Green tea’s prominence sparks a few discussions about where it originated – whether in Japan, China, or Europe. Most historical accounts state that China founded green tea, and Japan was introduced to green tea by Japanese monks who studied in China’s monasteries.
On the other hand, the famous drink reached Europe in the early 17th century through the Dutch East India Company ship transporting goods from China. But regardless of where green tea originated, we cannot deny that it already took the globe by storm.
How Green Tea is Produced
With the advent of technology, the manufacturing process of green tea advanced. Green tea producers still resort to traditional methods, while giant tea factories can now produce green tea in bulk via machinery.
Either way, green tea is still derived from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. Its attribute as green tea depends on how long it will be pan-fired, dried, and oxidized. Green tea is produced when freshly picked Camellia sinensis are roasted right away to prevent prolonged oxidation. This process brings green tea the signature grassy, sweet taste without a hint of bitterness from too much oxidation.
Other countries like Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh, and Hawaii are also reigning producers of green tea aside from the pioneers, China, Japan, and India.
Types of Green Tea
Tea types can be overwhelming for a start, but if you are familiarized with the most popular types of green tea, it will be an easy verdict to identify and explore more about the healthy drink.
- Sencha Green Tea – comes from tea leaves grown with direct sunlight, recognizable for its needle-like leaves and yellow to yellow-green color when brewed. The taste can also be grassy or has a hint of seaweed.
- Matcha Green Tea – comes from young tea leaves grown over the shade. Once harvested, it’s roasted then grounded into a bright-green colored powder. Other than being a pricey type of green tea, many drinkers love matcha for its sugary aftertaste.
- Gyokuro – comes from partly shaded and young tea leaves. It is one of the priciest teas in Japan because of its signature “umami” kick – sweet, grassy, and tastes like seaweed.
- Hojicha – is a combination of several green tea types roasted to lessen the caffeine content and reduce its bitter taste. Hojicha has a light flavor, making it easier to drink, especially for novices in tea drinking.
Benefits of Green Tea
The excellent taste of green tea is just a bonus from all the health benefits you can get. Green tea targets pretty much all of your organs, from brain function, oral and heart health, and the digestive system.
What makes green tea an ally for mental health is its L-theanine content, the amino acid working its way to your brain. L-theanine increases dopamine production in the brain, thus fighting anxiety symptoms. If you are also trying to control your caffeine intake, green tea can be your alternative to coffee. The good news is this amino acid also has caffeine content enough to make you awake without the giddy feeling brought by coffee.
Green tea has been the leading ingredient for dietary supplements and drinks. Research shows that drinking green tea helps your body increase calorie burning by 4 percent and decreases cancer risks by around 40 percent. Not to mention its ability to help you lose excess pounds in the long run.
The best reward of drinking green tea is it makes your life 10-20 percent longer. Based on a study in Japan, locals who incorporate green tea in their everyday lives are more likely to live than those who don’t.