers be employed for this delicate task. 

Green Tea Spring Buds Pluck

During the peak of the season, everyone (of all ages) plucks, and those who have larger fingers must be more careful and inevitably pluck more slowly.

After a quick, gentle sorting to remove twigs and extraneous matter, this fresh leaf is left to air-dry for a short time. 

Fresh Tea Leaves Air Dry

When processing green tea, this process is known as primary drying and is a shorter version of withering. Primary drying helps prevent oxidation (the darkening of the leaf), whereas withering sets up the leaf for the rolling process that is so important to the manufacture of oolongs and black teas. 

When the leaf arrives at the “factory,” the men generally assume responsibility, hauling the leaf around, operating the machinery, and performing the firing. 

But just as there are always men plucking leaves in the garden, skilled women also participate in these factory processes. 

Once tea leaves are within the factory, two to five inches of fresh leaves are spread on mats on the floor to air-dry, which reduces the moisture content by several percentage points. 

Green Tea Drying on Mat

The desired change is from a moisture content of between 75 and 77 percent to one between 65 and 70 percent. After a period of time that may range from a few minutes to well over an hour (depending on the leaf, the time of day, and the ambient air temperature and humidity), the first four standard elements of tea processing are completed. 

It is now time to initiate the manufacture that will create a particular style of desired green tea.

The purpose of the first step in green tea manufacture is to prevent oxidation and to preserve its appealing green color. The drying process also keeps the soluble solids of the fresh leaf’s “juice” intact, inside the leaf structure, where they contribute to the flavor, possible astringency, and overall healthfulness of the tea being manufactured. 

The fresh leaf that develops into green tea should be dried quickly, thoroughly, and completely. This is a critical factor, as improper drying yields low-quality tea at best and in most cases creates absolute waste. 

Leaves that remain too wet will mold and be unusable. 

An integral component of all high-quality artisan green tea manufacture is the complex and precise handwork. This manipulation is part learned and part inherited. Without it, green tea can be tasty but not aesthetically beautiful. 

Chinese Tea Artisan Pan Firing Green Tea

In many styles, the handwork is integral to the firing, and in others, it is a corollary step; it contributes to the completeness of the manufacture, is fascinating to observe, and offers tea artisans an opportunity to master an art form and share it with a loyal audience. 

Quick or slow movements of short or long duration yield varying results, depending on the season and the pluck. 

Every tea bush varietal and the growing region has a tea style that its leaf tends toward; it is the artisan’s goal, the challenge, to perfect that appearance and subsequent flavor. 

When fresh tea leaf is dried properly in the manufacture of green tea, particularly using the complex Chinese handwork drying techniques of panning or basket-firing, the result is a beautifully prepared and interesting-to-look-at tea, ready to be brewed into one of the world’s most elegant beverages.

Sun-Dried Green Tea 

Starting with artisanal tea-processing methods, the most traditional and basic technique is sun-drying. 

Green Tea Sun-drying

This method is straightforward, simple, and effective: the tea is laid out on mats in breezy, partial sun or shade and is periodically tossed, flipped, or shaken to change the leaf’s orientation so that uniform drying occurs. 

Sun-drying is essentially controlled, lengthy, primary drying. It works best in those magical locations where the weather is particularly cooperative. The environments of the mountainous provinces of Anhui, Sichuan, or Yunnan in China.

Picking tea leaves from ancient wild-growing trees

Sun-dried tea is one of the bulkiest teas in volume (similar to white tea), in part because of the lack of pressing or other application of weight during manufacture. Sun-dried tea is traditionally made from mature leaves (frequently using leaf picked from ancient, wild-growing trees), which is larger than the young leaf of a pruned tea bush and which has an inherently lower moisture content that makes sun-drying more feasible.

Basket Fired Green Tea

Basket Fired Green Tea

Shaped like an hourglass, this basket is usually constructed in two parts. The upper portion that literally takes the heat deteriorates after only two or three days and is then replaced. Where bamboo is plentiful, the basket might be one piece, crafted so beautifully as to be a work of art. 

