Recently Green and White Teas have enjoyed a huge consumption growth in the United States. It seems everyone is talking about them both for their vast array of purported healthy benefits and their amazing tastes. Last month, we focused on White tea so this month we’ll talk about that other increasingly popular tea – Green Tea.
Green Tea is minimally processed. It is first placed in a large "steamer" and heated to over 160° F. This process softens the leaves for the rolling stage and minimizes juice oxidizing. Next, the leaves are rolled and dried again until crisp. This rolling is repeated to keep the juices in the leaf resulting in their distinct flavor and giving the leaves their characteristic twist.
Many health benefits have been associated with drinking Green Tea including increased cognition, lowering LDL cholesterol, and decreased risk of cancer - just to name a few. Although the US Food and Drug Administration has rejected these proposed health benefits research is active in this area.
We simply enjoy the delicious taste of the delicate brew produced from Green Tea. But they must be properly brewed. Green Tea should not be exposed to boiling water or it will result in a noticeable bitter taste. Generally, it is recommended to brew Green Tea in 180º water and steep it for 2 minutes.
Preparation aside, the quality of your brew also depends on the specific tea used. Popular Green Teas include Chinese Dragon Well, Chinese Gunpowder, and Japanese Sencha. My personal favorite is Chinese Silver Sprout followed closely by Chinese Dragon Well. Silver Sprout has small twisted leaves that are tightly curled. Upon brewing they open up into long thin leaves. The brew is pale and much more delicate than many other Green Teas. It also has a very mild natural sweetness. If you haven’t tried Green Tea before or were unhappy with one that you did try I would recommend trying Silver Sprout but if you can’t find it, Dragon Well or Sencha are also great Green Teas to start experimenting with…