Chinese Green Tea
Origin of Green Tea
According to Chinese legend, the story of Green Tea began almost 5000 years ago in 2737 BC when Emperor Shen Nung, who was known at that time as the "Divine Healer", always boiled his water before he would drink it. He had noticed that his subjects who boiled their water before drinking it seemed to have longevity and better health. One afternoon, as he knelt before his boiling water, some leaves from a nearby tree blew into the pot. The Emperor noted a delightful aroma and, upon sipping the beverage, proclaimed it as "heaven sent". Green tea has been the beverage of choice among the Chinese elite intellects and bureaucrats who usually have the means to maintain an affluent dining habit. Historically, freshly plucked tea leaves were used directly for tea brewing or lightly heat-processed for preservation of the "health ingredients" if not consumed immediately. The word "tea" always means green tea in the "Middle Kingdom".
Processing Green Tea
The process for making green tea is the shortest. Withering is done first, but this step might be omitted. Rolling the leaves to break the membranes for oxidation is skipped, hence the oxidation process is also skipped. After withering, the leaves are pan fried or fired to prevent oxidation from occurring. The last step is to roll the leaves and dry them one last time for its final shape. The green tea leaves usually remain green.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has long been used by the Chinese as medicine to treat headaches, body ache, poor digestion, and improve well-being and life expectancy.
Green tea leaves are potent in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Unlike other types of tea, green tea is processed differently. In green tea, the leaves are not allowed to oxidize but instead are steamed. This process allows the natural ingredients inculuding EGCG in the leaves to be preserved. Other types of tea were not nearly as successful as green tea in inhibiting the cancerous cells. Green tea was approximately ten times more potent than the other types. A study suggests that consumption of four to five cups of green tea may slow cancer. Previous studies have found a lower incidence of cancer in those who consume this amount of green tea but the exact compound that produced this cancer inhibition was unknown. All tea comes from the same botanical source.
Links are being made between the effects of drinking green tea and the "French Paradox." For years, researchers were puzzled by the fact that, despite consuming a diet rich in fat, the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans. The answer was found to lie in red wine, which contains resveratrol, a polyphenol that limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. In a 1997 study, researchers from the University of Kansas determined that EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol, which may explain why the rate of heart disease among Japanese men is quite low, even though approximately seventy-five percent are smokers.
A University of South Florida Green Tea health study reported that Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), the most abundant flavonoid in green tea, exhibited antimicrobial activity and had a protective effect against respiratory infection. Additional green tea health studies also confirm suggest that green tea may have strong antimicrobial activity and that green tea may provide possible benefits in fighting bacteria, viruses and food spoilage.
University of Kansas health researchers published a comprehensive review of green tea health studies reported since 1970 that examine the potential of green tea to provide a number of preventative actions in human health. The many reported possible therapeutic benefits of green tea consumption include reductions in risk for: dental carries, infection, inflammation, x-ray irradiation, some types of tumor development, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disorders.
New evidence is emerging that green tea can even help dieters. In November, 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.
Of course, Green Tea also have medical benefits that comes with any Chinese tea
reducing harmful effects from cigarettes smoking
stimulating nerve centre and the process of metabolism
Caffeine Content of Green Tea
In general Green Tea contains less Caffeine per serving than black tea and Oolong Tea. Please note that in the table below, coffee refers to brewed coffee, not instant coffee. The Caffeine strength of instant coffee is only half that of brewed coffine, i.e. slightly stronger than black tea. Decaffeinated tea is widely available in the United States.
|Caffeine Content Comparisons|
|The following is the
approximate caffeine content
of various beverages
|Milligrams of Caffeine|
|Coffee (5 oz. cup)
||40 - 170
|Cola (12 oz. can)
||30 - 60
|Black Tea (one tea bag)
||25 - 110
|Oolong Tea (one tea bag)
||12 - 55
|Green Tea (one tea bag)
||8 - 30
|White Tea (one tea bag)
||6 - 25
|Decaf Tea (one tea bag)
||1 - 4
|Herbal Tea (one tea bag)
|*Assumes 8 ounces of water per tea bag|
Famous of Green Tea
Longjing - A Chinese famous tea from Hangzhou, in fact the most famous tea. It is pan fried and has a distinctive flat appearance. Falsification of Longjing is very common and most of the tea on the market is in fact produced in Sichuan and hence not authentic Longjing. It is also known as Dragon Well.
