Green TeaPublished:August 4th, 2010
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is obtained from leaves of Camellia sinensis by a different method than those for oolong, black or pu-erh teas. Green tea leaves are steamed, and thus the EGCG compound is not oxidized.
Green tea is the least processed of the commercial teas made from Camellia sinensis and the method of processing preserves the health promoting compounds green tea contains.
Green tea leaves are picked and fired immediately, through steaming or heating. Then the leaves are dried and prepared for use. Green tea is the most antioxidant reach of the varieties of tea from Camellia sinensis. Due to this minimal processing, green tea has a light hue and flavour.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
The medicinal benefits of green tea have been known in China since ancient times, where it was used to treat headaches and depression, infections, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases or impaired immune function. Green tea contains ten times the amount of antioxidants present in most fruits or vegetables. Due to these antioxidants, green tea has been associated with a lower risk of cancer and diabetes. Green tea can also prevent arterial damage. Epigallocateching gallate is a powerful anti-oxidant which is abundant in green tea.
The French paradox puzzled researchers who wondered why the French who had a diet rich in fat, had a lower incidence of heart disease. Red wine was the answer, which contains resveratrol. However, Epigallocateching gallate was proven to be twice as powerful as resveratrol.
Green tea extract was proven to be helpful in burning more calories, aiding dieters in their weight loss efforts.
The anti-bacterian compounds in green tea can prevent tooth decay, killing bacteria that cause dental plaque, and can even prevent food poisoning.
History of Green Tea
Green tea has been mentioned in Chinese literature as far as 5,000 years ago. All tea was green at the beginning of tea history, oolong and black teas were developed later. Back in those times, tea was drink with fresh leaves mixed with hot water. People started to notice how green tea stimulated the nervous system and helped digestion.
When tea drinking grew in popularity, it became a royal pastime. Elaborate tea ceremonies were developed with sophisticated techniques and tea sets. Experts were able to assess the quality of the leaves and the tea making techniques.
Green tea started to be consumed in Japan and new varieties such as oolong and black teas were developed. Around 1600 tea was brought to Europe and tea drinking blossomed. Tea is now the second most popular drink in the world.
Best Way to Drink Green Tea
Green tea is brewed and drunk as a beverage. The differences in taste are surprising. Water temperature is very important, depending on the type of green tea you use. Pouring hot water over tea leaves is the best method to drink green tea. Once you have poured the water, cover the teapot with a lid and wait a little before you drink. You can use green leaves several times to prepare tea.
Heat the water to just 1600F when you prepare green tea. This temperature is enough for the tea to maintain its health benefits. Loose leaf green tea is of higher quality, you can let the leaves float freely in the hot water to obtain a rich flavour. One tablespoon of loose leaf is enough for a cup of hot water. Green tea steeps quickly so it is ready to drink within three to five minutes.