Green Tea is the most popular tea in China and Japan. It tastes fresh and aromatic with delicate flavors. Chinese discovered green tea -Camellia Sinensis- in 3000 BC and Japanese Biddhist priests brought it to Japan from China by over a thousand years ago.
This tea has various medical effects. It is associated with weight reduction and slimming, improved heart function, dental health and regulating brain and nerve function.
Green tea is not oxidized and this is the main reason for green color and freshness of this tea. All different kinds of tea such as black, white, Oolong and green tea are from the same plant but each type has its own special processing.
Processing for green tea consists of picking, withering, heating, rolling, drying and sifting. An important stem in the process is heating or firing the leaves. Leaves change color and become darker through oxidation (reaction of enzymes with oxygen). During manufacturing process, growers stop the leaves from oxidation to preserve their green color. They do this in China by heating or pan firing. Workers put small quantities of leaves in pans or vats and heat them with wood, coal or electricity. They constantly stir the leaves in the hot vat so they don’t burn. In Japan this is done by steaming the leaves instead of pan firing. See processing of different types of tea here.
Green tea comes in different shapes like flat, curled, rolled into balls, needle-like or twists. China has so many varieties of this type of tea such as Longjing or Dragon Well, Huang Shan Mao Feng, Hyson and Chunmee.
There are usually three main types of Japanese green tea: Bancha, Sencha and Gyokuro. Hojicha is roasted Bancha tea leaves and Genmaicha is a mix of Sencha or Bancha with roasted tea kernels.