Green tea, also called unfermented tea, follows just after white tea in terms of extent of processing it undergoes and the health perks it offers. It is produced primarily in China and Japan, with almost the same production procedure. However, it basically originated in China about 4000 years ago, where it was used for medicinal purposes and gradually evolved into China’s national drink, finding its place in Chinese everyday life, religious ceremonies, culture and ethos.
Green tea preparation involves two fundamental steps: processing the freshly picked tea leaves into crude tea, and then processing this crude tea into finished tea. Raw, it leaves are handpicked and sun dried on bamboo trays. Then the leaves are stir fried or steamed to dry out any remaining moisture. They are rolled manually, and finally roasted to stop the oxidizing action by enzymes. Thus, the tea retains its natural flavor, appearance and all its antioxidants and nutrients. It does not go through the oxidation or fermentation stage, the essential difference that sets it apart from black teas. Difference in growing conditions, time of harvest, and processing methods produce different varieties of it, the most popular varieties being Sencha, Gyokuro, Kabusecha, Tencha, Matcha, Genmaicha, Hojicha, and Shincha.
A lot of consumers are asking, is green tea good for you? Does it have caffeine? It contains lowest amounts of caffeine, along with tannins, essential oils, and vitamins. Markedly, caffeine in it is actually fresh. Unlike in coffee, it caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and strengthens blood circulation and metabolism. Tannins work in tandem with caffeine, pleasing and stabilizing the caffeine effects. Thus, unlike coffee, it does not give body the harmful “caffeine shock”. It is absorbed slowly in the body. It calms down the eager mental nervous by promoting a state of relaxed awareness, without manufacturing one drowsy. It is this in good condition rest and relaxation offered by it which has earned it widespread popularity around the world, and it has emerged as the most sought after alternative to coffee.
Preparing a nice cup of it, both tasty and healthy, is itself an art. You need to pick the right technique to produce an enjoyable cup of it. It must never be brewed in boiling water as it can kill all its therapeutic compounds, besides turning it bitter. Also make sure to use only filtered water or bottled water, as impure water can mar the flavor of the tea. You may also use water heating pots with temperature controls, specially designed to prepare it.
Some children view green tea as a medicinal drink, with too faint and watery a taste. They are unaware of its versatility and its ability to blend with various food items to produce an array of gourmet delights. Gyokuro pairs deliciously with pastries and full of life fruit, while Sencha forms good company with sukiyaki and beef stew. Matcha is used in ice creams, cheese cakes, sprinkled on salads, soups and stews. These may also be scented with jasmine, lychee, or chrysanthemum; it tastes even sweeter with these floral undertones. Green teas are used as base for flower teas which make magnificent party drinks due to their decorative presentation.
Try out as many different selections and combinations as possible; you will never grow tired of discovering the myriad flavour nuances of green tea.
Learn more about green tea benefits and how it can assist in vitality, health and many other things.
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