This technique is one of the most remarkable to observe. To accomplish basket-firing, a small amount of fresh tea leaf, no more than 2.2 pounds (1 kilo), is placed in an upright bamboo basket. 

After this step, the basket is placed back over the heat for another minute, before being taken off again. The leaf is fluffed and heated, fluffed and heated repeatedly for about fifteen to twenty minutes. 

Experienced tea masters stand, one on each side of the basket, and essentially dance their way through these movements, in perfect unison, without a misstep, mirror images of each other. It is a marvelous process to observe. 

When the leaf has shed the required amount of moisture, it is removed from the basket and piled onto a bamboo mat on the floor, where it rests and continues to air-dry until it is combined with other similarly processed leaves, ready for final firing and sorting. 

Green tea made using this technique tends to be full-flavored and singularly distinctive. A basket-fired green tea’s flavor components can range from grassy and assertive to mineral, to being ever-so-slightly charcoal-finished (an esteemed taste in the western provinces of China). 

Pan-Fired Green Tea

Pan-firing is one of the great methods of green tea manufacture. This method singularly accomplishes many of the tasks involved in the manufacture of green tea. 

Pan Firing Green Tea

In just one process it fixes the “juice” within the leaf, drives moisture out of the leaf, seals in the flavor, dries the leaf to the proper moisture content before finish-firing, and adds a special toastiness to the taste. 

One of China’s most well-known, highly regarded teas is the pan-fired Longjing (formerly spelled Lung Ching), also known as Dragon Well. Many tea experts would argue that Longjing, with its smooth appearance and flat sword shape, is the quintessential pan-fired green tea.

  Longjing Green Tea

Every province in China, and perhaps every green tea–producing region in the world, tries its hand at fabricating a pan-fired green tea in the style and tradition of Longjing. 

Nowhere else on earth, however, are tea producers able to replicate its flavor. This is because of the unique terroir of the coastal region of Zhejiang Province, where tea is grown.

Two versions common in China are the wood-fired double pan and the electric-fired single pan, which can be transported conveniently and set up outside of teashops in the more touristy parts of  Shanghai and Hangzhou. 

The primary dried leaf is “measured” into the pan with a bamboo scoop of the appropriate size for a sufficient amount of leaf, proportional to the size of the pan (approximately 2.2 pounds, or 1 kilo, of fresh leaves). This quantity is ultimately reduced by a factor of four or five. 

Even, gentle heat is necessary for the firing of green tea, so the small electric pan is perfect for the expert manipulation of small amounts of high-quality tea by a single person. 

The temperature is controlled by a thermostat or controls that are close at hand, built into the housing of the pan. 

When tea leaves are fired in a wood-fired pan, two pans are usually installed together in the same housing, and often one pair is partnered with another. Each pan must be worked by an individual tea artisan, and the wood fire must be tended by a third person.

An experienced fire-tender can easily supervise the fires required for two pans, but supervising the fires for four pans requires quite a bit of focus. 

If the pans get too hot, the leaf quickly burns into ash, but if they get too cool, the tea won’t fire properly. 

Watching the silent communication between the fire-tender and the pan-firer is hypnotic and peaceful. Like a good grill master or bread baker, much of the technique is instinctive and intuitive.

One of the little-known secrets of most pan-firing is that a tiny amount of solidified tea-seed oil is used to help the leaf glide around the pan and keep it from burning.

This solidified oil is the simple oil expelled from the seeds of tea bushes that are periodically left to grow, flower, and seed (while being rested from leaf production), or from the “mother” bushes used for hybridization and grafts. Artisan tea -firers keep a stick of this handy on the edge of the pan and use it to apply the thinnest possible "haze" of oil. By using solid tea-seed oil, no foreign flavor is introduced to the leaf. 

