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Green tea has been used for medicinal properties for over 4000 years. Throughout Asia it was considered a medicine and it was prescribed to help with a variety of different physical problems. Even today, green tea is known for being high in antioxidants, it is also richer in antioxidants compared to other forms of tea.
Green Tea is unoxidized and most closely resembles the original plucked leaf- a small springtime leaf bud that contains abundant nutrients and oils sent up from the roots after a period of winter dormancy. The majority of green tea is either from China or Japan. Japan produces a lot of green tea, but only a small percentage is exported, so any green tea you drink outside of Japan was probably grown in China.
It surprises many people new to tea to learn that green tea and black tea originate from the same exact plant species—Camellia sinensis. It’s ultimately the variety of tea plant and how the tea leaves are processed that defines how green tea becomes “green” and black tea becomes “black”. Green tea is tea in its purest form and the one that is minimally altered by Man.
Green tea offers many different leaf styles and singular flavour characterstics. A brewed green tea is typically green, yellow or light brown in color, and its flavor profile can range from grass-like and toasted (pan fired) to vegetal, sweet and seaweed-like (steamed). If brewed correctly, most green tea should be quite light in color and only mildly astringent.
Once the leaves are plucked, they are immediately taken to the factory to be “fixed” or de-enzymed (by application of heat). This prevents the leaves from oxidizing and turning brown. Fixing can be carried out in pans or woks set over wood stoves or steam tunnels.
Once fixed, leaves are rolled (either by hand or a rolling machine) and given their final shape. The process of rolling helps break down the cell walls and extract aromatic compounds that are concentrated across the many layers within a leaf.
Next comes drying which is carried out in industrial dryers or pans. Drying is carried out until the moisture content is reduced to about 1% of the total weight of the leaves