Green Tea

 

What is Green Tea?

tea plants

Green tea is produced from camellia sinensis leaves.  Unlike the other teas derived from camellia, it has undergone very minimal oxidation while being processed.  Green tea of course originated in China, but its production has been exported to many other countries.

 

There several varieties of green tea.  The difference comes from growing conditions, horticulture, production processing, and time of harvest.  Tea consumption date back to more than 4,000 years ago, making it the oldest known herbal tea.  The Zen priest Eisai in 1191 wrote about how drinking green tea may affect five vital organs [liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys, heart], the shapes of tea plants, flowers and leaves, and how to grow and process tea leaves.

 

A. Green Tea and Brewing

tea brewing

Steeping is the process of brewing tea in the formal and classical way a cup of tea.  In general, two grams of tea per 100 ml of water, or about one teaspoon of green tea per five-ounce (150 ml) cup is used in this process.  Of course we today just use a tea bag.  Done.

 

In the formal world of tea brewing green tea steeping temperatures are from 189 degrees to 142 degrees fahrenheit.  The steeping time is from two to three minutes on the long end and thirty seconds on the short end.   

As a general rule, the lower-quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, reverse that for higher-quality teas.  If you steep green tea too hot or too long you will produce in a bitter, astringent brew product.  This is true regardless of the quality of the tea you are using, because over cooking releases too much tannins.
When you are using high-quality green teas, you can steep the tea multiple times; two or three  is times is not unusual.  Your method of steeping green tea indeed plays a very important role, if you wish to avoid the tea morphing into that overcooked taste.  Beyond that it is suggested that the container in which you steep the tea should be warmed beforehand. This is to help insure that the tea does not too quickly cool down. It is common to see the master tea-sters to leave the tea leaf in the cup or pot.  They then add hot water and the resulting tea is drunk until the flavor degrades.

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