White & Green Tea
Unlike black tea, green teas are not oxidised. The manufacturing process varies according to country of origin. In China, when producing green tea, the freshly plucked tea leaves are heated in large pans at a temperature of approximately 80 degrees Celcius right after harvesting. In Japan, the freshly plucked leaves are steamed over hot water for a moment. This is how fermentation is interrupted and leaves keep their natural green colour.
After heating/steaming the tea is rolled up loosely and then immediately dried and packed. Green tea is available in many variants whether small and round with long, light green leaves or dark green and wiry - not to mention the variations in taste.
Preparation of green tea is important or the taste can be somewhat bitter. The tannin in green tea is released faster than in black tea. In order to avoid this bitter taste it is necessary to use water cooler than boiling. There are two methods.
- Boil the water once and let it cool down to 80 - 90 degrees Celcius. In the case of Japanese teas, the water can be cooled further to 60 - 70 degrees Celcius
- Add cold water to your teapot first, then top up with boiling water. This method isn't exact but it's easier than using a thermometer and will certainly make a difference to taste
Green tea can be infused several times from the same leaves. Take care with brewing instructions, they're listed by each tea.
Green teas are fast gaining recognition for their health-giving properties. The benefits of green tea are said to include helping reduce the incidence of cancer, inhibit the increase of blood pressure and blood sugar, lower cholesterol and kill various bacteria.
Green tea contains a small amount of caffeine.