Green tea was originally from China. It is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, a type of shrub native to South and Southeast Asia.
White tea, oolong, and black tea are also made from the Camellia sinensis leaves, but for green tea, the leaves are steamed immediately after picking, thus reducing oxidation.
Green tea has about ¼ the caffeine of coffee.
Green tea is chock full of polyphenols, antioxidants that are very helpful in ridding the body of free radicals – unstable molecules that damage our cells.
Green tea has been claimed to help:
- Prevent cancer
- Lower LDL levels (bad cholesterol)
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease the risk of harmful clot formation causing heart attack and stroke
- Decrease inflammation
- Raise metabolism and burn fat
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Ease Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Eliminate bad breath
Loose leaf green tea likes to expand when steeped, so allowing for enough room is important. Investing in a tea pot specifically made for green tea is the best way to accomplish this.
Usual steeping times for green tea is 2-3 minutes. However, high quality teas, like the Japanese Gyokuro, require a shorter amount of time and cooler temperatures. Steep too long or too hot and your tea will taste bitter.
And the best green tea… sorry, but it can’t be found in those little pouches sold at the grocery store (my opinion). You have to get it in Asia. I’ve had “real” Japanese green tea in Japan, and it was soooo good! Unfortunately, now I’m spoiled, and I can’t drink the stuff in the tea bags here in the U.S.! ‘Sigh’