In addition to their signature flavor profile, pan-fired green teas are identifiable by their flat appearance. They are rarely “fluffy” in volume; rather, they tend to be compact, flattened by the repeated pressing they must receive in order to maintain contact with the firing pan and its directly applied heat. 

Pan Fired Dragon Well Green Tea

Pan-fired green teas tend to a soft, matte finish, with a color reminiscent of the petals of a baby artichoke. Budsets are commonly used for pan-firing, producing what is often referred to as “sparrow’s tongue” or “lark’s tongue” tea. However, “first leaf” tea is also processed as pan-fired green tea in which case the finished tea resembles folded, flattened envelopes (as with Longjing).

Tumble Dried Green Tea

This resourceful variation of firing places the leaf in a perforated metal drum quite similar to that found in an industrial clothes dryer. 

Tumble Dried Green Tea Process

Mounted horizontally on a central axis, the drum revolves such that the leaf tumbles inside the drum while being “agitated” by internally mounted fins. 

The heat from a source either below or behind the unit is fanned into the perforated drum and is then vented out the back or top. 

Incredibly efficient and ultimately remarkably reminiscent of basket-firing, this method can produce quite drinkable tea using a fraction of the energy and labor required for traditional firing of any type. 

Although the finished tea from this process lacks the subtlety of traditional basket-firing (and the nuance of flavor that charcoal-firing imparts), this reliable technique yields tea that is fluffed is evenly reliable and has a uniformity that might be lacking if traditional basket-firing is not done perfectly. 

Tumble-drying is the most common firing process used for the manufacture of moderate to high-quality tea.  

Oven-Dried Green Tea

This modern variation on basket-firing uses forced hot air to fire the leaf in a contained space. 

During firing, the leaf is either moved through a chamber on a vibrating conveyor belt (similar to the method employed to bake modern loaves of bread or cookies) or fired in pans that are inserted into an ovenlike cavity and tossed occasionally. 

This efficient process produces large quantities of uniform product, but leaf manufactured into tea in this manner lacks the subtlety and individuality of leaf processed by a more traditional method. 

This manufacture is used primarily in southern China to reduce the heat and energy needed to process tea (and during the warm-weather months, when heat generation is not desired in any tea factory). 

Steamed Green Tea 

Japanese Style Steamed Green Tea

This style of tea is used primarily in the production of authentic Japanese or Japanese-style green tea. 

Steamed green tea is typically leaf that has been mechanically harvested, most often by what is called shearing. 

Shearing Tea Leaves

Shears can be electric or gas-fired and can be handled by two people walking along garden rows, creating the beautifully manicured gardens one sees in photos of Japan. 

For this style of tea, the look of the leaf is not a critical element to the enjoyment of the brewed tea the way that the physical appearance of the dried and wet leaf is considered an integral component of Chinese green tea. 

To manufacture steamed green tea, the leaf is processed according to the method used for all green tea. 

To create the signature flavor of steamed green tea, however, an additional step is added during the early stages of processing, during which the primary leaf undergoes a brief period of steaming. 

This steaming period can vary from a half-minute, while the leaf is transported through a steaming chamber on a conveyor belt, to longer, during which the leaf remains in a chamber. 

This deep steaming produces tea such as Fukamushi Sencha and gives the tea more depth of flavor and a focused taste.

Steaming changes the nature of the chlorophyll in the leaf. Steamed-leaf tea presents a more vegetal, sometimes kelpy character, often likened to the flavor of spinach or other leafy greens. This flavor is described as simply being more “green.”

How to Make a Perfect Cup of Chinese Green Tea 

Making Perfect Cup of Green Tea

Tea brewing are studied but never mastered. Most tea drinkers brew the tea the way that their grandmother or familial community does, or by the method used for the first cup of tea that interested them. 

Because tea-drinking has such a long history, we are the lucky heirs to centuries of practical wisdom. Chinese experts have steadily refined tea preparation through centuries of trial and error, and generations of experienced drinkers have passed down their tea-making secrets. 

