India and China were among the first countries in the world to cultivate tea. China has been using it medicinally for about 5000 years. Tea was once considered a luxury beverage and import but has since become a daily part of our lives from the cup of tea with breakfast to an afternoon tea with friends.
Green tea as well as other varieties such as black tea and oolong tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant which was discovered over 4500 years ago in China. Since its discovery it has been used medicinally in the prevention of diseases, and aesthetically as practiced in the art of tea ceremony in Japan.
Green tea is more commonly consumed in Asian countries, in particular China and Japan, whereas black tea is generally preferred in Western and European countries with the most common varieties being English breakfast, Earl Grey and Darjeeling. In Japan and China, green tea is a daily part of their life and indeed their culture.
Today, many millions of people have discovered the taste and health benefits that green tea provides. Green tea is often recommended by doctors and scientists to be your primary drinking beverage second to water.
Green tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea is harvested. Tea leaves can either be grown under the sun or in the shade. Unlike other tea varieties such as black tea, green tea is then steamed (to prevent oxidation). The steaming process allows the leaves to retain their green colour and preserve the antioxidants present. The leaves then undergo a drying and rolling process. Stems and debris are then removed to produce the finest quality tea leaves.
Matcha (powdered tea) undergoes a grinding process where it is ground into a powder. Only the inner, fine part of the leaf is used in the production of powdered green tea.
With Hojicha (a brownish-green tea), the leaves are roasted. Hojicha has a roasted, less bitter taste than most green teas and has very little caffeine content.
Green tea does not stay as fresh as long as other teas. It also needs to be carefully packaged. It is usually sealed in an airtight/vacuum, foil package to ensure that oxidation does not occur.
Modern science is beginning to tell us what Asian tradition has known for centuries, that tea is good for you. From reading everything we can get our hands on, it is safe to summarize that there are strong anti-oxidants (polyphenols) in tea that can be a benefit in many ways. Studies have been done across the globe that show tea will fight against cancer, aging, bacteria, heart disease and help with digestion and weight loss. While green tea has received by far the most attention recently, both oolong and black teas have studies supporting their own distinctive claims.
Even with all of the studies that have been done, it is still quite possible that the best health benefit of drinking tea is the simple act of taking time out of your busy day to appreciate the flavors and aroma of this wonderful beverage.
Tea Tone Plus has combined both green tea extract and raspberry ketone. Click here to read the complete review.
Kou Tea is a combination of Oo-long Tea, Pu-reh Tea, and Green Tea. Click here to read complete review.