The appearance of green tea in three different stages: (from left to right) the infused leaves, the dry leaves, and the liquid. (Notice that the infused leaves look greener than the dry leaves.)
|Country of origin||China|
|Region of origin||East Asia|
Green tea is a type of tea that is made from Camellia sinensis leaves that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation process used to make oolong and black tea. Green tea originated in China, but its production has spread to many countries in Asia.
Several varieties of green tea exist, which differ substantially because of the variety of C. sinensis used, growing conditions, horticultural methods, production processing, and time of harvest.
- 1 History
- 2 Brewing and serving
- 3 Extracts
- 4 Health effects
- 5 Production
- 6 Green tea by country
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Works cited
- 10 External links
A book written by Lu Yu in 600-900 AD (Tang Dynasty), "Tea Classic" (simplified Chinese: 茶经; traditional Chinese: 茶經; pinyin: chájīng), is considered important in green tea history. The Kissa Yojoki (喫茶養生記 Book of Tea), written by Zen priest Eisai in 1191, describes how drinking green tea may affect five vital organs, the shapes of tea plants, flowers and leaves, and how to grow and process tea leaves.
Brewing and serving
Steeping, or brewing, is the process of making tea, generally using two grams of tea per 100 ml of water or about 1 teaspoon of green tea per 150 ml cup. Higher-quality teas, like gyokuro, use more tea leaves and are steeped multiple times for short durations.
Steeping temperatures range from 61°C (142°F) to 87°C (189°F) and times from 30 seconds to three minutes.
Generally, lower-quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer while higher-quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter, but usually for multiple times (2-3 typically). Steeping too hot or for too long results in the release of excessive amounts of tannins, leading to a bitter, astringent brew, regardless of initial quality. The brew’s taste is also affected by the steeping technique. Two important techniques are to warm the steeping container beforehand to prevent the tea from immediately cooling down and to leave the tea leaf in the pot and gradually add more hot water as you drink the tea.
Green tea leaves are initially processed by soaking in an alcohol solution, which may be further concentrated to various levels; byproducts of the process are also packaged and used. Extracts may be sold in liquid, powder, capsule, or tablet form. Decaffeinated versions are also available.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||4 kJ (0.96 kcal)|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
Regular green tea is 99.9% water, provides 1 Calorie per 100 mL serving, is devoid of significant nutrient content (table) and contains phytochemicals, such as polyphenols and caffeine. Polyphenols found in green tea include epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin gallate, epicatechins and flavanols, which have antioxidant, anticarcinogen, anti-inflammatory, and anti-radiation biochemical effects in vitro. Other components include three kinds of flavonoids, known as kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin. A remarkably higher content of myricetin is detected in tea and its extracts than in many other plants, and this high concentration of myricetin may have some implications for the experimentally-observed bioactivity of tea and its extracts in vitro.
Although numerous claims have been made for the health benefits of green tea, human clinical research has not provided conclusive evidence of any effects. In 2011, a panel of scientists published a report on the claims for health effects at the request of the European Commission: in general they found that the claims made for green tea were not supported by sufficient scientific evidence. Although the mean content of flavonoids and catechins in a cup of green tea is higher than that in the same volume of other food and drink items that are traditionally considered to promote health, flavonoids and catechins have no proven biological effect in humans.
There is no conclusive evidence that green tea helps to prevent or treat cancer in people. A review of existing studies concluded that while suggestive evidence existed, it did not amount to a clear indication of benefit.
Daily consumption of black tea (but not green tea) has been associated with a significant reduction in death from all cancers. There is limited evidence to suggest that green tea consumption may be associated with a slightly lower risk of esophageal cancer in the Chinese population, a lower risk of lung cancer in women, and a lower risk of oral cancer in Asian people. A 2015 meta-analysis of nine prospective cohort studies concluded that a high amount of green tea consumption may be associated with a lower risk of liver cancer in Asian women. This association was not seen in Asian men or when one cup of green tea was consumed daily. Similarly, another analysis of observational data conducted in 2012 suggested that green tea consumption may have a favorable effect on lung cancer risk. The observed effect was strongest in those who consumed more than seven cups of green tea daily. A 2011 meta-analysis of epidemiological studies found limited evidence that green tea consumption may be associated with a moderately reduced risk of liver cancer in Chinese and Japanese people. Limited evidence suggests that green tea consumption is not associated with the risk of developing pancreatic cancer or prostate cancer. The link between green tea consumption and stomach cancer risk is unclear due to inconsistent evidence.
Observational studies have shown a correlation between daily consumption of green tea and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In a 2015 meta-analysis of such observational studies, an increase in one cup of green tea per day was correlated with a 5% lower risk of death from cardiovascular causes. Green tea consumption may be correlated with a reduced risk of stroke. Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials have found that green tea consumption for 3–6 months appears to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures a small amount (about 3 mm Hg each).
