Green tea is a popular beverage around the world, consumed for its refreshing taste and various health benefits. Originating from China, green tea has been a staple in the Chinese culture for centuries and has since spread to around the world.
History of Green Tea
Green tea is believed to have originated in China over 4,000 years ago and was initially used for medicinal purposes. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), tea became a popular drink among the Chinese aristocracy, and tea drinking became a symbolic aspect of Chinese culture.
Performing a Japanese Tea Ceramony
Green tea was introduced to Japan in the 8th century by the Japanese Buddhist monk Dengyo Daishi who planted seeds in his monastery. The emperor was impressed and ordered the plants to be planted in 5 other monasteries around Japan. It took a few hundred years, but the popularity of green tea spread where it was embraced and eventually became a part of the Japanese way of life. In Japan, tea was not just a drink but was also a form of art, with the Japanese Green tea ceremony being an integral part of Japanese culture.
Green tea finally made its way to Europe in the 17th century, where it was initially met with scepticism but soon became a popular drink among the wealthy. Today, green tea is consumed all over the world, with countries like China, Japan, and India being some of the largest producers and consumers of green tea.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea is widely known for its numerous health benefits, which is why it has been consumed for centuries for medicinal purposes. Today we have scientific studies to verify these health benefits. Some of the most notable health benefits of green tea are listed below:
- Antioxidant Properties: Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals. Antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of various chronic diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
- Cancer Prevention: Some studies have shown that green tea may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and colon cancer. This is believed to be due to the high levels of antioxidants found in green tea.
- Weight Loss: Green tea contains caffeine and catechins, which have been shown to boost metabolism and help with weight loss. The most important of these is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a substance that can boost metabolic rate and burn fat, especially during exercise. Studies have also shown that green tea can help reduce belly fat, which is particularly beneficial for those trying to maintain a healthy weight.
- Improved Brain Function: Green tea contains caffeine and L-theanine, which are both known to enhance brain function and improve mood. The combination of these two substances can help improve cognitive function, increase alertness, and reduce stress. The L-theanine gives you an energy boost, without the caffeine jitters you can get with coffee.
- Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases: Green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, by reducing blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels and improving blood flow.
Types of Green Tea
There are many different types of green tea, each with its own unique flavour, aroma, and health benefits. Some of the most popular types of green tea include:
Sencha: This is the most commonly consumed type of green tea in Japan and is made from leaves that are steamed and then rolled. Sencha has a slightly grassy flavour and is known for its refreshing taste.
Genmaicha: This type of green tea is a blend of green tea leaves and roasted brown rice. Genmaicha has a nutty, toasty flavour and is often enjoyed as an after-meal tea in Japan. The roasted brown rice was added to the green tea to make it more affordable, however the practice was so popular that it is still very popular.
Matcha: This type of green tea is made from shade-grown tea leaves, which are ground into a fine powder. Matcha is used in Japanese tea ceremonies and is known for its bright green colour and intense flavour.
Dragonwell: This type of green tea is grown in the Hangzhou region of China and is known for its light, nutty flavour and its flat, wide leaves. Dragonwell is considered to be one of the best types of green tea and is highly sought after.
Gyokuro: This type of green tea is grown in Japan and is considered to be the finest type of green tea. The tea leaves are grown under shade for 20-30 days before harvesting, which results in a higher concentration of amino acids and chlorophyll. Gyokuro has a mild, sweet flavour and is often described as having a umami taste.
Green tea is very versatile and blends well with botanicals such as rose, calendula and fruit flavours. It can even be blended with lemongrass, ginger, or white tea. The options are limitless.
How To Make the Perfect Cup of Green Tea
1) Place 1 teaspoon of green tea per 200ml of water in a teapot or infuser (a teapot is always a better option as many infusers restrict the movement of the leaves).
2) Prepare water to the correct temperature and pour over the green tea. You can use temperature control kettles or alternatively you can boil water then allow to cool for a few minutes. Most green teas, including sencha require water to be 70-80 degrees Celsius however some teas such as Hojicha, Kyobancha and Kaga-Boucha require a higher temperature.
3) Allow to sit for 1-2 minutes. Then remove the tealeaves. Enjoy!
*If you add water that is too hot or if you leave the green tea leaves to brew for too long, they will become astringent and bitter. Therefore, it is best to pay close attention when preparing your green tea.
Green tea has been enjoyed for centuries for its refreshing taste and various health benefits. From its origins in China to its widespread popularity today, green tea has become a staple in many cultures around the world. With its numerous health benefits, including antioxidant properties, weight loss, improved brain function, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, and cancer prevention, it's easy to see why green tea is such a popular choice. With so many different types of green tea available, there is sure to be one that fits everyone's taste preferences.
Browse our range of green tea here.