Green tea is widely enjoyed across the world, especially as more people learn of its numerous health benefits. There have even been a lot of trends around green in recent years, becoming a part of fads such as green tea ice cream and fancy green tea frappacino drinks.
Truly though, there’s nothing quite like the traditional form: carefully prepared, pure green tea. So let’s explore green tea itself – it’s variety of flavors, health benefits and best ways to serve it.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea was originally developed in China for medicinal purposes, thought to have been used as long as 4,000 years ago. Next, green tea was introduced to Japan, where their special tea ceremonies were developed. Since then, it has spread to many countries across the globe. Each producing region and country offers their own distinct characteristics. For example, some regions prefer a more aromatic tea, while others lean towards crisp and smoky flavors.
Like all true teas (i.e. white tea, black tea), green tea leaves are derived from the plant Camellia Sinensis. What makes each tea different from the other is how the shrub is processed.
How is green tea processed?
Traditionally, green tea is made through a process of withering, heating, rolling and drying. When it comes to oxidation, green tea is the least oxidized tea. (It’s why green tea has a lower level of caffeine compared to other types like black tea.)
Fun to know: The manufacturers of green tea are especially careful to preserve the “green” color of the leaves, which is done by the drying process.
What are the health benefits of green tea?
A main reason green tea is on the rise in the U.S. is for health. Some of the green tea health benefits are that it:
- Supports weight maintenance by increasing metabolism and rates of fat oxidation.
- Contains antioxidants that may lower risk of some cancers and help in maintaining beautiful, healthy skin.
- Reduces risk of harmful diseases such as cardiovascular disease.
- Helps relieve stress and depression due to the presence of amino acids like Theanine, believed to have a relaxing effect.
- Aids in cholesterol management, reducing the bad type and leveling out cholesterol levels in general.
Is there caffeine in green tea?
Yes, green tea has caffeine but not a lot – especially compared to black tea (which already has far less than coffee.) An 8 oz. cup usually has between 35 – 70 mg.
What is the best way to enjoy green tea?
Green tea should not be steeped for too long, and (you may be surprised to know) should not be steeped in boiling hot water. Instead, try to keep your steeping temperatures between 165⁰ to 175⁰ for optimal tastings.
It can be enjoyed solo or, for if you like a little sweet, try adding a small spoonful of honey.