Drinking green tea or taking green tea supplements decreases the blood concentration of total cholesterol (about 7 mg/dL), LDL cholesterol (about 2 mg/dL), and does not affect the concentration of HDL cholesterol. A 2013 Cochrane review performed a meta-analysis of longer-term randomized controlled trials (>3 months duration) and concluded that green tea consumption lowers total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in the blood.
A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials found that green tea consumption was not significantly associated with lower plasma levels of C-reactive protein levels (a marker of inflammation).
Daily consumption of green tea is significantly correlated with a lower risk of death from any cause; an increase of one cup of green tea per day is linked with a 4% lower risk of death from any cause. A separate analysis found an increase of three cups of green tea per day was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause.
There is no conclusive evidence that green tea aids in weight loss.
Moderate, regular, and habitual consumption of green tea is safe; however, there are reports of liver toxicity in humans after consuming high doses (10–29 mg/kg/day) of green tea extract dietary supplements, and high doses may act as a pro-oxidant to damage DNA.
Growing, harvesting and processing
Green tea is processed and grown in a variety of ways, depending on the type of green tea desired. As a result of these methods, maximum amounts of polyphenols and volatile organic compounds are retained, affecting aroma and taste. The growing conditions can be broken down into two basic types − those grown in the sun and those grown under the shade. The green tea plants are grown in rows that are pruned to produce shoots in a regular manner, and in general are harvested three times per year. The first flush takes place in late April to early May. The second harvest usually takes place from June through July, and the third picking takes place in late July to early August. Sometimes, there will also be the fourth harvest. It is the first flush in the spring that brings the best-quality leaves, with higher prices to match.
Green tea is processed using either artisanal or modern methods. Sun-drying, basket or charcoal firing, or pan-firing are common artisanal methods. Oven-drying, tumbling, or steaming are common modern methods. Processed green teas, known as aracha are stored under low humidity refrigeration in 30- or 60-kg paper bags at 0–5 °C (32–41 °F). This aracha has yet to be refined at this stage, with a final firing taking place before blending, selection and packaging take place. The leaves in this state will be re-fired throughout the year as they are needed, giving the green teas a longer shelf-life and better flavor. The first flush tea of May will readily store in this fashion until the next year's harvest. After this re-drying process, each crude tea will be sifted and graded according to size. Finally, each lot will be blended according to the blending order by the tasters and packed for sale.
Production by country
|2006 Green tea production and export (in thousands of metric tons)
Import of Japanese tea
||This section needs to be updated. (October 2016)|
On 17 June 2011, radioactive cesium of 1,038 becquerels per kilogram was detected at Charles de Gaulle airport in France in tea leaves imported from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which was more than twice as much as the restricted amount of 500 becquerels per kilogram designated by the European Union, and the government of France announced that they rejected the tea leaves, which amounted to 162 kilograms (357 lb). The governor of Shizuoka Prefecture Heita Kawakatsu stated that "there is absolutely no problem when they [people] drink them because it will be diluted to about ten becquerels per kilogram when they steep them even if the leaves have 1,000 becquerels per kilogram," which was a consequence of own examinations of the prefecture. Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Renhō stated on 3 June 2011, that "there are cases in which aracha are sold as furikake [condiments sprinkled on rice] and so on and they are eaten as they are, therefore we think that it is important to inspect tea leaves including aracha from the viewpoint of consumers' safety."
Green tea by country
Loose leaf green tea has been the most popular form of tea in China since the Southern Song dynasty. While Chinese green tea was originally steamed, as it still is in Japan, after the early Ming dynasty it has typically been processed by being pan-fired in a dry wok. Other processes employed in China today include oven-firing, basket-firing, tumble-drying and sun-drying. Green tea is the most widely produced form of tea in China, with 1.42 million tons grown in 2014.
Popular green teas produced in China today include:
Produced in Jiangsu, this tea is named after the shape of the leaves, which are curled like snails.
- Chun Mee
Known in English by its Cantonese name, and popular outside China. It has a plum-like flavor.
- Gunpowder tea
A tea which is tumble-dried so that each leaf is rolled into a small pellet that resembles gunpowder.
- Huangshan Maofeng
A type of maofeng tea grown in the microclimate of the Huangshan mountain range in Anhui province. Maofeng teas are harvested by plucking intact two equal-sized leaves and a bud together.
Also known as "Dragon Well" tea, the English translation of its name. Grown near Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, Longjing is the most well-known pan-fired Chinese green tea. Its flavor derives partly from the terroir of the region in which it is produced.
