Like all true teas, green tea is a varietal of the evergreen Camellia sinensis bush. However, unlike black and oolong teas, which come from the same plant, green tea is not oxidized. While all teas are thought to offer a world of health-inducing benefits, green tea is considered to contain some of the strongest healing properties of all teas. Green tea is widely known for its powerful polyphenols, which are strong antioxidants.
Green tea originated in China, but production has since spread to Japan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. After green tea is harvested, it goes through a single-day, three-stage process of steaming or pan-frying, rolling, and firing to banish any bitter components and preserve the tea’s all-natural flavors and healing properties.
The sudden heat from steaming or pan-frying blocks the enzymes that would otherwise lead to oxidation. The leaves are then rolled on heated trays to reduce their moisture content, and then carefully fired—drying them until they retain just two-percent of their moisture. These methods are what causes green tea to retain its high levels of antioxidants, and what separates green tea from black and oolong teas.
The consumption of green tea began in China nearly 5,000 years ago. Legend has it that the Chinese emperor and “Father of Agriculture” Shen Nong discovered tea when he decided to rest in the shade of a Camellia tree, and began to boil some water to drink. Several leaves floated down into the boiling pot of water, and– intrigued by the appealing fragrance– he decided to take a sip. Thus, the first cup of tea was created.
Since that time, green tea has remained an integral part of Chinese culture throughout the nation’s history. Buddhist monks began using tea in their religious and meditative practices thousands of years ago, and eventually brought that tradition with them to Japan. This prompted the start of the sacred Japanese tea ceremony in the 1300s, which has continued even until modern times.
In the mid-1500s, Portuguese traders began importing tea into Europe. At the time, tea consumption was reserved solely for the upper crust of European societies, and was mostly consumed by the Dutch elite. As the years passed, tea eventually became a staple in all households, and was able to be enjoyed by members from all levels of society. As tea from the Camellia sinensis plant continued to spread across the globe, the distinction between green tea, black tea, and oolong tea continued to become more understood, and preferences for one or the other among cultures strengthened.
Today, green tea is consumed primarily in Asia, as well as in North America, Europe, and North Africa.
Green tea contains very low levels of caffeine, making it ideal for sipping at any time of the day. Green tea contains about the half the caffeine of black tea, and a quarter the caffeine of coffee.
Green tea is associated with some of the most significant health benefits of all teas from around the world. In traditional Chinese medicine, green tea has been used as a diuretic, as an astringent, and to improve heart health.
Research studies have shown that green tea can improve blood flow, lower cholesterol, and help to prevent conditions like high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.* Due to the powerful antioxidant properties of polyphenols found in green tea, some researchers believe that drinking green tea may be associated with cancer prevention. Other studies have demonstrated that green tea aids in healthy brain functioning, and may even block the plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease from forming.
Green tea is also thought to regulate the body’s blood sugar, soothe digestive issues, and boost the metabolism, aiding in weight loss. Incorporating green tea into your diet or participating in a green tea cleanse may help you to feel refreshed and reenergized. While green tea certainly has many positive health benefits, always consult with your doctor before sipping any herbal teas if you have any ongoing health conditions.
Steeping is Easy
- Fill the kettle with 6 oz. of fresh, filtered water and heat to just short of boiling.
- Steep tea bags for 1 to 3 minutes and full-leaf for 2 to 4 minutes.
- Experiment to find your favored steeping time. Enjoy Sip by Sip.
Correctly steeping green tea is an art form that has been carefully perfected over thousands of years. Watch this video to learn how to properly steep your green tea for maximum flavor and enjoyment.
It is no surprise that green tea is one of the most popular and commonly used teas in the world. Between the fresh, earthy flavor, the countless health benefits, and the rich history and traditions of using green tea, there is so much to enjoy with every sip. Browse our full assortment of green teas, ranging from powders to tea bags to loose-leaf.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.