Green Tea is usually referred to as ‘non-fermented’ or ‘semi-fermented’ tea. The leaves of the Camelia Sinensis plant are plucked and harvested by hand with great care being taken not to damage the leaves, which would start fermentation. It is important with green tea not to allow fermentation and to stop oxidation in order to ensure that the tea retains the all important polyphenols. The freshly plucked leaves are rushed from the fields to the first drying process, during which they are placed in thin layers on bamboo trays and left for a few hours to dry in the sun and warm air.
Green tea is then heat treated either by being Steamed, Pan-fried or Roasted. These different processes will prevent any further fermentation. Whether or not the leaves are pan fried or steamed does not seem to make any difference to the taste, but roasting gives a distinctly nut-like or smoky flavour. The leaves are then twisted or rolled into balls and left to dry and it is at this stage that the leaves turn a dull green. They are then finally separated by sifting and then graded and only at this stage can the green tea be blended with flowers, fruit and spices for different flavours and textures.
Green tea has a delicate, smooth taste that is similar to the leaf in its natural state. Green teas have very low levels of caffeine approximately 8.4mg per cup. (Compare this with coffee at 60 – 120mg or black tea 25 – 110mg)
If a man has no tea in him he is incapable of understanding truth or beauty.
Ancient Japanese saying