- Lu'an Melon Seed
Grown in Anhui province. Unlike typical Chinese teas, two leaves are plucked separately with no bud and no stems. Harvested later in the season, it has a grassier flavor than typical Chinese green teas.
- Taiping Houkui
Grown in Anhui province. Uses a cultivar with an unusually large leaf. The production process flattens the tea leaves, creating the so-called "two knives and a pole" shape from the leaves and stem.
- Xinyang Maojian
A type of maojian tea grown in Xinyang, Henan province. Maojian teas are harvested by plucking a bud and one leaf together.
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2017)|
Green tea, called nokcha (녹차; 綠茶) in Korean, can be classified into various types based on several different factors. The most common is the flush, or the time of the year when the leaves are plucked (and thus also by leaf size).
Ujeon (우전; 雨前; lit. "pre-rain"), or cheonmul-cha (첫물차; lit. "first flush tea"), is made of hand-picked leaves plucked before gogu (20–21 April). The ideal steeping temperature for ujeon tea is 50 °C (122 °F).
Sejak (세작; 細雀; lit. "thin sparrow"), or dumul-cha (두물차; lit. "second flush tea"), is made of hand-picked leaves plucked after gogu (20–21 April) but before ipha (5–6 May). The tea is also called jakseol (작설; 雀舌; lit. "sparrow tongue") as the tea leaves are plucked when they are about the size of a sparrow's tongue. The ideal steeping temperature for sejak tea is 60–70 °C (140–158 °F).
Jungjak (중작; 中雀; lit. "medium sparrow"), or semul-cha (세물차; lit. "third flush tea"), is made of leaves plucked after ipha (5–6 May) until the mid May. The ideal steeping temperature for jungjak tea is 70–80 °C (158–176 °F).
Daejak (대작; 大雀; lit. "big sparrow"), or kkeunmul-cha (끝물차; lit. "final flush tea"), is made of tea leaves plucked in late May and after. It is usually made into tea bags or used in cooking. The ideal steeping temperature for daejak tea is 80–90 °C (176–194 °F).
The mode of preparation also differs:
- Ipcha (yeopcha)
The synonyms ipcha (잎차; lit. "leaf tea") and yeopcha (엽차; 葉茶; lit. "leaf tea") refer to loose leaf tea, often in contrast to tea in tea bags. As the words mean "leaf tea", they can also be used in contrast to powdered tea.
- Garucha (malcha)
The synonyms garucha (가루차; lit. "powder tea") and malcha (말차; 末茶; lit. "powder tea") refer to powdered tea.
Leaf teas are processed either by roasting or steaming.
- Deokkeum-cha (bucho-cha)
Roasting is the most common and traditional way of tea processing in Korea. Also translated into "pan-fried tea", the deokkeum-cha (덖음차; lit. "roasted tea") or bucho-cha (부초차; 麩炒茶; lit. "roasted tea") varieties are richer in flavour.
Steaming is less popular in Korean green tea processing, but the method is still used in temple cuisine. Tea prepared with steamed tea leaves, called jeungje-cha (증제차; 蒸製茶; lit. "steamed tea"), are more vivid in colour.
Banya-cha (반야차; 般若茶; lit. "prajñā tea") is one of the most renowned Korean green tea. The steamed tea is developed by Buddhist monks in Boseong. The tea is grown on sandy loam near mountains and sea. The word banya is a Korean transliteration of the Buddhist concept prajñā.
Jungno-cha (죽로차; 竹露茶; lit. "bamboo dew tea") is one of the most renowned Korean green tea. The roasted variety of tea is made of tea leaves grown among the bamboo in Gimhae, Hadong, and Jinju in South Gyeongsang Province.
Green tea can be blended with other ingredients.
Nokcha (green tea) blended with hyeonmi-cha (brown rice tea) is called hyeonmi-nokcha (현미녹차; 玄米綠茶; lit. "brown rice green tea").
Nokcha (green tea) blended with lemon is called remon-nokcha (레몬 녹차; lit. "lemon green tea").
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2017)|
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- Lee, Young Ho (2002). Ch'oŭi Ŭisun: A Liberal Sŏn Master and an Engaged Artist in Late Chosŏn Korea. Fremont, CA: Jain Publishing. p. 267. ISBN 9780895819505.
- Battle, Will (2017). The World Tea Encyclopaedia: The World of Tea Explored and Explained from Bush to Brew. Troubador Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-78589-313-1.
- Benn, James A. (2015). Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 978-988-8208-73-9.
- Chow, Kit Boey; Kramer, Ione (1990). All the Tea in China. China Books. ISBN 978-0-8351-2194-1.
- Heiss, Mary Lou; Heiss, Robert J. (2007). The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-58008-745-2.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Green tea.|
- NCCIH - Green Tea Side Effects and Cautions (From the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)