Artist: Yat-Fung Yeung, Medium: Watercolor

If you have ever shopped for green tea, almost certainly you are aware there are a vast number of choices. There are green teas from many areas of the world, and many varieties, grades, and flavors from each area. Green tea was likely the first kind of tea. About 3000 years ago in China, people plucked fresh tea leaves and let them dry in the sun before storing them. In the 8th century, tea processors began using the evaporation process, and by the 12th century, they began sauteing the leaves. 

Even today, green tea is one of the teas left in its most natural state. Green tea is lack of fermentation, and additional heating process fix the chlorophyll in the leaves, so they retain their green color and its natural anti-oxidants.The natural anti-oxidants in tea leaf hold a good deal of power for improving our health and preventing sickness. Anti-oxidants are necessary to our health because they neutralize free radicals. These so called free radicals containing molecules that harm our cells and damage our cells and DNA if left unchecked.

 A nutrient rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and alternative plant product like tea, helps free our bodies of free radicals before they'll damage our bodies. In recent years, there has been an abundance of analysis showing that long term drinking of green tea can defend our bodies from several types of illness, as well as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Green tea has additionally been shown to be an efficient weight loss supplement as well as a natural way to help regulate insulin levels. However, more research is needed, but it is very likely as times go on, when our lifestyle more diverted from nature, we are find more and more health reasons for making green tea part of our everyday lives.

Classifying Green Tea by Its Drying Process.

Stir Frying - Fresh tea leaves are sauteed in a pan. This process is mainly used for export teas. Stir frying gives green a strong fragrance and taste. Some common varieties of green tea that are stir fried include gunpowder teas and Dragonwell teas.

Roasting - Tea leaves are dried in a roast basket or roast chest. In most cases roasted teas are used as the basis for flower scented teas. Monkey king teas/Tai Ping Hou Kui are roasted.

Semi-roast and semi fry - Sometimes the stir frying and roasting methods are combined. This method is used in order to retain the beautiful look of a roasted leaf combined with the strong fragrance and taste of stir fried tea.

Solar drying - This is the age old method, whereby leaves are dried in the sun. Today these leaves are typically used as the basis for compressed teas. These are the Green tea cakes you sometimes see.

Steaming - The leaves are steamed at a very high temperature to dry them. The most famous steamed green tea is Japanese Sencha.

Within each of these varieties of green tea, there are also quality grades. It can be very difficult to determine, however, the quality of tea you are buying, because each country has different grading methods. China, which produces more green tea than any other country in the world, grades their green tea something like this. First, teas for export are categorized according to the season of the leaf is picked, Spring is the best time to pick, usually the top notch teas are picked in the early spring and conversely less good tea that is picked in other seasons. Within each of these season categories there are the grades of the leaf shape; sometimes as many as nine grades within one variety of green tea. For an example grading of leaf shape please check out our green tea leaf shape chart.

It is true that there are many varieties of green tea. But, that is what makes trying green tea so much fun! There is almost no end to the many flavors and nuances you can find in the different varieties of green tea. You sure to want to try them all!

Posted on Categories : Green Tea