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Green teas create a refuge of calm on a bad day.
As you drink in their aroma and flavors, you easily slip into another world, without a care.
And with more types of green tea than any other tea, you can enjoy them over and over again…
The Main Types of Green Tea
Here are the most popular varieties of green tea. Each offers its own unique pleasures. And you’ll find a green that matches any mood:
Green Tea from China:
- Dragon Well (Lung Ching), green tea that requires a sword and shield. Okay, it just requires a pot and cup. It still tastes so fine, with a mellow flavor and bright infusion
- Gunpowder Green Tea, a smoke-tinged tea, good for Moroccan mint tea and named for its explosive taste and look (not used in actual guns)
- Jasmine Green Tea, the original flower-scented tea. When people think of Chinese tea, jasmine’s the first thing that comes to mind. Because there are so many jasmine teas, some hide their low quality with ungodly amounts of scent, but this jasmine has the perfect balance of tea & flower.
Green Tea from Japan:
- Sencha, perhaps the most famous Japanese green tea, good for everyday drinking and special occasions too
- Genmaicha, a hearty everyday tea with puffed rice inside– one could call it the delicious hearty breakfast of teas, or a robust family-oriented tea, or popcorn tea. Or one could call it Genmaicha in an effort to become fluent in Japanese
- Gyokuro-cha, the finest Japanese green, it uses only hand-picked leaves from the first Spring harvest, grown in the gentle shade. Bursts with umami, the mysterious fifth flavor you probably can’t taste because you grew up eating corn chips and sody pop. Not for chugging.
- Matcha, the green tea powder used in the ultra-sophisticated Japanese Tea Ceremony, Chado. Uses ultra-sophisticated leaves grown in the shade, harvested in the spring, ground into an ultra-refined dust using ancient stone boulders, and then cured in clay pots until the winter. Bitter, bracing, awe-inspiring. For some reason this keeps showing up in lattes, ice cream and health nuts’ morning regimen.
How to Make Green Tea
That doesn’t mean “get all up on” your tea! Just read the dang label.
As a general rule, green tea brews differently from a classic English tea. The black teas, like English Breakfast and Earl Grey, usually steep in just-about-boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Try this with green tea and you’ll get a bitter, cruel cup.
‘Most green teas prefer much cooler water and a shorter brewing time.
It also depends on where the tea was made.
Most Japanese greens take water with the first risings of steam– about 175 degrees F/80 degrees C. And then they brew between 30 seconds and a minute long. Some teas, like gyokuro, tend to be quite finicky. Follow the directions for that tea and then tweak it to get the flavor you desire.
Most Chinese teas likewise take just-steaming water, though for a longer period of time. A Dragon Well green tea, for instance, has hand-picked leaves larger than Japanese green teas. Because Japanese greens’ machine-picked leaves are smaller, they brew faster. Chinese green teas’ leaves open and unfold in the water. So allow two to three minutes to get the full flavor.
WIthin these guidelines, experiment to find the time you like the best. Read the label, read the books, go to Himalayan mountaintops and ask the sages. Then report back here!
What about the health benefits of green tea?
Chances are you’ve heard about green tea’s health benefits, like how it may fight cancer and keep your body running smoothly. Unfortunately, a lot of those benefits get blown out of all proportion by hype-addicted marketers. They’ll have you thinking a cup a day cures everything from aging to Zuska’s disease, like waving a magic wand.
Not quite. It’s a food, not a drug.
The good news, scientifically valid studies suggest green tea may help improve cholesterol, lower rates of certain cancers, and even improve dental health. So it’s often called a “superfood,” like almonds and blueberries.
And green tea is teeming with antioxidants. When you drink a cup of tea, polpyphenols like EGCG work in your body to defuse, “free radicals,” chemicals thought to contribute to disease and aging. Other famous antioxidants are Vitamins C and E.
Added to that, green tea caffeine is pretty low. Along with amino acid L-theanine, it actually can have a calming effect.
So, the bad news? More studies need to be done on a larger scale. The body’s an extremely complex system, and even science doesn’t understand all the chemical interactions inside. The good news? People have been drinking tea for thousands of years, and it’s always had a reputation as a healthy drink.
And you can check out my blog for the latest research, as well as the University of Maryland’s med center for research done up to now.
And green tea for weight loss?
The fad right now is “Chinese slimming tea” and “Chinese weight loss tea.” Which is funny, because China has never really had an obesity problem! Besides, when you see that green tea already has virtually no calories, then how can you make it diet?
Fortunately, green tea makes a perfect replacement for whatever you’re drinking now.
It has no calories, no fat. It fills you up and hydrates you.
Not only that, clinical trials conducted at the University of Geneva and the University of Birmingham suggest that green tea has a thermogenic effect. In other words, tea polyphenols and caffeine seem to work together to increase the body’s temperature and metabolism, thus burning off fat. Of course, more studies need to be done.
Does that mean if you drink tea all day and don’t exercise you’ll lose weight? Doubtful. It does mean that you should seriously consider adding some green tea to a weight loss regimen, with advice from a medical pro.
And when you do start the drinking, go for the finest green teas. Because you want to enjoy the drink…
The Art of Brewing and Tasting Tea
With all the research and hype about the benefits of green tea, it’s easy to forget that it’s a drink.
A delicious, soothing drink with thousands of years of rich history.
From Beijing’s ancient teahouses to the sophisticated Oolong teas of Taiwan, from Japan’s refined Tea Ceremony to the newer greens of Darjeeling, tea offers an endless wealth of things to enjoy. History types can get lost on the ancient Tea Trails of western China. Foodies can sample all the heady pleasures of single-estate teas.
And everyone can find the perfect tea for every occasion.
So try a few, find the ones you like best, and make your world that much richer.
And tell a friend!
Where to Buy Green Tea
You can go down to the local tea shop, except you likely don’t have one. And the tea at most supermarkets, not to mention coffee shops, leaves a lot to be desired. So when you’re looking for the best tea online to sell on TeaHawk.com, I selected the Art of Tea. Not only because of their Fair Trade organic teas and excellent selection, but for the sheer quality of their loose leaf tea.
And remember to check out the black teas, pu-erh teas, and teawares while you’re there! I mean, green tea is just about perfect… but having all the teas you could possibly want?
More than perfect.