Green Tea Fun Facts – Learn About Your Favorite Tea
Green tea is great! It is one of the most popular teas and can come in many different styles and flavors. I always like knowing the history and facts behind the products I use and tea is no different. This allows me to develop a greater connection to the tea and have an even further appreciation.
Below, I want to highlight some green tea fun facts for everyone to takeaway! Then the next time you find yourself sipping on a green tea you can think of all the cool fun facts you now know and be the expert of the room!
Green tea is one of the 5 teas that all come from the Camellia sinensis plant. While nowadays, this plant is found all across the world, the original green tea is to have originated from China. China’s Yunnan province is said to be the birth place of this tea plant. Actually, the Yunnan province is said to be home to 260 of the world’s 360+ tea varieties out there, CRAZY!
While the original story of the first brew is not known for fact, one legend states that Shenong, emperor of China, discovered the warm beverage of tea in 2737 BC. This occurred when tea leaves drifted into his pot of boiling water.
Buddhist monks around the 500s BC were credited with spreading the plant and beverage around China and India. These monks would travel and use tea for rituals and meditation practices. This helped guide spiritual practices for them.
Of these places and stories, the green tea we drink today has been most influenced by Japan’s culture. In 1190 AD, green tea exploded in Japan when a Zen priest by the name of Eisai, introduced his learning of growing, harvesting and utilizing tea leaves into meditative practices in Japan. From there it spread like wildfire throughout the country. Today Japan and China are the leading growers and exporters of green tea.
If green, black, white, oolong and pu’reh teas all come from the same plant, then what makes them so uniquely different? It comes down to the chemical alteration in the processing!
Simply put, using different temperatures and pressures after the harvesting of the tea leaves, oxidation occurs (or does not) thus resulting in many of these differences! Green tea is one of the teas that is NOT oxidized. Besides altering the color, flavor and caffeine content of the tea, this is said to result in a greater yield of health benefits too!
The general process of green tea is as follows:
- After the tea is harvested, it is laid out on bamboo to dry for 1 – 2 hours.
- They are then exposed to low heat, so as not to oxidize the leaves and also to preserve them.
- The leaves are then rolled into different shapes and dried. This rolling allows the tea, when steeped, to release its natural oils differently thus resulting in unique tastes.
If you have a bit of experience with green tea then you know there are many different types and flavors out there! These differences come from slight alterations to the above process and are typically done by country.
China is popular for having pan fried green tea leaves. During the process, the tea leaves are heated in a pan and tumbled so as not to oxidize the leaves. This can be done multiple times throughout the process and also done with different pans, baskets, or drums. These variations alter the flavor immensely and give the tea an earthy, roasted flavor.
Chinese types include:
Japan on the other hand, uses a process known as steaming. Soon after the harvest of the leaves, they are steamed. This allows the leaves to again halt oxidation and bring out a vibrant green color.
This steaming results in a smoother, sweeter, more floral or seaweed type flavor. Another common technique may include growing the plant in shade. This creates a higher chlorophyll level and again alters the flavor and composition of the tea.
Japanese types include:
There are other green teas out there that include fruits, like pomegranate, ginger, lemon, etc. these are simply added to the loose-leaf or bags for additional flavors.
If you want to try some of the green teas for yourself check out Buddha Teas green tea selection here!
Other Quick Facts
Here are some quick hit green tea fun facts for you!
- It is low in caffeine (15 – 40 mg)
- Due to the amino acid L-Theanine, it can help relax and unwind your nerves.
- Polyphenols, like EGCG, have been shown to reduce tumor growth, lower cholesterol, build stronger teeth and more!
- When applied topically, it can help protect against dryness and reduce inflammation.
- It is the LEAST processed tea of all teas.
- It has antifungal and antibacterial properties. So add it to your next foot bath!
- If you burn easily, there is evidence that it can help protect against sun damage if drank consistently.
- Dry tea leaves have a deodorizing effect. So try it on your gym bag or kitty litter some time! (The leaves are safe for your cat).
- And so much more!!!
The Magic of Green Tea
Green tea has been around since 2737 BC. This gives us so much time and wisdom to draw upon when looking at this beverage. Not only is it healthy and great tasting, but it has influenced the world as we know it!
Now next time you have a friend over to your place you can offer them a cup of green tea and strike up a wonderful conversation about all the new green tea fun facts that you have learned!
Try some of your own green tea from Buddha Teas here!
Leave a comment about your favorite type of green tea or if you have another green tea fun fact that I missed!