For the finest green teas, only the frst two leaves and one bud are picked. It is crucial to avoid bruising or otherwise harming the tea leaves, otherwise the fermentation process would not commence, which is fundamental, for example, for black teas. Leaves are briefly heated or steamed, then rolled and finally dried. A good quality green tea can be identified by a fresh scent that is reminiscent of hay. Its leaves are green, not brown, and are matt glossy, dry and firm. Green teas, since they are not fermented, contain many important antioxidants – polyphenols, which destroy loose radicals in the human body. Loose radicals are particles that cause cells to age and encourage various diseases. The polyphenols contained in green tea are capable of neutralising these, and they can reduce or avoid any adverse processes in the body at the same time. Furthermore, green tea contains a high level of fluoride that helps firm up teeth and bones and encourages wounds to heal.
Most Indian plantations were set up under the rule of the British Empire, and were predominantly devoted to the production of black teas. Since approximately 1985, experienced tea planters in both the traditional growing regions of Assam and Darjeeling have been producing highly prized fine green tea made to the Japanese steaming method.
Sri Lanka is an agricultural country with greatly developed tea plantations. In fact, Ceylon tea is a globally recognised trade mark. Despite Ceylon usually being associated with black tea, a green variant from plantations near Kandy, the ancient capital, is certainly worth trying.
The origins of tea lie in China, where it has been known about for more than two thousand years. Although, tea is grown in various countries of the Orient, China still remains the biggest grower and exporter of tea in the world. Tea is an inseparable part of lives of the inhabitants of China, and thanks to its location and favourable climate a wealth of varieties are successfully grown there.
Tea drinking in Korea used to be the sole preserve of monks, who picked tea leaves from wildly growing tea plants, and who later established the first tea gardens in the vicinity of their monasteries. The teas they sell often feature highly poetic names, which also are linked with the time of the harvest (Ujeon = April, Sejak = late April/early May and Jungja = May). There is a tendency that tea from early harvests is considered superior, so is naturally more expensive. There are only a few tea gardens in Korea, and their history and number have been influenced by several downturns. However, a revival occurred in the past century due to the import of Assamese tea plants. Currently, production is concentrated in South Jeolla Province, where the most suitable climatic conditions prevail.
Tea has been grown in Vietnam since 1825, when French settlers founded the first tea plantations. However, the development of the tea industry was hindered by continuous political unrest, hence further expansion only happened at the beginning of the 20th century. Today Vietnam produces more than 80,000 tons of black and green teas each year and several scented variations. The vast majority of green tea is consumed domestically. Conversely, black tea is mostly exported worldwide.
Japan and China rule supreme as the world’s oldest tea nations. A Japanese speciality when growing tea is shading. Ten to twenty-one days before harvest time, the tea plants are covered via special sheets, resulting in signifi ant chemical changes in the leaf. This causes a rise in the amount of catechins, caffeine, theanines, amino acids and leaf colourings, meaning the leaf is darker in colour, thinner and larger, whilst also being sweeter when infused. There is no bitterness in the infusion of shaded teas, and it is possible to infuse them up to four times. However, shaded teas can only be harvested once a year as the process seriously weakens tea plants. The choice of Japanese teas is sure to gratify every tea lover.
Matcha (抹茶) is the premium variety of shade-grown Japanese green tea, made exclusively from the tips of the youngest tea plants (Tencha), which(抹茶) are ground into an ultra-fine green powder. It has been revered for centuries in the Japanese tea ceremony. It is also extraordinary for the way it is grown. Matcha tea leaves grow slowly in shaded tea plantations. The lack of sunlight facilitates heightened levels of chlorophyll and L-theanine. Chlorophyll is trully beneficial for our health. It exhibits an antibacterial effect and has a positive influence on digestion. The high content of L-theanine amino acid is the reason for the full flavour and smoothness of Matcha. It aids relaxation and helps reduce stress. Other beneficial substances in Matcha are antioxidants - catechins, the most appreciated of which is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Consequently, Matcha has 17 times the antioxidation capacity of blueberries and 26 times that of acai berries. Similar properties can be found in Korean Garucha, which also features in this catalogue.
Ho to prepare green tea: Select good pure water. Boil it, then let it cool for a few minutes - it needs to be around 80-85°C. Put 2 grams of green tea leaves for every 250 ml. Infuse for about 3 minutes.