What is Green Tea? How is it made and where does it come from?

Green tea might have a bad reputation for being bitter, but only if it hasn't been done properly! Make sure to balance quantity, temperature and time for a perfect brew.

So what's the difference between green tea and black tea?

As we mentioned here, all tea comes from the same plant (excluding "herbal" teas). Green tea is produced when the tea leaves are picked and barely given a chance to oxidize, unlike oolong and black teas which are more oxidized. Oxidation is a result of plant enzymes reacting to oxygen (similar to a cut apple turning brown) - not to be confused with fermentation.

To make green tea, the leaves reach an oxidation level of 10% or less. Then they are dried and shaped to seal in their rich green color. 

Where does green tea come from?

The two main countries that produce green tea are China and Japan. China produces all types of tea, while Japan almost exclusively produces green tea.

Japanese teas are heated through a steaming process, yielding a rich vegetal flavor with notes of sweet corn and seaweed. Umami, savory flavor, is a highly valued trait in a good quality Japanese green tea.

Unlike Japanese tea farms where production is very mechanized, Chinese teas are still often processed by hand on small farms. Teas are dried by roasting in an oven or pan. The resulting infusions release deep nutty, buttery, and smokey notes.

Why is it less popular in Western countries?

The domestic markets for tea in Japan and China are so strong that prices are incredibly high at home and as a result farmers have not needed to focus on export. Thus, international markets are relatively undeveloped, and most consumers are quite surprised at the premium price. Black tea on the other hand is much more common in the West as many farms in India and Sri Lanka are mass-producing it for export at very low prices.

TEA 101Cecelia Lau