First appearing as early as 5,000 years ago, Green Tea is the oldest category of Chinese Tea. The original processing of the tea was quite simple. People either boiled the tea leaves straight from the tree, or sun-dried tea leaves for future use. While the processing methods have changed over the centuries it still resembles its ancient ancestor in that it is not fermented and only very slightly oxidized. This allows the tea to retain more of the original taste of the leaf.
Every type of Green Tea comes from the same species of tree. It is the processing techniques that make each variety unique. Green Tea has the largest number of varieties, each with its own unique flavor and aroma. The teas take on many different shapes and sizes during the processing technique. When picking the tea, great importance is placed on the leaves chosen. Only the buds are picked and the best tea is picked during the spring. There is a festival in China known as the Qing Ming Festival. The leaves picked before this festival make the best tea. These teas are called pre-Qing Ming Teas. The pickers begin their day before dawn. It is imperative that the tea is picked before the sun hits the leaves. Since time is valuable, the pickers need to pick with great speed, as well as accuracy. Each kilogram of tea requires tens to hundreds of thousands of buds. This gives you an idea of the work involved. Due to its labor intensiveness, most teas are now picked by machine. The machine is operated by hand to ensure that only the buds are picked. Some teas are still picked by hand, but they are only the finest, and subsequently, most valuable teas. After the tea is picked, it is allowed to wither several hours on racks to wither. The fresh leaves are very stiff and have little aroma. The withering softens the leaves and brings out the flavor. The tea master constantly smells the leaves to determine when to begin the next process. The tea leaves are then heated to remove moisture and stop enzymes that cause oxidizing. There are several ways to do this. The most common way is to pan fry the tea. The leaves are put into a wok with a carefully controlled heat source. The leaves are then kneaded and rolled while being dried. Another technique is to roast the leaves. They are pressed and rolled before being roasted. Some teas are steamed. The leaves are steamed to stop oxidation and fermentation and then dried. The least common way is to sun dry the leaves. These teas are usually compressed into shapes.
Purchasing Green Tea
The most important aspect of purchasing Green tea is the date it was processed. The tea only has an eighteen month shelf life and that is only if it is properly stored. If purchasing Chinese Tea in a shop, ask to try the tea before purchasing it. Look at the tea to ensure that it consists of whole unbroken leaves that look attractive. If the leaves are broken, or look inconsistent, or sloppy, the tea is undoubtedly of poor quality. You should also smell the tea. It should have a lovely fragrance. If you must purchase your Chinese tea online, make sure that you are purchasing it from a reputable dealer that guarantees his products. If possible purchase tea from someone who has direct access with tea processers that way you can be sure that your tea is the freshest, and usually means that the tea is of higher quality.
Storing Green Tea
It is imperative that you store your tea properly owing to the fact that it has a shelf life of only eighteen months. When purchased, the tea should be in a vacuum sealed bag. When you receive your tea, you should put it in the refrigerator. When you want to open the bag, you should let the tea return to room temperature. This keeps it from getting condensation. After you have opened the bag, you should keep the tea leaves in an airtight container with as little air as possible in it. This can be accomplished by keeping it in a bag that you have squeezed the air out of. A more attractive option is to purchase a container that has an airtight seal and keep your tea in it. Many people keep their leaves in a sealed bag and the bag in an attractive container. Whatever your choice, make sure that the bag or container you put the tea in is odor free and stored in a cool place. Do not store the tea in an area with high heat or aromas, such as a kitchen.
Enjoying the tea
Many people who try it for the first time find the tea a little thin. It is usually because they do not yet know how to appreciate it. In today's modern society we rush through life and do not stop to savor what we are doing. The tea has many layers of subtle flavors that are easily missed. Once a person stops and slowly sips the tea, they will find that the tastes swirl around the mouth leaving a wonderful and long lasting fragrance. One of the things I find so wonderful about tea is that it allows you to stop what you are doing and gives you a break from the world racing around you. When drinking any kind of Chinese Tea, stop and truly enjoy the tea before you. It allows you, even if for a brief moment, to ignore the world and truly savor life. This is the magic of tea.
Types of Green Tea
There are thousands of types of Green Tea. Here we will discuss the most famous ones. Each type has its own unique history, culture, and legends. We will delve into them because we feel they are a very important part of the culture of Green Tea. Click the link below to learn more about these teas and their stories.
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How to Brew Green Tea
One of the simplest of brewing techniques, This tea can be brewed quickly for easy enjoyment, but there are also beautiful brewing ceremonies which add a touch of elegance and beauty to the Green Tea experience.
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Green Tea Health Benefits
Although the Chinese have known about it for centuries, recent scientific reasearch have discovered many health benefits of this type of tea. The tea has high levels of antioxidants and is good for blood pressure and cancer prevention.
Click here to learn more about the health benefits of these teas
Green Tea for Sale
We offer some the finest teas available. Some of these teas are available seasonally because many of these teas have a shelf life and we refuse to sell old teas. We here at Chinese-Tea-Culture.com are very particular about the teas we drink and if we wouldn't drink it ourselves, we refuse to sell it to our customers. We would rather lose money than lose your trust.
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