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Title: Green Tea
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Autumn_Heather
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(Date Posted:02/19/2009 20:47 PM)
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Green Tea

Green tea refers to tea that has undergone minimal oxidation. Green tea is a popular tea in China and Japan, and has also gained international prominence in recent years.

Generally green tea has a fresh, light taste. Some varieties have a taste reminiscent of grass. Green tea rarely brews as green - rather, the name refers to the color of its leaves, which are green. Green tea usually has a yellow appearance when brewed. The tea may have a yellow-greenish appearance when water is first poured.

Green tea is processed by drying, then are usually steamed to stop the oxidation process and to preserve its freshness.

Varieties of green tea

There are many varieties of green tea, separated by country of origin. Most green tea either originates from China or Japan.

Amongst the Chinese green tea varieties are:

Chun Mee, a green tea from the Zhejiang province. It has a dusty appearance and an acidic taste.

Gunpowder Tea, a green tea that is known for its pellet-like appearance and mint-like taste.

Longjing, a gentle and sweet-tasting green tea that is pan-fried to stop the fermentation process.

Amongst the Japanese green tea varieties are:

Gyokuro, a green tea known for its sweet and delicate flavor, and is known as the highest grade of tea made in Japan.

Matcha, a green tea that is used primarily in the traditional tea ceremony. Matcha tea leaves have had all stems and veins removed before being grounded by a fine powder. The tea bushes are also shaded away from sunlight for three weeks before harvesting, sweetening the taste of the tea.

Health benefits of green tea

Green tea can be helpful in the prevention of cancer, as it contains an antioxidant called polyphenols - or tannin - which is known to prevent damage to cells. Damage to body cells is an early sign of cancer. Tannin is known for its ability to help DNA cells reproduce accurately, thus preventing abnormalities from forming.

In particular, green tea has been shown to be beneficial for these types of cancer:

Medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor. Green tea was shown to inhibit its growth.

Prostrate and breast cancers in mice, and also induce regression of these cancers.

Green tea may also prevent or inhibit autoimmune diseases such as lupus and HIV/AIDS.

Green tea may help decrease cholesterol level in blood, may help prevent the build-up of cholesterol which causes blood vessels to narrow. This can therefore protect the drinker from high blood pressure and heart problems.
Information on specific green tea varieties

The following pages contained detailed information on specific varieties of green tea, including health benefits and preparation methods.

* Gunpowder Tea (Pearl Tea)
With a unique rolled, pellet-like appearance, learn all about Gunpowder Tea, including its taste, preparation and health benefits.
* Hyson Tea (Lucky Dragon Tea)
Usually made from young leaves with a long, twisted appearance, learn about the taste and preparation of Hyson Tea and some of its finer varieties.
* Matcha
A powdered green tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony and also as a green food dye, learn about the history, processing and serving of Matcha.
* White Tea
Contrary to popular belief, white tea is NOT when milk is added to tea! Read about this not-so-common type of unfermented tea that has many great health benefits.



Grow your own green tea!

Did you know that you can grow your own green tea plants at home? The website supplies camellia sinensis tea plants and provides information and instructions for harvesting, drying and brewing you own green tea, fresh from the plant!

Gunpowder Tea (Pearl Tea)

Despite its explosive-sounding name, gunpowder tea is not actually made of gunpowder! The tea is so named because its rolled, pellet-like appearance is similar to gunpowder. It is one of the best known varieties of Chinese green tea. Gunpowder tea is rolled to preserve the freshness of the leaves.

Gunpowder tea may also be referred to as pearl tea.

Properties of gunpowder tea

Gunpowder tea is a green tea with a thick, strong taste that has been described as being like soft honey. There is usually a smoke-like flavor to the tea and a slight copper aftertaste. Most forms of gunpowder tea have a taste reminiscent of grass, although some forms may have a minty or pepper-like taste.

When brewed, gunpowder tea has a yellow appearance.
Origin and production of gunpowder tea

Gunpowder tea originates from China, mostly Pingshui in the Zheijing Province.

To create its distinctive appearance, the leaves are withered, then steamed and rolled into small pellets. The pellets are rolled tightly but carefully, to prevent breaking the veins in the leaves. The pellets are then dried.

Most gunpowder tea pellets are now rolled by machine, but the highest grades are still hand-rolled. A good general rule is - the larger the pellets, the lower the quality of the tea. High-grade gunpowder tea will feature very small, tightly-rolled pellets.

Preparation of gunpowder tea

Ideally, gunpowder tea should be drunk from glass or porcelain tea-ware. Both the tea cup and the teapot should be rinsed with hot water beforehand. As gunpowder tea pellets will expand when in contact with water, care should be taken with the number of pellets used. Normally, one to two teaspoons of gunpowder tea should be used per 150ml of hot water.

The best water temperature to use is between 70°c (158°F) to 80°c (176°F). For the first and second brewing, the leaves should be steeped for one minute. The time should be gradually extended with subsequent brewing.

Gunpowder tea can be drunk straight from the tea leaves. Milk should not be added to gunpowder tea. There are, however, other ways of drinking the tea as well.

Moroccan mint tea is a variant of gunpowder tea, and is made from a mixture of gunpowder tea, sugar and mint. The sugar and mint are added after brewing to create a refreshing, light taste.

Gunpowder tea is recommended as a compliment to strong-tasting food.

Health benefits of gunpowder tea

Gunpowder tea has mild astringent qualities - that is, it is able to draw together or constrict tissues. This makes Gunpowder Tea useful for ailments such as digestive problems and indigestion.

