Green Tea Origins:
Emperor Shen Nong holds the title as the first green tea steeper. The Chinese Father of Agriculture is said to have rested under a camellia tree, where he boiled water to drink. Succumbing to the season of Fall, some of the camellia eaves made it into his water, and thus green tea was born.
Green Tea Flavor Profile:
Also dependent on the type of green tea used, in general green tea renders a more grassy flavor, varying in sweetness, bitterness, and boldness.
Green Tea Benefits:
Widely known for it's numerous qualities, green tea continues to provide numerous health benefits all across the board. Most noticeably is it's polyphenol content. These antioxidants work to maintain and improve skin, digestion, heart, brain, immune, and liver health.
With a little under half the caffeine content as black tea, green tea typically contains 20mg of caffeine.
Steeping Green Tea:
Actual steeping specifics vary with the different types of green tea along with personal preference. But a generally green tea is best steeped in water heated between 158 and 175 F for 3-5 minutes, with 1 tsp per 8oz water.
Types of Green Tea:
Green tea has various ways of being processed, each of which aid in different benefits green tea has to offer.
Sencha: Due to shortened photosynthetic time, this first harvest of green tea retains high levels of Vitamin C and is arguably the most popular type of green tea.
Hojicha: After the green tea leaves are processed, they are then roasted over charcoal to produce Hojicha. This unique earthy flavored tea is a brownish red color with little to no bitterness.
Gyokuro: Known for it's fuller and sweeter taste, Gyokuro green tea is removed from sunlight a few weeks before harvest to reduce the amount of photosynthesis taking place. This allows the leaves to retain more vitamins and caffeine.
Tencha: Tencha is harvested in the same manner as gyokuro, but does not endure the rolling process. This makes tencha excellent for metabolic processes and greatly supports the immune system.
Matcha: Matcha is a powdered form of tencha, a process inspired by a Song Dynasty custom.
Funmatsucha: Very similar to matcha, funmatsucha is a powdered form of sencha. Funmatsucha however is not shaded prior to harvesting, allowing photosynthesis to continue longer leading to a more bitter taste.
Kukicha: This twig tea is made from the stems of green tea being processed, creating a lighter colored yellow cup of tea. Kukicha only contains 0.5-1% caffeine.
Bancha: After the first flush is harvested (sencha) the plants are allowed to grow back for a second harvest. This second harvest (bancha) renders a more bitter flavor but with more antioxidants.