Green tea is one of the most popular teas in the world. Many tea lovers and connoisseurs swear by its light, fine-tart flavour, its refreshing note and the many positive properties of green tea. It is highly esteemed, especially in Asia, and has become an integral part of the tea culture in many countries. Dive with us into the world of green tea, from China to Japan, from Sencha to Matcha, and discover what makes it so special.
WHERE DOES GREEN TEA COME FROM
It's true: black tea and green tea come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. The two varieties are also no different when it comes to the duck. It is only through the different processing of the harvested tea leaves that the different types of tea are created. In the case of green tea, they are dried and then briefly heated by hot steam or by roasting in pans over a fire. This prevents further oxidation, the plant's own enzymes are inactivated, thus the tea retains its natural ingredients and the tea gets its green colour. Like black tea, green tea is also rolled, but here only to make the tea leaf supple for further processing. A final drying removes the residual moisture down to 3 to 5 %.
WHERE IS GREEN TEA GROWN
Traditionally, the roots of the tea plant lie in China. The second largest country of origin of green tea is Japan, whose tea culture would be unthinkable without this infusion. For this reason, it is not surprising that today half of the world's demand comes from these two countries. Other green tea growing regions are in Taiwan and Sri Lanka. This is mainly due to the fact that the tea plants feel most at home at high altitudes in the tropics and subtropics. The high humidity there and the stable temperatures slightly below 20 degrees are the best conditions for the growth of particularly high-quality tea plants. This is why it is not possible to grow tea plants in Europe, except in Turkey and the Azores, where there are isolated tea plantations. Depending on the place of origin, the different tea varieties differ in their aromas. The flavours range from grassy-tart to fragrant-sweet.
WHAT TYPES OF GREEN TEA ARE THERE
This is probably the most important green tea in Japan. Sencha means "steamed", as the leaves are lightly steamed immediately after harvesting. Sencha is available in many different qualities, but the finer and darker the leaves, the higher the quality. The taste of this green tea varies greatly depending on the growing region. Sencha smells of fresh grass and often has a tart, slightly bitter aroma. But sweet, almost flowery aromas are also possible.
This strong and distant green tea from China owes its name not to its almost sour aroma, but to its special shape. Translated, it means "beautiful eyebrow". The leaves are rolled and slightly bent before final drying, giving them an appearance reminiscent of eyebrows.
The diamond among Japanese green teas. The name means "noble dewdrop" and fits perfectly to this very fine tea. Particularly characteristic of this emerald-green, luminous green tea is its delicate, sweetly fruity and noble taste.
This is also one of the most famous green teas from China. It gets its name from its very striking leaf shape, which is reminiscent of small gunpowder balls. Gunpowder tea tastes very intense and has a tart note. Due to its very high caffeine content, it has a very stimulating and invigorating effect. Before the leaves are rolled, the tea is roasted.
Matcha tea, an integral part of the Japanese tea ceremony, has established itself as an absolute trendy drink. It is made from a special green tea powder. For this purpose, the tea leaves are fully shaded four weeks before harvesting, which gives the tea its intense green colour. After harvesting, the tea leaves are steamed, dried and ground into a fine powder in stone mills. The matcha powder is infused with hot water (approx. 60-80°) in a bowl and foamed with a bamboo whisk. This produces an intense flavour with a slightly sweet, grassy note.
GREEN TEA EFFECT
In Japanese and Chinese tea culture, people have been swearing by its health-promoting effects for thousands of years. Green tea is also becoming increasingly popular here. This is also due to the multitude of positive properties and healing effects attributed to tea. For example, regular drinking of green tea is said to detoxify the body, lower the blood cholesterol level and improve the metabolism. According to studies, some ingredients in green tea (e.g. flavonoids, phenolic acids and coumarins) can protect against everyday diseases and have anti-inflammatory and blood pressure-lowering effects. The hot drink also contains no calories, but boosts the metabolism and fat burning.
GREEN TEA PREPARATION
This is the point that many tea novices quickly shy away from, as the preparation of green tea is considered to be particularly difficult. They say: one small mistake and the tea tastes bitter, is too watery or loses any positive effect. Yet brewing tea is not that difficult if you pay attention to a few points.
THE QUANTITY OF TEA
The right amount of tea is always a question of personal taste. First of all, follow the rule of thumb: one teaspoon of tea leaves for one cup of tea. For one litre of water, it is best to use three to four teaspoons. Then vary according to the variety and your personal preference.
THE TEA WATER
The right water temperature is probably the most important and most difficult part of making the perfect green tea. First, boil the water as usual with the kettle until it boils. Then you should wait a short while and let the water cool down to 60 to 80 degrees. This usually takes c. 5-10 minutes.
The infusion time, as well as the amount of tea leaves, depends on your personal taste. However, you should never leave the tea to brew for longer than three minutes in order to develop the optimal aroma. The short infusion time ensures a balanced and harmonious green tea without the risk of it becoming bitter.
Did you know: Green tea is characterised by the fact that it can be brewed several times. However, you must be careful to adjust the water temperature and the infusion time. In contrast to the first infusion, the temperature of the water should be around 80°C for the second infusion. In return, the infusion time is reduced to one minute to achieve the perfect green tea result. However, the tea leaves must not be allowed to dry out between the two infusions.