Green tea has been a staple of Asians for over 2,000 years. It comes from the flowering evergreen bush (Camellia sinensis).It is the world’s oldest beverage. Four ounces of dry leaves will yield 50 cups of green tea. Each grower of green tea may have a similar plant species, depending on where it grown, when it is picked, and the method of leaf manufacture, will create a unique flavour. There are more than 8,000 distinctions of green tea produced in China.
The Japanese use a unique steaming procedure that creates a dark green colour and a different flavour. Usually, in both China and Japan, tea leaves are harvested in early spring, which goes from March or early April, to early May. Both offer a soothing, warm beverage.
For those of us depending on buying green tea in North America, try to select a store that has a high turnover of tea. This will offer you a fresh and fragrant green tea. If has been sitting on the grocery store shelf for several months, you will find a weaker tea with less fragrance.
An interesting way to buy your green tea is to buy balls or pearls of green tea. This type of tea swells up as it becomes hydrated. Varieties that are usually sold this way include: Genmaicha, Gunpowder, Jasmine, Sencha, and Szechuan Crouching Tiger Tips.
What type of water also is important if you want to become a green tea connoisseur. Fresh mountain water, direct from mountain streams is the best. Well water or tap water is the least pure, so if possible, try to find fresh mountain water. Of course, in many geographic areas, such as in low lying areas or in the city, this is not possible.
It is good to know that Asian teas do not require a sieve or tea ball. Instead, tea leaves, or pearls, are dropped directly into your mug or tea pot. You pour the hot water over on top and wait. Within a few minutes of being covered with hot water, you will discover a comforting and soothing cup of tea.
You may find in grocery stores infused green tea. This is done by brewing spices or herbs in the spot tea pot with your green tea. Try to use fresh herbs whenever possible. Jasmine green tea is a popular mix.
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