ALL ABOUT JAPANESE GREEN TEA
Japan is world-famous for its green tea production. No doubt they make the best green tea in the world because it is cultivated carefully from the best regions in Japan. Aside from this healthy beverage, do you know that green tea is also used in cooking, making desserts, and skincare products?
Let me share with you things and facts about green tea.
WHAT IS GREEN TEA?
Green tea’s scientific name is Camellia sinensis. All the tea products that we consume are all from the same plant. There are 4 types of green tea
- Sencha– is a type of Japanese ryokucha which is prepared by infusing the processed whole tea leaves in hot water.
- Gyokuro– is a type of shaded green tea from Japan. It differs from the standard sencha in being grown under the shade rather than the full sun.
- Matcha– is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves.
- Hojicha– When green tea leaves are roasted on a dry pan until it becomes brown, it becomes Hojicha and is relatively caffeine-free.
WHERE TEA GROWS IN JAPAN?
The four largest producing regions for Japanese green tea are Shizuoka, Kagoshima, Kyoto, and Mie prefectures. Although tea is grown throughout most of Japan excluding Hokkaido, green tea produced in commercial quantities requires certain climatic and geographic conditions in order to be viable.
The climate and soil in these areas are ideal for making teas especially Shizouka prefecture where the waters of Mt. Fuji provide good aeration and moisture retention properties to the soil in order for the roots to grow and spread. Green tea does not grow well in cold climates so most of it is grown from Southwestern Japan.
TIPS FOR GREEN TEA BREWING
To make a wonderful cup of tea, follow these important tips.
- Prepare hot water (not boiling) about 70-80C.
- Water should be enough for the portion you are drinking.
- Prepare a scoop of green tea leaves on the Japanese teapot (Kyusu).
- No direct pouring– pour into your teacup, then on the tea leaves inside the kyusu.
- Brew the tea for about 60 seconds. It can be as little as 45 seconds and as much as 90 seconds. If you brew a teabag, it takes up to 2 minutes.
- You can reuse it up to 2-3-4 times.
- Traditionally, smaller portions are preferred to achieve the right taste, aroma, temperature, and experience.
BENEFITS OF GREEN TEA
- It is full of antioxidants that are proven to fight cancers.
- Improves blood flow which is also good for brain activity.
- Helps a range of heart-related diseases such as high blood pressure.
- Reduces cholesterol.
- Creates better brain activity in the memory area of the brain.
- It is a wonderful alternative to sugary drinks if you’re planning to lose weight.
- Some studies have shown green tea to increase your metabolism (4-5%).
- Provides fresh breath and fights tooth decay. Green tea also contains Fluorine and Flavonoid.
- Contains Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, C, Amino acids, and phytochemicals.
FACTS ABOUT MATCHA
People are always confused about matcha. All matcha is green tea, but not all green tea is matcha? Do you know why?
- Cultivation is different from other green teas. It is grown in shade.
- It is a stone-ground whole leaf.
- The highest grade of matcha is used in tea ceremonies.
- The bitter ones are usually paired with wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets).
- Lesser grade of matcha is a popular ingredient for baking, matcha latte, and a variety of desserts.
Now that you learned some things about Japanese green tea, I recommend that it should be a part of your diet. It is one of the best food/beverages to consume because of its health benefits. I will also write some popular dessert recipes made from green tea in the future.