Chinese Green Tea 

Although different  teas may be produced by different processing techniques,the general  tea processing is achieved as follows: fresh tea leaves plucked

Green tea: Fixedor de-enzymed -Rolled -Dried steamed or pan-fried to inactivate oxidase) 

Yellow tea: Fixed -Rolled -Yellowed 闷黄-Dried(piled and smothered to auto-oxidize)
Dark tea: Fixed -Rolled -Pile
渥堆 -fermented -Dried(oxidized by the oxidases of resident microbes)
White tea: Withered -Air dried or baked Re-fired(with more fine hairs/flosses)
Oolong tea: Withered -Bruised (shaken)Partially fermented -Fixed -Rolled -Dried
Black tea:Fresh tea leaves -Withered -Rolled- Fully fermented- Dried(orthodox rolling
传统造型 or CTC红碎茶)

Green tea manufacturing  

It is worthy to note that different kinds of green tea have different requirements plucked young tea shoots. The common young tea shoots required are one budded two or three leaves,一芽二三叶 while those for famous high-quality green tea are usuallyone bud and one leaf一芽一叶, even just one bud一芽.In Japan, some high-quality green teas such as gyokuro and matcha are produced from the fresh tea leaves grown under90% shading遮荫 for 2 weeks and 40–50% shading for 1–2 weeks before being plucked,respectively. The quality of fresh tea leaves plays a key role in the characteristics of green tea.

In the harvesting season, the tender tea shoots are plucked by hand or a mechanical tea plucker and delivered to tea factories immediately. In order to prevent fermentation(the oxidation of catechizes儿茶素) and formation of the characteristic “green leaf, green liquor of green tea, the leaves are immediately fixed to inactivate the endogenous enzymes by steam or heat with pan frying, roasting, or baking. However,on the heavy harvesting days, the leaves are thinly spread out indoors in a shallow basket in the racks, or some ventilating通风的 beds like bamboo mesh mats草席,trays, troughs,spreading machines, and wait for fixation. The waiting time should be as short as  possible to avoid oxidation, which turns the green leaf and stem to red. The tea fixation apparatus include a tea steaming machine, wood-fired pan, electrical pan, rotary heated drum, microwave, and far infrared. When fixed leaves become soft and flaccid,they are conveyed to be rolled, and then the rolled tea masses are loosened解蒂 by a roll breaker or ball breaker and moderately cooled. Subsequently, the leaves refined (dried) by charcoal-fired baking baskets, electrical heaters, coal heaters, liquid petroleum gas heaters, or natural gas heaters. The moisture content of the final product (crude tea) should be less than 6%.

According to the fixation ways, green tea is subdivided into steamed green tea 蒸青、pan-dried green tea炒青、roast-dirked  green tea烘青and sun-dried green tea晒青.  Steamed green  tea is mainly produced and consumed in Japan,  while pan-dried green tea is mainly produced in China and exported to the world.Crude green teas are usually refined by the wholesale tea dealers. The refining process generally includes sifting筛分, cutting切削, grading分类, referring复火, polishing磨锅抛光, blending拼配, and  packing包装. Through refining, the stalks, dust, and impurities are removed. The final tea  has a uniform size and standardized appearance, such as Chunmee珍眉, Sowmee秀眉, and Gunpowder珠茶Chunmee and Sowmee are renowned for their curve shape, like the human eyebrow, while Gunpowder is featured with tiny, tight, round balls like gunpowder.

How to Make a Good Cup of Tea --- Brewing Green Tea

The true aroma, taste, and quality of the tea can be displayed only through correct brewing and tasting. There are diversified Chinese teas and each tea has its unique flavor that requires a unique way of brewing. Only by understanding the characteristics of the teas, grasping the reasonable brewing procedures, and practicing them repeatedly can one succeed in making a good cup of Chinese tea. Tea brewing can not only meet people’s material demands, but more importantly, cultivate their moral characters and mould their temper in the process.

Brewing Green Tea

The green tea is normally brewed with a 100ml to 150ml glass. Put two to five grams of green tea leaves into the glass and pour in 150ml boiling water. For the fine and tender high-quality tea, more tea leaves can be used depending on the drinker’s need.

The green tea can be brewed in various ways. The commonest ways include upper application, medium application, and lower application.

Upper application of the green tea

First, warm up the tea cup with hot water. Then, pour in hot water, wait for the right temperature, and put in tea leaves. In this way, the tenderness of the green tea is best preserved. The tea leaves will unfold and sink slowly one by one, a beautiful scene to enjoy.

Medium application of the green tea

First, warm up the tea cup with hot water. Then, pour in hot water between 70'c-80'c to fill one third of the cup, put in proper amount of tea leaves, and let them absorb water and fully unfold. Finally, pour in hot water from a highly lifted teapot to free the soluble substances from the tea as quickly as possible. In this way, the tea leaves can timely unfold to show the tender tea buds, guaranteeing a fresh and strong tea taste.

