What is green tea?
Green tea has always been a popular choice of beverage in Asia, but in recent years consumption in the West has been growing. The range and availability of green tea has made it a popular choice particularly in Britain, with approximately 15% of tea drunk now green tea.
Green tea is made from the unoxidised leaves, after picking, the leaves are heated to destroy the enzymes that cause oxidation & fermentation. Originating in China, green tea is now produced in many cultures throughout Asia.
Why is green tea so popular?
Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, its low caffeine levels and beneficial antioxidants have led to it being viewed as a "healthy" option in the west. Green tea is rich in catechin polyphenols, in particular epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a powerful antioxidant. EGCG is purported to be around 100 more times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E at protecting cells from harmful influence.
There have been many studies which report further health benefits of green tea too, such as the ability to lower cholesterol or to delay deterioration caused by Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Above all, green tea is a refreshing and enjoyable drink which is easily available in a huge range of flavours.
Steeping green tea
Many people complain of green teas bitterness, but a good quality leaf, correctly steeped should never taste bitter. The length of time and temperature required for steeping varies with different teas. Steeping too hot or for too long will result in a bitter brew, regardless of the initial quality; this is because the leaves will release an excessive amount of tannins. High-quality green teas can be steeped multiple times.