March 30, 2011

All About Japanese Green Tea

Japanese green tea was originally derived from China. Once in Japan, this tea was consumed as medicine in Buddhist templates. And the Samurai even started to drink the tea.

Some centuries later, green tea seeds were brought from China into Japan. Once the populace began to drink the tea regularly, the health benefits of the tea was more widely known. In China, the tea was grown in the shade, then streamed, ground, and dried into a powder. By the 15th century, green tea was commonly consumed in Japan by the Japanese people.

Today, Japanese green Tea is the secondly largest tea exporter in the world.

Green tea is one of the most well known teas in the world. Essentially, green tea is one of the most healthy beverages you can drink.

The best-known grades of Japanese green tea are:

Gyokuru - this grade is the highest. The leaves are factually grown in the shade, and it has a pale green colour.
Kabusecha - The leaves are grown in the shade too, although not for as long as Gyokuru. It has a delicious flavour.
Sencha - the most widely green tea to use in Japan. The leaves are directly exposed to sunlight.
Tamaryokucha - This grade has a tangy taste (like berries) and an almondy aftertaste. It is popular as Guricha.
Bancha ('coarse tea') - this grade is not made of leaves, as the other varieties, but from the trimmed leftover twigs of the tea plant.
Kamaricha (pan-fried tea) - this grade is not undergoing the same steam treatments like most other varieties, so the taste is not as bitter.

Each type has different Steeping times. It could be up till 3 minutes, and as the same short as 30 seconds. The lower quality teas need to steep longer. Higher quality Japanese green teas are commonly given a shorter steep that is repeated until 2 or 3 times. And like ordinary leaf tea, or tea bags, it is very good idea to heat the teapot before steeping or brewing.

The benefits of drinking Japanese green tea:

Japanese green tea helps to prevent cancer. Mortality rates from cancer are low in Japan and especially low in Shizuoka where the consumption of green tea is highest.  

Japanese green tea restricts the increase of blood cholesterol. The catechins in green tea restrict the build up of blood cholestrol.

Japanese green tea controls high blood pressure. Green tea lowers the blood sugar level. Green tea has the capability of lowering blood sugar levels.  

Japanese green tea can help to suppress ageing. Powerful antioxidising agents such as vitamin E and vitamin C restrain the ageing process, green tea contains both these vitamins. The main active ingredient of green tea, catechin, is thought to be a far stronger antioxidant than the two vitamins, adding to the strong weight of evidence that suggests green tea makes you look younger.

Japanese green tea refreshes the body. Japanese green tea contains caffeine which has a strong stimulating effect. Green tea has an advantage over coffee because the green tea caffeine combines with catechin to produce a rather milder, more natural, effect.

Japanese green tea deters food poisoning and has the ability to kill certain bacteria.

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