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Green Tea

Elixir and Lifestyle – the Basics of Green Tea

Tea, as nature has made it, is green – on the bush and in the cup. It only changes black when it oxidises to a certain degree. In some countries though it should not come that far. In China, the original home of the tea, or Japan people love green Tea. In order to avoid oxidisation and thereby maintain the colour and fresh natural flavour, local growers roast or steam their leaves.
Green tea is popular. It vitalises and is so healthy that Chinese medicine recommends it for various diseases. It regulates digestion, reduces fever and supports blood circulation, to mention just a few of its effects. Furthermore green tea is said to boost the immune system and thus avoid diseases if consumed regularly. So it’s hardly surprising that Japanese drink it at any opportunity. Restaurants for example welcome their guests with a cup for free. As a matter of fact, Japan is one of the countries with the highest life expectancy.
And it is no surprise either that this thousands of years old beverage is increasingly becoming the target of research. Promptly scientists find a so far unknown but important ingredient: epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This could help with Alzheimer’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and many more diseases, even some kinds of cancer.

Yin and Yang – Stimulation and Recreation with Green Tea

It has not only proven to be a cure, green tea also abounds in tannins and therefore calms, if steeped at least three to four minutes. Oddly enough though, the tannins are not the main reason why green tea serves contemplation and is used in rituals. Zen monks for example drink it in the tea ceremony because it also contains much caffeine. This sharpens the senses and enables them to consciously experience every moment.
Sceptics now could ask: “Caffeine? Doesn’t that make you edgy?” In fact not as much as it does in coffee, for in tea it is differently bound. The effect is delayed and decays more slowly, what makes it less dangerous for heart and circulation. By the way, the stimulation does not get lost when the tannins are released. Both, the calming and the stimulating effect complement each other. Yin and Yang in green tea? Makes sense.

The Little Handbook of Green Tee Types

Green teas differ in various ways. Besides soil and climate conditions the degree of fermentation resp. oxidisation plays a roll. This process begins as soon as the leaves are picked. All that is less than halfway oxidised passes of as green tea. If the limit of fifty percent is exceeded it is regarded as black. The very middle is called Oolong, a popular type in China and Japan, where it is enjoyed hot and cold.
Different countries, different methods: Chinese tea growers roast their leaves in a pan and achieve a flavour that could be described as somewhat between smoky and flowery. The Japanese instead steam their tea, which makes it taste more grassy.

Known Green Teas from China

Gunpowder: Leaves are rolled to small balls. Bitter taste and strongly stimulating due to its high content of caffeine. This tea lives up to its name.
Chun Mee: Also known as Number 9371. Very popular in China, strong taste, slightly sour.
Jasmine tea: Flavoured with jasmine blossoms, delights the palate with a soft and gentle aroma. (samova: Jasmine Green).

Popular Japanese Green Teas

Sencha: Also called “steeped tea”. Most commonly drunk tea in Japan and best known green tea in the western world. There are two types of sencha: kocha, the old harvest, and shincha, the new and more precious one, which tastes slightly sweet. (samova: Director’s Cut).
Matcha: Powdered leaves as used in Japanese tea ceremonies. The tea master stirs the shiny green powder with water until it foams. In this way no caffeine gets lost and the participants stay awake to find contemplation. (samova: Star Dust).
Gyokuro: Three weeks of its time on the field the “jade dew” is covered with bamboo mats. A measure to reduce bitterness and achieve a tender taste, which however only pervades in a greater amount of leaves.

Our Tip:

Unlike black tea, green tea does not want to be brewed with boiling water. Too many tannins would dissolve and vitamins go off. Best is a temperature of seventy to eighty degrees Celsius. You have nothing to measure it? Wait ten minutes after the water has boiled and there we go.