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Japanese green teas

Japanese green tea

Genmaicha green tea

Green tea is so ubiquitous in Japan that it is more commonly known as “tea” and even “Japanese tea although it was invented in China during the Song Dynasty, and brought to Japan by Myoan Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist priest who also introduced the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. Types of tea are commonly graded depending on the quality and the parts of the plant used as well as how they are processed. There are large variations in both price and quality within these broad categories, and there are many specialty green teas that fall outside this spectrum. The best Japanese green tea is said to be that from the Uji region of Kyoto. Shizuoka Prefecture.

Gyokuro (Jade Dew)

Selected from a grade of green tea known as Ten-cha, Gyokuro’s name refers to the pale green colour of the infusion. The leaves are grown in the shade before harvest, which alters their flavour. Matcha (rubbed tea) A high-quality powdered green tea used primarily in the tea ceremony. Matcha is also a popular flavour of ice cream and other sweets in Japan.

Sencha (broiled tea)

A common green tea in Japan made from leaves that are exposed directly to sunlight. Genmaicha (Brown-Rice tea) maicha and roasted genmai (brown rice) blend.

Kabusecha (covered tea)

Kabusecha is sencha tea, the leaves of which have grown in the shade prior to harvest, although not for as long as Gyokuro. It has a more delicate flavour than Sencha.

Bunch (common tea)

Sencha harvested as a second-flush tea between summer and autumn. The leaves are larger than Sencha and the flavour is less full.

Hojicha (pan fried tea) A roasted green tea.

Kukicha (stalk tea)

A tea made from stalks produced by harvesting one bud and three leaves. Tamaryokucha A tea that has a tangy, berry-like taste, with a long ‘almondy’ aftertaste and a deep aroma with tones of citrus, grass, and berries.

Brewing

Generally, 2.25 grams of tea per 6 ounces of water, or about one teaspoon of green tea per cup, should be used. With very high quality teas like gyokuro, more than this amount of leaf is used, and the leaf is steeped multiple times for short durations. Green tea brewing time and temperature varies with individual teas. The hottest brewing temperatures are 180°F to 190°F (82°C to 88°C) water and the longest steeping times 2 to 3 minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 140°F to 150°F (60°C to 66°C) and the shortest times about 30 seconds. In general, lower quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, while higher quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter. Steeping green tea too hot or too long will result in a bitter, astringent brew. High quality green teas can and usually are steeped multiple times – 2 or 3 steepings is typical.

Caffeine Green teas have about a quarter the caffeine content, by liquid volume, of coffee.

Potential effects of green tea on health

History There is archaeological evidence that suggests that tea has been consumed for almost 5000 years, with India and China being two of the first countries to cultivate it. Green tea has been used as traditional medicine in areas such as India, China, Japan and Thailand to help everything from controlling bleeding and helping heal wounds to regulating body temperature, blood sugar and promoting digestion. The Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written by Zen priest Eisai in 1191, describes how drinking green tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs, especially the heart. The book discusses tea’s medicinal qualities, which include easing the effects of alcohol, acting as a stimulant, curing blotchiness, quenching thirst, eliminating indigestion, curing beriberi disease, preventing fatigue, and improving urinary and brain function. Part One also explains the shapes of tea plants, tea flowers, and tea leaves, and covers how to grow tea plants and process tea leaves. In Part Two, the book discusses the specific dosage and method required for individual physical ailments.

Unproven claims

Green tea has been credited with providing a wide variety of health benefits, many of which have not been validated by scientific evidence. These claims and any for which academic citations are currently missing are listed here:

  1. Stopping certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  2. The prevention and treatment of cancer
  3. Treating multiple sclerosis
  4. Preventing the degradation of cell membranes by neutralizing the spread of free radicals which occur during oxidation process.
  5. Reducing the negative effects of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by lowering levels of triglycerides and increasing the production of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
  6. Increasing fat oxidation (helps the body use fat as an energy source) and raising metabolism.
  7. Joy Bauer, a New York City nutritionist, says [the catechins in green tea] increase levels of the metabolism speeding brain chemical norepinephrine.
  8. Japanese researchers claim if you drink five cups of green tea a day, you’ll burn 70 to 80 extra calories. Dr. Nicholas Perricone, an anti-aging specialist, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show and told Oprah’s viewers they can lose 10 lbs. in 6 weeks drinking green tea instead of coffee
  9. Some green tea lovers restrict their intake because of the caffeine it contains — about half the amount as is found in coffee. Too much caffeine can cause nausea, insomnia or frequent urination.
  10. Drinking green tea mixed with honey can often have a soothing effect on a sore throat.
  11. In conclusion – it is very much up to you. We have customers that swear Japanese Green Tea is the finest elixir on earth. We have none that say otherwise. Do we drink it? Yes we do. Do we look good or feel good? We feel good certainly – how good we look is in the eye of the beholder.

 

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