This chapter describes the key components for an incredible green tea drinking experience.

Step 1. Collect the Facts       

Tea appreciation begins well before tasting the first drop. If you know some basic facts about tea before you drink it, the experience will be more meaningful. 

The staff of a decent teashop should be able to explain quite a bit about their goods. If they cannot answer your questions, buy your tea somewhere else. At the very least, find out where tea is from, its basic characteristics, and the degree of oxidation.

Before brewing, observe the dry leaves carefully. Are they whole or chopped? 

Chinese Artisanal Green Tea Varieties

If the leaves are whole, pay attention to the shape, which can vary quite a bit. Tea leaves can be large or small and have either pointed or rounded ends. 

The shape of the leaf reveals which sort of tree it came from. Leaves are often crinkled or rolled into balls, affecting intensity and rhythm. Some teas are made from only young sprouts, others from old leaves, while most mix together sprouts and mature leaves in varying proportions.

Next, examine the color and texture of the leaves. Most importantly, the color of the leaves usually reveals the degree of oxidation. 

Generally speaking, the darker the leaf the more oxidation it has undergone. To the trained eye, the color and shape of the leaf also disclose many clues about processing. 

Jasmine Scented Green Tea

Roasting, baking, rolling, crushing, steaming, and sun-drying each leave behind telltale signs. Aging or improper storage can sometimes show up as white powder, yellow mildew, green mildew, spots of mold, or white spider-web patterns.      

Finally, take some time to appreciate the aroma of the dry leaves. This fragrance is quite different from the smell the leaves will exude after being soaked in hot water. It is useful to compare the aromas of dry and wet tea leaves because faint odors barely detectable in one can be much more prominent in the other. 

Step 2. Measure The Tea

Professional tea tasters and experienced tea drinkers alike carefully measure the appropriate amount of leaf tea to water. 

Tea tasters determined that 2 grams (1.5 teaspoons) of loose leaf green tea per 6 ounces (180 ml) of water yielded excellent flavor, considered to be the perfect cup of brewed tea.

*There for spring flush green teas are measured 2.5 or 3grams (2-3 teaspoons) per 6 fluid ounces.

Step 3. Prepare The Water

Green tea should be brewed using fresh and pure cold water. This may be your tap water but it will more likely be filtered water or bottled spring water. If you are purchasing bottled water, you should be certain that it is truly spring water, not just someone else’s tap water.

Water temperature for brewing all standard green teas - 170-180 F (77-82 C). 

Water temperature for brewing Japanese and spring flush green teas - 160-170 F (71-77 C).

Step 4. Choose the Right Vessel

In daily life, most Chinese make green tea with a large handled cup that resembles a tall mug with a cover. Although usually different shapes and forms, a covered mug is nevertheless extremely practical. This vessel is stable and easy to grasp, and the cover and thick walls keep the tea warm for a long time. 

Chinese Traditional Mug With Lid

Of course, since covered mugs are so large, the tea will not taste nearly as good as when it is brewed in a traditional brewing teacup. 

To make tea in a covered mug, first, rinse out the vessel with hot water to clean and warm it. Next, add some tea leaves. Pour in hot water and replace the lid to keep the tea hot while it brews.

Step 5. Examine The Leaves      

After drinking the final infusion, dump or scoop the leaves out of the pot. It is easiest to do this with special wooden tongs that resemble giant tweezers, although a finger will also get the job done.

Examine Brewed Tea Leaves

Before discarding the leaves, spread them out and examine them carefully to note their size, shape, color, degree of expansion, and texture. Observing used leaves reveals quite a bit about the tea and can also help you decide how many leaves to use next time.

Brewed Green Tea Leaves

Because used tea leaves are so expressive, connoisseurs often dump them into a special bowl next to the pot for everyone at the table to examine. 

Step 6. Clean Teaware

Wash off the pot, tools, and cups with nothing more than hot water. Never use soap to clean the teaware. Many of the implements used to brew tea are highly porous, and terracotta, wood, or bamboo will instantly soak up any noxious chemicals.

