What is green tea?
You have probably heard a lot about the health benefits of drinking tea, especially the benefits of green tea, considered by many to be the ultimate “anti-aging drink”. In Okinawa, Japan, one of the “blue zones” of the world. Green tea is taken to improve mental alertness and thus sharpen thinking.
Green tea is made from the camellia Sinensis plant. The dried leaves and buds of camellia Sinensis leaves are used to produce various types of teas. Green tea is prepared by steaming and frying these leaves and then drying them. Other teas like black tea and oolong tea involve processes in which the leaves are fermented (black tea) or partially fermented (oolong tea).
What is Matcha Green Tea?
Matcha is a special form of green tea. Matcha literally means “tea powder”. When you order traditional green tea, the leaf components are infused into the hot water and then discarded. With matcha, you are drinking the actual leaves, which have been finely powdered and converted into a solution, traditionally mixing approximately one teaspoon of matcha powder with a third cup of hot water (heated to less than a boil), which is after and then beaten with a bamboo brush until frothed.
Matcha tea and common green tea come from the camellia Sinensis plant, which is native to China. However, matcha is grown differently than ordinary green tea. The tea bushes are covered for about 20-30 days before harvest, to avoid direct sunlight. Shade stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels, turning the leaves a darker shade of green and increasing amino acid production.
After harvest, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves. They are then ground to stone in a fine bright green powder, known as matcha. Because all of the leaf powder is ingested, rather than just water through the tea leaves, matcha is even higher in some substances than green tea. This includes caffeine and antioxidants.
What are the Benefits of Drinking Green Tea?
Green tea is taken for depression, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), weight loss, and to treat stomach disorders, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and bone loss (osteoporosis). Some people drink green tea to prevent various cancers, including prostate cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, cancer of solid tumors, leukemia, and skin cancer related to light exposure solar. Some women use green tea to fight the human papillomavirus, which can cause genital warts, the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix (cervical dysplasia), and cervical cancer.
Because matcha is made from high-quality tea and whole leaves are ingested, it is a more potent source of nutrients than soaked green tea. In addition to providing small amounts of vitamins and minerals, matcha is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been linked to protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better regulation of blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and anti-aging. Another matcha polyphenol called EGCG has been shown to stimulate metabolism and slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. These properties of green tea are reasons why many people drink green tea as it is very beneficial.
What are the Different Types of Green Tea?
As you will no doubt have noticed that if you have drunk several different types of green tea, not all green tea tastes the same, although it all comes from the same variety of plants. It depends not only on the processing method used by tea producers but also on the cultivation practices used by tea producers. At what time of the year is the tea made? How is the plant pruned? What parts of the plant are plucked? Are the plants chemically treated or organically grown? What kind of heat is applied to tea leaves to stop oxidation? How are tea leaves formed, rolled and dried? Are the leaves left whole or cut into smaller pieces?
The final flavor of tea also depends on the environment in which the tea is grown. Is it cold and mountainous or warm and tropical? Do the plants live next to limestone and pine trees or sand and seaweed? Can tea plants that grow near other crops affect their taste, such as rose bushes, coffee plants, or grapevines?
The most popular and widely consumed types of green tea come from the places where green tea originated: China and Japan. Green teas from China and Japan have different flavor profiles depending on where and how they are grown, but more distinctively how they are processed: skillet cooked in China and steamed in Japan. Other green tea producing countries generally take cues from China or Japan and adopt one of this country’s tea production styles.
Considerations for Choosing the Best Green Tea
Like drip coffee and wine, there can be a big difference between drinking high-quality green tea and mediocre-quality green tea. Even if you have learned the art of pouring a perfect cup or purchased tea specially designed to enhance your favorite green tea variety, the quality of the tea leaf finally decides whether you are going to experience tea or just drink tea. But how can you know if you are buying tea that is superior or of color, taste, and aroma every day? Please consider these factors when purchasing green tea.
Green tea Flavor
Measuring the quality of green tea by flavor can be a somewhat subjective method, however, since a large part of experiencing green tea is through taste, it is nonetheless important. This is why a good option when choosing high-quality green tea is to try it, if possible.
Where is it made
For experienced green tea drinkers, the brand or producer name and region may be enough to decide to buy one tea over another. However, for newcomers to high-quality tea, choosing by the brand can be nearly impossible without detailed research. Due to the knowledge needed to understand the subtle differences between regional locations, Japanese brands, and the reliability of tea vendors, this measurement quality is not recommended for green tea beginners.
GreenTea Leaves Shape
The shape of the tea leaves can be a reliable indicator because it directly reflects the selection and production process that the tea went through. Searching for this indicator requires experience in understanding the differences between green tea varieties, which is explained below for each variety.
Green Tea Leaves Color
Knowing the appropriate shade of green for each variety of green tea (understanding that some teas like hojicha are brown) can indicate the quality of the tea.
Green Tea Leaves Shine
Bright leaves often indicate good quality, although due to the production process of some teas, a greater amount of dust can be found inside, resulting in less shine. Therefore, this indicator should not apply to all varieties of green tea.
Green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks in the world and contains one of the highest amounts of antioxidants than any regular tea. The natural chemicals called polyphenols in green tea are believed to provide their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. By choosing high-quality green tea, you are giving yourself the opportunity to once again discover the pure joy of living by taking that first sip.