What is Green Tea?

green tea

Most people familiar with tea know about green tea. In fact, it’s one of the most popular types of tea around the world. If you’re new to the world of tea, then you can do yourself a favor and start with green tea.

What’s Green Tea?

The various types of tea are often distinguished by how they’re processed. In the case of green tea, the tea leaves are harvested and then promptly heated.

The Chinese usually heat the tea leaves by pan firing. They heat the tea leaves in a wicker basket, steel pans that look like woks, or in metal drums. They may use hot air, electric heat, gas flame, or charcoal, and the tea leaves may be fired more than once during the processing.

Because of the pan firing process, the flavor of Chinese green tea is generally somewhat roasted, with an earthy and grassy hint. The more popular Chinese green teas include Dragonwell and Gunpowder tea.

In Japan, steaming is the more common heating process. The tea leaves are slightly steamed only hours after the lea leaves are harvested.

This process gives a more unique flavor to Japanese green tea. It’s somewhat sweet, and tastes slightly like a vegetable or seaweed. Popular Japanese green tea options include Hojicha, Sencha, and Matcha green tea.

Health Benefits

Aside from the refreshing taste, here are other reasons why you may want to try green tea on a daily basis.

Reduced Caffeine Content

Green tea does have caffeine, which can help to wake you up in the morning or when your energy is down in the afternoon. But the caffeine content in green tea is only about 24 mg to 40 mg per serving, compared to the 95 mg to 200 mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee.

That means you don’t have to be too jittery when you drink green tea. Yet it can still boost your alertness level. You can drink 4 cups (or more) of green tea, and you only get the caffeine equivalent of one cup of coffee.

Lower Cholesterol

Many middle-aged adults are concerned about their cholesterol levels, and green tea can help. Green tea can lower your LDL cholesterol level, and this is the “bad” cholesterol you want to control. At the same time, green tea also helps to raise your “good” HD: cholesterol level.

Long-Term Help against Heart Disease

One study in Japan found that people who drank at least 5 cups of green tea a day for at least a decade reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by as much as 26%.

Fights against Diabetes

Another study discovered that those who drank at least 6 cups of green tea a day reduced the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 33%.

Drinking 6 cups of green tea isn’t really too much—that’s like drinking 2 cups (or less) of coffee a day.