The flavor of green tea is so delicate that even minute amounts of detergent will contaminate subsequent batches.

Green Tea and Caffeine

Although it's a common myth that green tea is naturally caffeine-free, green tea does contain caffeine. 

Green tea usually contains around half the amount of caffeine as brewed coffee and less than other caffeinated beverages like black tea, soft drinks and energy drinks.

Here’s the caffeine content in 8 ounces (230 ml) of some popular drinks so you can compare the caffeine content:

  • Green tea: 30–50 mg
  • Instant coffee: 27–173 mg
  • Plain, brewed coffee: 102–200 mg
  • Espresso: 240–720 mg
  • Black tea: 50–75 mg
  • Yerba mate: 65–130 mg
  • Soft drinks: 23–37 mg
  • Energy drinks: 72–80 mg

As you can see, the caffeine content per 8 ounces is usually much higher for other caffeinated beverages.

Green tea vs Coffee Caffeine

Most people aren't aware that with tea, caffeine is absorbed into the body in a way that is different from drinking coffee. 

The reason for the difference is disputed, but coffee provides a quick jolt of caffeine energy and then a crash back to normal energy levels, while tea provides more of gradual rise and decline of alertness and energy. 

This leads some people to start their morning with a cup of coffee and then switch to tea for the rest of the day.

Interestingly, green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to work synergistically with caffeine. Thus, you get a milder but different kind of buzz than with coffee, despite the lower caffeine content of green tea

How to Avoid Caffeine in Green Tea

In large quantities, caffeine can be toxic, but in moderate quantities, it can have a beneficial effect. Some research has suggested that moderate amounts of caffeine may help to improve memory and may help detox the liver. 

Consuming too much can result in caffeine dependency accompanied by physical effects such as insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations and restlessness.

However, if you want to avoid caffeine in green tea, you can reduce caffeine in your green teas with these techniques:

  • Opt for decaf green tea. Remember that decaf green teas are NOT caffeine-free, but they are lower in caffeine than other green teas.
  • Don't try to 'decaffeinate at home'. Home tea decaffeination is a myth.
  • Brew green tea correctly. Many people use boiling water to brew green tea or brew green tea for more than three to four minutes. This increases the level of caffeine in your cup. Instead, use simmering water and brew for two to four minutes.
  • Drink whole-leaf green tea instead of green tea bags. Teabags have more caffeine than loose-leaf tea (usually).
  • Drink less tippy green teas. Tea buds or 'tips' are typically higher in caffeine than older, more mature leaves. For that reason, spring harvest teas are often (but not always) higher in caffeine than late-harvest teas.
  • Drink green teas that are not shade-grown. Matcha and Gyokuro are naturally very high in caffeine because they are shade-grown teas. (Shade-grown teas react to a lack of sunlight by increasing their levels of chlorophyll and some other chemical compounds, including caffeine.)
  • Avoid powdered green teas. Powdered green teas, such as Matcha, are consumed as a suspension instead of an infusion. That means you're drinking the leaf instead of an infusion of the leaf, and you're consuming every last bit of caffeine it has to offer.

Conclusion 

Green Tea certainly has great health benefits. It's not a miracle drug, of course, but it does make an enjoyable addition to your daily routine. 

If you often drink soda or sugary fruit juices, try leveraging the benefits of tea by occasionally replacing those less healthy drinks with an excellent cup of freshly brewed loose leaf tea.

Aside from having rich flavors and refreshing aroma, it is also good for the body.

Make the green tea a part of your daily regimen, and you will surely enjoy the numerous health benefits they can offer. 


3 Responses

robert
robert

October 23, 2020

how many cups a day should i drink for health benefits,,,thank you,

Irena
Irena

March 29, 2020

Tea – like friendship. It’s best when it’s real.

Emily
Emily

March 29, 2020

Very high quality green tea! Very nice packaging! I recommend it!

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