Hui Ming - Named after a temple in Zhejiang.
Long Ding - A tea from Kaihua County known as Dragon Mountain.
Hua Ding - A tea from Tiantai County and named after a peak in the Tiantai mountain range.
Qing Ding - A tea from Tian Mu, also known as Green Top.
Gunpowder - A popular tea also known as zhucha. It originated in Zhejiang but is now grown elsewhere in China.
Yu Lu - A steamed tea known as Jade Dew made in the Japanese style
Xin Yang Mao Jian - A Chinese famous tea also known as Green Tip.
Bi Luo Chun - A Chinese famous tea also known as Green Snail Spring from Dong Ting. As with Longjing falsification is common and most of the tea marketed under this name may, in fact, be grown in Sichuan.
Rain Flower - A tea from Nanjing.
Yun Wu - A tea also known as Cloud and Mist.
Chun Mee - Originally a tea in the shape of eyebrows from Jiangxi, it is now grown elsewhere.
Da Fang - A tea from Mount Huangshan also known as Big Square
Huangshan Mao Feng - A Chinese famous tea tea from Mount Huangshan.
Lu An Guapian - A Chinese famous tea also known as Melon Seed.
Hou Kui - A Chinese famous tea also known as Monkey tea.
Tun Lu - A tea from Tunxi District.
Huo Qing - A tea from Jing County, also known as Fire Green.
Green Tea Uses
While there are numerous Chinese green tea benefits, traditionally there are also many green tea uses, not just as a healthy beverage, but as a skin wash, a mouthwash, and as a main ingredient in tea folk remedies.
Green tea mouthwash: Trying to find green tea mouthwash to buy? The traditional way is to simply place 1-3 grams of loose or whole green tea leaves in a cup and add hot (not boiling) water. As soon as it's cool enough, rinse your mouth with the tea. Use as often as you like. Cleans your teeth and prevents tooth decay and problems like gingivitis.
Green tea cleansing skin care wash: Here's another of the traditional green tea uses - to cleanse and cool your face or body skin. Can also be used in cases of swelling, inflammation and itching, such as from insect bites and sunburn. Steep 6 grams of loose or whole green tea leaves in a bowl of hot (not boiling) water. When cool, apply the leaves directly to the skin or use the tea water to wash the skin.
Green tea and weight control: It is generally believed in China that you can drink green tea to lose weight. For thisreason it is not uncommon for thin people to be advised not to drink too much tea. A particular kind of tea (Pu Er Tea) from Yunnanprovince in China is reknowned for its ability to benefit digestion, reduce fat and treat obesity. Steep 6 grams of the tea in a cup of hot (not boiling) water for 10 minutes. Drink throughout the day by topping up the cup with fresh, hot water as required. Cover the cup when not in use.
Medicinal green tea infusions: As mentioned, above, green tea is a common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicinal teas, for example:
Green tea and honey - constipation remedy
Green tea, garlic and brown sugar - to kill germs and resolve toxins
Green tea, chrysanthemum flowers and honey - for headache, dizziness and sore eyes
How to make green tea (cup)
Boil water (use as pure a water as possible and a non-plastic kettle) then let it cool for a few minutes.
Place required amount of whole green tea leaves in the cup & add a small amount of hot water. Swish the water around to wash the tea leaves, then tip it out.
Top up the cup with hot water & let steep for 2-3 minutes before drinking.
Re-use the leaves up to 3 times throughout the day by topping up the cup with fresh, hot water each time. Cover the cup when not in use.
With the interest in Chinese green tea benefits increasing in the West, more studies are being done to verify the traditional claims from China. However, Chinese people don't require scientific proof of the benefits of green tea - they already know. After all, it's been trial-and-error tested by literally millions of tea drinkers over at least the last two thousand years.
Chinese Tea Culture: