Rumor has it that green tea was supposedly discovered by the Chinese emperor Shen Nung in 2737 BC. Tea leaves from a nearby bush had snapped off their branches, and accidentally blew into his water bowl.

I picked up a package of Green Tea powder at the Japanese grocery store, and for shits and giggles, I did a little research on the stuff. I had remembered once hearing that Green Tea was pretty healthy.

I had no earthly idea just how healthy it is! Damn!

The main component of Green Tea is Catechins. Catechins are flavonoid phytochemical compounds with some serious ass-kicking antioxidant properties. Since Green Tea is made from unfermented tea leaves, the oxidation of catechins is minimal, so they can function as antioxidants. They really beat down the nasty shit in your body.

What does Green Tea do?

Research continues, and cool stuff about Catechins are being found every day.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, however. Green Tea contains Vitamin C which reduces stress, and helps to prevent and fight the flu. It has Vitamin B Complex which assists the carbohydrate metabolism, Flavonoids in general to strengthen blood vessel walls, Fluoride to help prevent cavities, and Vitamin E to help reduce and possibly reverse the effects of aging. Green tea has also been shown to lower intestinal fat absorption, protect the brain from oxidative stress, enhance memory and brain function by raising the levels of serotonin and/or dopamine in certain brain regions, the hypothalamus, hippocampus and striatum in particular. Green Tea also assists in detoxification to help to keep the kidneys healthy, and can aid in treating constipation. Green Tea polyphenols also inhibit the growth and adherence of oral bacteria, resulting in a dramitic decrease in plaque and bad breath. Recent studies have also found that Green Tea may even inhibit the replication of HIV and other viruses.

Plus, Caffeine is included at no extra charge !!

Green Tea has all these awesome health benefits, has caffeine, boosts energy, and tastes really really good! Why didn't I start drinking this stuff years ago? In any case, you can be damn sure I'm going to start drinking it regularly now.

Green Tea! Green Tea! Green Tea! Green Tea makes you strong! Strength crushes enemies! Green Tea!

Green tea is tea that has been dried out quickly to stop it from oxidising and turning black. The best green teas, like sencha, are steamed to break down the cell structure of the leaves and let the moisture out gently; cheaper green teas are dried by being heated in pans. Green tea brewed correctly has about one third of the caffeine of black tea, and significantly greater quantities of various antioxidants; oolong tea lies in between the two on both counts. The taste of green tea bears little resemblance to that of black tea, although it does share a little of its astringency and just a hint of bitterness. The experience of drinking green tea is dominated more by the aroma than by its effect on the taste buds - good green tea has a fresh, leafy, grassy aroma. Teas like gunpowder green have overtones of smoke in their scent, while Japanese teas like sencha often carry a hint of sea air.

Green tea is consumed frequently throughout most of the Far East, as well as the Middle East and north Africa; where most of us in the West will drink cups of water, the Chinese and Japanese are more likely to have green tea of one kind or another, a custom which probably started when people were boiling water for hygiene reasons and realised they could make it taste a whole lot better with a few camellia sinensis leaves. Besides tasting pretty good, green tea has long had a reputation for bringing tremendous health benefits, and is especially recommended for the ill. Modern science has backed up traditional beliefs in the tea's power to promote well-being; as Accipiter relates above, green tea has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits. It is also said to help with weight loss, and to boost female fertility.

In Japan, green tea has inspired a way of being, chado, centred around the appreciation of tea and other small pleasures. As Kakuzo Okakura puts it in The Book of Tea, 'Teaism is Taoism in disguise': a gentle absorption in the immediate facts of living; a steady awareness of the things which make existence worthwhile. The Japanese Tea Ceremony, performed with little change for the last five hundred years, remains a prominent feature of the country's cultural life.

Although many people enjoy it straight away, and others grow to love it, the vegetative flavour of standard green tea is not to everyone's taste; for those who don't much like it, and indeed those who do, several variants are worth exploring. Hojicha is green tea which has been roasted to bring out a delicious toasty flavour with a hint of caramel; it has quite a bit less caffeine than sencha. Kukicha is quite similar, being made with the roasted twigs of the tea plant; it has even less caffeine, and a slightly sweeter, earthier flavour. Green tea is also available flavoured with mint, various fruits, jasmine flowers, or roasted rice. Green tea with roasted rice is what the Japanese call genmai-cha and the Koreans call hyun-mi-nok-cha; its taste is dominated by the savoury, toasted flavour of rice tea. Oolong tea - tea which has been only partially oxidised, making it a close relative of green tea - has many of the same health benefits, and a completely different taste without the leafiness of green tea; if you like the sound of green tea, oolong is certainly worth a try too.

But then, I would say that...

Kinds of Green tea:
(not intended to be an exhaustive list)

* This tea is not noded yet. I will get round to longjing and Tai Ping Monkey King sooner or later, and Young Hyson once I find anywhere to buy it.

There are many things to be said about green tea... but nothing is more important to talk about than the correct way to prepare it.

I know many people who are averse to green tea because they've been exposed to a wrongly-brewed cup. You see, when you purchase green tea at your local supermarket, the instructions on it tell you to pour boiling water over the tea bag. If you indeed do that the first time you purchase green tea, you will have tremendously cheated yourself. Why is that? Because green tea needs to be made with hot but not boiling water.

Whenever you make a cup, you should mix the boiling water that comes out of the tea kettle with a little bit of cold water. And then pour this cooler mix on your tea bag or tea leaves

Doing otherwise is akin to treating yourself to a poisonous tea. First of all, it will taste horribly.

If you choose to go with the boiling water, you're gonna come with a disgustingly bitter brew. It's so putrid that someone accurately likened the taste to that famous light-colored liquid in the toilet bowl.

Second, not only will it taste bad but might also make you feel a little bit sick. The boiling water burns the leaves and the resulting brew becomes somewhat acidic, which might give the person drinking it a stomachache.

Another negative health implication is that it causes a rapid drop of blood sugar and makes you feel very hungry. Even when it is prepared with the right water temperature, green tea midly lowers the blood sugar, which makes it the perfect drink after a heavy meal. But the boiling water makes the chemicals in the tea more potent, hence the blood sugar drop that results is very sudden and may cause urgent hunger. Of course, people's bodies do not respond as my own, so they may deal with it better than I do. While I get incredibly hungry as a result, other people might get only mildly hungry.

Incidentally most coffeeshops are guilty of bad green tea preparation. Some small coffee/tea shops do brew green tea with the right temperature, but the large national chains like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts tend to make it with the same boiling water they use with the rest of their teas. That's why the best bet for aspiring green tea drinkers is to make it at home.

Sometimes the term green tea is used to refer to tea with pot mixed in, which is a horrible waste -- as delta-9 THC isn't water-soluble, straining the "tea leaves" out leaves you with a warm-ish liquid that has no psychoactive properties whatsoever (excluding placebo, but you can get that anywhere) and probably tastes like shit as well. Using some fatty milk may alleviate this problem, but if you're going to use milk you might as well leave the water out, right?

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