Lower application of the green tea

First, warm up the tea cup with hot water. Then, put proper amount of tea leaves into the cup and pour in hot water between 70'c-85'c . Turn the teacup anti clockwise for several circles to let the tea leaves fully contact with the water. This brewing method can fully release the color, aroma, and taste of the green tea.

Different green teas have different characteristics and require different brewing methods.the upper application applies to the green tea with superb tenderness such as BiLuoChun, XingYan MaoJian, and MengDing GanLu. The medium application applies to the tender and compact high-quality green tea such as HuangShan MaoFeng and LuShan YunWu. The lower application applies to the high-quality green tea with fat and strong buds and leaves such as the XiHu LongJing, ZhuYeQing, LuAn GuaPian and TaiPing HouKui. In addition, brewing method can also be chosen on the drinker’s personal likes and dislikes.

Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

Green tea has increasingly become a very popular drink worldwide because of its immensely powerful health benefits. It is extraordinarily amazing what green tea can do for your health. And if you're not drinking three to four cups of green tea today, you're definitely not doing your health a big favor. Here are the 25 reasons why you should start drinking green tea right now:

1. Green tea and cancer: Green tea helps reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidant in green tea is 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 24 times better than vitamin E. This helps your body at protecting cells from damage believed to be linked to cancer. 

2. Green tea and heart disease: Green tea helps prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering the level of cholesterol. Even after the heart attack it prevents cell deaths and speeds up the recovery of heart cells.

3. Green tea and Anti-aging: Green tea contains an antioxidant known as polyphenols which fight against free radicals. What this means it helps you fight against aging and promotes longevity.

4. Green tea and weight loss: Green tea helps with your body weight loss. Green tea burns fat and boosts your metabolism rate naturally. It can help you burn up to 70 calories in just one day. That translates to 7 pounds in one year.

5. Green tea and skin: The antioxidant in green tea protects the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals, which cause wrinkling and skin aging. Green tea also helps fight against skin cancer.

6. Green tea and arthritis: Green tea can help prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea has benefit for your health as it protects the cartilage by blocking the enzyme that destroys cartilage.

7. Green tea and bones: The very key to this is high fluoride content found in green tea. It helps keep your bones strong. If you drink green tea every day, this will help you preserve your bone density.

8. Green tea and cholesterol: Green tea can help lower cholesterol level. It also improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol, by reducing bad cholesterol level.

9. Green tea and obesity: Green tea prevents obesity by stopping the movement of glucose in fat cells. If you are on a healthy diet, exercise regularly and drink green tea, it is unlikely you'll be obese.

10. Green tea and diabetes: Green tea improves lipid and glucose metabolism, prevents sharp increases in blood sugar level and balances your metabolism rate.

11. Green tea and Alzheimers: Green tea helps boost your memory. And although there's no cure for Alzheimer's it helps slow the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain, which leads to Alzheimer's.

12. Green tea and Parkinson's: Antioxidants in green tea helps prevent against cell damage in the brain which could cause Parkinson's. People drinking green tea also are less likely to progress with Parkinson's.

13. Green tea and liver disease: Green tea helps prevent transplant failure in people with liver failure. Researches showed that green tea destroys harmful free radicals in fatty livers.

14. Green tea and high blood pressure: Green tea helps prevent high blood pressure. Drinking green tea helps keep your blood pressure down by repressing angiotensin, which leads to high blood pressure.

15. Green tea and food poisoning: Catechin found in green tea can kill bacteria which causes food poisoning and kills the toxins produced by those bacteria.

16. Green tea and blood sugar: Blood sugar tends to increase with age, but polyphenols and polysaccharides in green tea help lower your blood sugar level.

17. Green tea and immunity: Polyphenols and flavonoids found in green tea help boost your immune system, making your health stronger in fighting against infections.

18. Green tea and cold and flu: Green tea prevents you from getting a cold or flu. Vitamin C in green tea helps you treat the flu and the common cold.

19. Green tea and asthma: Theophylline in green tea relaxes the muscles which support the bronchial tubes, reducing the severity of asthma.

20. Green tea and ear infection: Green tea helps with ear infection problem. For natural ear cleaning soak a cotton ball in green tea and clean the infected ear.

21. Green tea and herpes: Green tea increases the effectiveness of topical interferon treatment of herpes. First green tea compress is applied, and then let the skin dry before the interferon treatment. 
22. Green tea and tooth decay: Green tea destroys bacteria and viruses that cause many dental diseases. It also slows the growth of bacteria which leads to bad breath.

23. Green tea and stress: L-the theanine, which is a kind of amino acids in green tea, can help relieve stress and anxiety. 
24. Green tea and allergies: EGCG found in green tea relieves allergies. So if you have allergies, you should really consider drinking green tea.

25. Green tea and HIV: Scientists in Japan have found that EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) in green tea can stop HIV from binding to healthy immune cells. What this means is that green tea can help stop the HIV virus from spreading.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka).

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