When it comes to flavor there are few teas that can match green tea. This tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, is produced mainly in China, Japan and India and has addicts world-wide.
The special green tea flavor comes from the way this tea is manufactured. The tea leaves, after plucking, are placed in a metal pan over a hot flame to make them soft and pliable. The heat also destroys the fermentation causing enzymes. The leaves are then rolled on heated trays to reduce the moisture content, sorted and packed for shipment.
The brewing of green tea differs from other teas. The leaves are never boiled. Instead hot water is poured on tea leaves kept in the infuser or teapot. The ratio should be one teaspoon of tea for every 6 oz. of water, and the brewing time should be from two to three minutes. The tea is ready for drinking when the tea leaves unfold and settle down on the base of the teapot.
The green tea is a delicate tea. It should be stored in an airtight container away from heat, moisture, and light. The tea life is also enhanced if the leaves are dark colored or are tightly rolled.
There are four main criteria that are used to categorize green tea. These are: rolling style used in their preparation, flavor, region from where they come and their grade or quality level. Some popular brands of green tea are Young Hyson, Gunpowder tea, Genmaicha, Hojicha, Sencha, Dragonwell and Lung Ching.
Green tea contains much less caffeine than coffee or chocolate or even black or oolong teas. It also contains Vitamin C in a good amount, several B Vitamins, Vitamin E, minerals like magnesium, potassium and manganese, fluorides and antioxidants like polyphenols, including many different catechins and flavonoids which act as bodyguards and are responsible for the tea’s astringent flavor.
There is a small body of research to indicate that this tea can be used in the treatment of cancer and to lower cholesterol levels and stress. Other studies are also looking at the antibacterial effects, antiviral activity, and the tea’s ability to stimulate the immune system. These health benefits have prompted an increase in not only the sale of green teas but have also prompted the development of many new products containing this tea. Many products like candy bars, hair care products, body lotions and sunscreens now include green tea as an important ingredient.