What is tea?
First thing’s first – when it comes to tea leaves; green, black, oolong and white tea leaves all come from the same plant called Camellia Sinensis. The difference, however, is how the loose leaf tea is grown, harvested and processed. Depending on how the tea leaves are treated will determine whether it’s a black, green or white tea.
During the process of production, the tea leaf’s natural chemicals change developing those unique flavour characteristics. Each step is essential, building upon the previous step in the tea process.
What is Green tea?
Green tea is the second most-consumed drink in Asia with water being the first. This is due to the long history of green tea in Asian countries as well as its affordability, accessibility and high quality.
This love of green tea has spread globally, with production expected to grow 8.2% annually and to hit 2.97 million tons by 2023.
For Green tea, the processing method is the easiest amongst all tea leaves. This is due to the tea leaves being picked when they’re fully mature. Once the leaves have been picked, the leaves are taken to be wilted. Some producers wilt the leaves for 24 hours, which dramatically changes the overall flavour and appearance. Afterwards, the tea leaves are steamed or fired in an oven to deactivate oxidative enzymes, which creates the green colour we see in our green tea leaves. Next, the tea leaves are laid out to dry naturally in protective beds.
Where is Green tea from?
The biggest green tea producing countries are Sri Lanka and China. China, in particular, is renowned for excellent green tea leaves as well as white tea. Sri Lanka is more well known for its black tea leaves. Traditionally, China is well known for green tea, being the lead producer for centuries. When drinking a high-quality cup of green tea you can truly experience the long history, advanced expertise and a wide amount of knowledge given to the product.
Gunpowder Green tea is said to be one of the oldest green tea types in the world. We chose our organic Pure Tea Gunpowder Green from China because of its superior quality and wonderful flavour. Our Gunpowder Green offers a soft and earthy cup with a smooth mouthfeel. The Chinese green tea has been tightly rolled into little pellets hence its name – Gunpowder. In Chinese, they refer to this tea as zhu cha (pearl tea).
Health Benefits of Green tea
There have been many studies conducted on the health benefits of green tea. Studies have shown that green tea does in fact hold an immense amount of health properties. The leaves contain many healthy polyphenols such as the flavanols – epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate and so on. These flavanols are known as catechins which are plant-based chemicals you can also find in cocoa and berries. All tea holds catechins yet, green tea is known to hold the most mainly due to the way it’s processed after harvest.
Catechins hold many benefits such as:
- Anti-inflammatory; green tea increases the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines which affect the growth of all cells that help the body’s immune and inflammation responses.
- Antioxidant; protects your cells from free radicals which cause heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
- Reduces total lipid levels; these levels are increased in the human body with the consumption of fatty foods, alcohol, disease, stress, hypothyroidism or, with an inherited disorder.
- Anticarcinogenic properties; these are beneficial for those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and neurologic and oral health (antimicrobial).
Catechins comprise 80-90% of the flavonoids and approx. 40% of the water-soluble solids in green tea.
Thoughtful loose leaf tea businesses will ensure they select tea leaves from farms that emphasize high quality. Green tea naturally holds an incredible flavour profile that’s soft, elegant and oh-so comforting. Tea farms that ensure care and quality through the whole process will offer exceptional tea leaves. Some mass-produced tea leaves aren’t given as much care thus leading to damage, poorly processed tea leaves and tea dust. When tea leaves go through a poor process this directly affects the flavour for the drinker. If you’re looking for a higher quality green tea with body and texture it’s best to choose artisans over supermarket teas.
We hope this has taught you a thing or two on green tea. If you have more questions, feel free to read our resources section.
Thank you for reading.
Leaf Bean Machine team member,
*These pictures were taken by owners Fleur and Brad when they were visiting the tea farms. Such a lush and beautiful landscape with passionate tea lovers giving the utmost care at every step of the way.