In recent years, green tea has been heralded as the “healthy tonic” by many. And they have become familiar with the signature grassy taste of Japanese Green tea, but did you know green tea started its life in China?
Tea originated from China and has been part of Chinese history for over 3000 years. It was originally used as a “cure-all” medicine but by the time of Tang Dynasty (7/8th century CE), tea was drunk widely in China and the teaware industry was in full bloom. It was around that time tea was introduced into Japan.
Green tea is made of unfermented tea leaves (camellia sinensis) and there are two main green tea producers and production methods in the world: China (pan-dried) and Japan (steam-dried). The steam drying method is a signature of Japanese Green Tea. It is the process that tea leaves becoming more emerald green in colour and the brew possesses a grassy taste. The pan-drying method, however, creates a “bolder” brew with a taste sometimes described as “roasty” or “nutty”. China is the main producer of pan-dried green tea. Many other countries, such as Kenya and India, are catching onto the green tea health bandwagon and are producing (pan-dried) green tea.
Tea drinking and tea making has always been evolving in China since its discovery. There are numerous ways to process and shape the tea leaves ? e.g. the flat needle-like Lung Ching, the beady Gunpowder and the “cork-screw” shaped Bi Luo Chun (we will be stocking it from May / June) are some of the well known Chinese green tea.
Chinese green tea can be found mixed with botanicals such as the well known Jasmine Green Tea or our Empress Garden. Chinese green tea can tolerate water a little hotter than Japanese green tea but it should be brewed with cooled boiling water.
Health benefits and caffeine
Green tea is probably the most researched tea category and you can find numerous writings about its health benefits, such as fighting cancer cells, weight management, boosting immune system. Green tea has less caffeine than black tea but one should note that caffeine is water soluble and the hotter water or the longer the tea is steeped, the more caffeine will be drawn out from the tea leaves. Disgard the first quick infusion if caffeine is a concern as it contains most caffeine. As green tea comes from the same plant as black tea, oolong and white tea, it is debatable whether green tea does possess more nutrients than other tea, but most researches do agree a cup of green tea a day can help keep your ills away!