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Autumn_Heather
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RE:Green Tea
(Date Posted:02/19/2009 20:48 PM)

Hyson Tea (Lucky Dragon Tea)

Hyson tea is a green tea from China. It is also known as Lucky Dragon Tea. Lucky Dragon Tea is actually a variety of Hyson which has a light, almost ethereal flavor. Lucky Dragon Tea is known as a fine variety of Hyson Tea.

Hyson tea is usually made from young leaves and Hyson tea leaves have a long, twisted appearance. The leaves are thinly rolled, almost resembling twisted thread.

Generally, Hyson tea is tea of mediocre quality and is considered a low-grade tea. The name 'Hyson' translates as "flourishing spring". However, despite the fact that Hyson tea is seen as low-quality, the tea was highly prized during the 18th Century by the British. It was so highly prized that the British tea tax was higher for Hyson than other teas.

Hyson tea has a greenish-yellow color with good body and a smooth, refreshing taste.

Preparing Hyson tea

Hyson tea can be drunk both hot and cold.

For hot Hyson tea, it is recommended that 1 teaspoon be used per cup, which should be placed in the pot. Pour boiling water into the pot and allow the tea to brew for 3-5 minutes before pouring into the cup.

Hyson tea should be drunk on its own. Milk or sugar is not required and is actually undesirable. As Hyson tea is of low quality, it is quite easy to over-brew the tea, hence creating a strong-tasting, even bitter tea.

For cold Hyson Tea, 6-8 teaspoons of tea should be used for 5-6 cups. The tea should be allowed to brew for 5-7 minutes before being poured into a pitcher. 6 teaspoons of sugar should then be added.

Cold Hyson tea can also be poured over ice, or ice can be placed into the pitcher. Cold Hyson tea can be garnished with a slice of lime or lemon.

Matcha

Matcha is a powdered green tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha is also used as a green food dye (such as for Japanese noodles such as mochi and soba). It is also used to prepare green tea icecream.

Matcha is also known as Maccha. The name literally translates as "rubbed tea", in reference to the grounding method used to create its appearance.

Matcha has a sweet taste and has a bright green, talc-like, powder appearance.

History of Matcha

Powdered tea was first invented in China during the Song dynasty (960-1276). It became a sacrament in Chan Buddhism, which was later imported to Japan and became Zen. When Chan Buddhism was imported into Japan, powdered tea was also imported into the country.

In the 16th century, tea master Sen no Rikyu formulated the rules of Japanese tea ceremony which incorporated the use of Matcha. By this time, powdered tea had been forgotten in China.

Processing of Matcha

Unlike most tea, the processing of Match begins several weeks before harvesting. Before harvesting, the tea plants are shielded from direct sunlight. This causes the leaves to turn a darker shade of green, and results in a sweeter-tasting tea.

After harvesting, the leaves are dried using either one of two methods, and the resultant tea is labeled differently. Tea leaves that have been rolled out before drying are called gyokuro tea. Tea leaves that have been laid flat to dry are called tencha.

It is through tencha that Matcha is made: Matcha is made from tencha that has been stone grounded into powder.

Serving of Matcha

Matcha is served in the Japanese tea ceremony, with a complex set of rules. However, Matcha is not solely confined to the Japanese tea ceremony and can be served using a simpler method.

The basic method is to place a small amount of Matcha into a tea bowl, followed by warm water that has not reached boiling point. The water and tea is then whisked, traditionally using a whisk made from bamboo.

A strong-tasting Matcha is known as koicha, while a mild-tasting Matcha is known as usucha.

White Tea

Contrary to popular belief, white tea is not when milk is added to tea, but rather refers to a form of unfermented tea. Similar to green tea, the tea does not undergo full oxidation.

White tea is not commonly found, but has several health benefits. Research has shown it has more cancer-fighting antioxidants than green tea, and also less caffeine than other varieties of tea.

White tea has a light and sweet flavor, with none of the "grassy" undertones sometimes found in Green Tea. White Tea is the lightest and mildest of all teas. The leaves have a white or grey color. When brewed, the tea is pale yellow to light red in color.

White tea is also known as White Peony, Golden Moon, Silver Needle and White Cloud.

Production of white tea

Unlike other teas, the leaves are harvested before they are fully open. In this state, the buds are covered by white hair. The white hair on the buds is what gives white tea its name. Only certain leaves are selected, with the ideal being two leaves wrapped around a new shoot.

The leaves are lightly steamed, then dried in the sun. After drying, the leaves are sorted again, and the best leaves are packed and sold.

This process of production ensures that white tea maintains its freshness and maximizes its health benefits.

Health benefits of white tea

White tea has several health benefits:

Firstly, white tea has less caffeine than other types of tea. A cup of White Tea contains 15mg of caffeine, compared to 20mg in green tea and 40mg in black tea.

White tea may be useful in cancer prevention. White tea has been proven to have more anti-oxidants called polyphenols than green tea, which can help prevent cancer. One research showed that white tea was generally more effective in preventing damage to DNA cells - this damage is an early indication of cancer.

White tea may also have an anti-bacterial and anti-viral effect. Studies have indicated that white tea may be helpful in halting the growth of bacteria that cause pneumonia, dental problems and other infections. In the same study, white tea was shown to be more effective than green tea in inactivating viruses.

Generally it appears that white tea can stimulate the immune system to fight disease. White tea can also prevent diseases from occurring, by halting their progress in the beginning stages.

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