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What is Green Tea?
Green tea is the least oxidized or processed tea type. It is made from young tea leaves plucked towards the close of the flush or harvest season, after the production of white, oolong, and black teas. Although this tea originated in China, it is now widely produced in almost every tea growing region of the world. Fresh and organic green teas hold the most benefits.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Fresh loose leaf green teas are the favourites among fitness enthusiasts. Along with White tea, it is among the least oxidized of all teas. So, the best green teas have high antioxidants and are low in caffeine, in contrast to the high caffeine Black tea. The catechins and antioxidants in green tea leaves boost metabolism and act as anti-ageing agents helping you keep in shape. Numerous recent studies have demonstrated that the aqueous extract of green tea polyphenols contains antimutagenic, antidiabetic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and hypocholesterolemic properties.
Types of Green Tea
To manufacture green tea, freshly plucked tea leaves are heated at a very high temperature for a fixed period of time, followed by rolling and drying. However, fresh leaves can be heat-treated in a variety of ways, depending on the style of green tea desired. Further, green teas are not graded like black teas; instead tea producers have a grading system based on the style and the size of the finished leaf. Broadly, there’s the folded leaf green tea such as the Chinese Longjing and Japanese sencha, and the twisted leaf, such as the Chun Mee or Nepal’s Ilam greens.
Orthodox green tea offers a greater variety of fragrance and flavors that range from cooked vegetables and charred greens to grass, nuts, and citrus. This comes from the manufacturing stage, when slight changes in processing method can impact the chemical and aromatic composition of the green tea.
Indian green teas mostly hail from estates in Darjeeling, West Bengal. Darjeeling green teas are grown in high altitudes and hence have the unique astringent flavour to them. Nilgiri green teas have distinct vegetal notes and a very strong taste. There are some green tea flavors like Mint Green that are very popular and some which are blended with herbs like chamomile tea or basil green tea.