Green tea - learning the basics
The health benefits of green tea are just some of the reasons this Chinese brew has become more popular in the West, but what makes it so different?
Some people may be surprised to learn that green tea is made from the leaves of the same plant that produces most varieties of tea, including black and oolong.
However, in order to make green tea there needs to be minimal oxidation during processing, which is a method of leaving tea leaves in a climate-controlled room to brown and develop flavour.
In comparison, black tea is 100 per cent oxidated, while oolong teas can vary dramatically depending on the type.
How is it grown?
While green tea can be grown and processed in various ways, depending on the variety you want to create - there are some basics that will cover most types.
Producers will try to retain as many of the polyphenols and antioxidants as possible in order to boost the health benefits of green tea once it hits the shelves.
Usually grown in rows, green tea plants are pruned to produce shoots regularly, with typically three harvests a year.
These take place between late April and early May, from June through July, and late July to early August.
Green tea can be processed through more old-fashioned methods or via modern procedures.
Sun-drying, basket or charcoal firing, and pan-firing are usually considered to be traditional ways of developing green tea, while contemporary options include oven-drying, steaming and tumbling.
Known as 'aracha', processed green teas are usually stored in low humidity refrigerators and will receive a final firing before they are blended, selected and packaged.
This is when it is finally ready for the consumer, allowing you to buy green tea online and enjoy all the health and soothing benefits this beverage has to offer.