Back then, when I was first heard about the health benefits of green tea drinking from my Japanese friend, I was taken aback by a bunch of nutritious facts and its value in Japanese culture.
Accordingly, it is a custom for the long lifespan of Japanese is to sip a sweet and earthy cup of “elixir of youth” green tea – in almost every meal. Even more, green tea is a traditional protective ingredient against cancer and heart diseases, as well as a dietary supplement.
Here below are the advantages of green tea you might want to know.
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History of Green Tea
Thanks, Shunan Teng, for this interesting story of Tea
So far, green tea might be known as Japanese tea. However, it was originated from China, to be specific, the Camellia sinensis tree.
When being introduced in Japan, the tea leaves are steamed and processed differently, making various flavors and healthy benefits. How you make and drink green tea, what’s more, reflects the differences between the two cultures.
Japanese green tea vs. Chinese green tea
Whether it is from Japan and China, green teas are all good for health. And they often features a vibrant green color and a bitter-then-sweet taste. For beginners, the little differences are no big deals.
However, when you are used to drinking different types of green teas, you might figure out some interesting facts.
Said like Kiko – my Japanese friend: “It takes chapters to distinguish Japanese and Chinese green teas properly. Both countries have a long history of making-tea cultures.” Thus, to keep it short, she revealed some major comparisons.
Chinese green tea comes with more varieties and shapes
This makes sense because the long culture of tea “Cha” in China.
Most people in different areas of China process the tea leaves by hand, but in different ways. They can roll them into balls, smooth into swords, or twist into spirals. They can also add some elements to make a unique flavor.
By contrast, Japanese green tea has limited varieties. This is because the processing is done by machine, in which leaves are pulverized into powder or rolled in needle shapes. For that reasons, their tea brings a more utilitarian drinking experience.
Chinese tea are popularly available at more affordable prices
Thank to their varieties, Chinese green tea can be found almost everywhere – in restaurant, on shelves, groceries, etc. Chinese export accounts for 80% green tea in the world. Meanwhile, that of Japan is only 1%.
As a result, Chinese tea is cheaper than Japanese.
Chinese green tea tastes slightly more fermented than Japanese tea
To say, which tastes better: Chinese green tea or Japanese green tea, is difficult. It is based on your preference.
From my experience, many Chinese teas are mild and a bit sweet. The color is much lighter, as well. Sometimes, the fermentation can produce a tart or sour flavor. Kiko said that is because the leaves are often pan-fried and dried after being picked.
Japanese green tea, on the other hand, is automatically picked and steamed immediately to ease the oxidation process.
Japanese tea leaves are darker with deeper flavors
I really appreciate how Japanese people use technology to develop their agriculture, with a limited natural resources. Green tea is an example.
Unlike Chinese green tea, which grows in sprawling and bushing fields, Japanese green tea is meticulously raised in tight rows – and in the shade for a while. This, interestingly, lead to darker leaves with richer flavors.
Japanese green tea has more Antioxidants – “Elixir of youth”
Many studies have come to the conclusion that Japanese green tea include a high concentration of antioxidants than Chinese green tea. Not all types of Japanese tea, but the famous like Matcha powder or Sencha.
These valuable components help fight free radicals and prevent oxidation. That’s why green tea is praised as a natural medical for aging and even cancer.
Japanese green tea helps with weight loss – more Metabolism
The EGCGs in green tea is known for their ability to balance the blood-sugar levels and consequently, increase thermogenesis process. Accordingly, our body works more actively to maintain the temperature.
The more energy is consumed, the more fat is metabolized!
Weight loss overall.
Types of Japanese Green Tea
I will, by no means, confirm that Japanese green tea is better than Chinese green tea. Just because I prefer the taste of the Japanese green tea that I will focus on it later on.
Keep reading if you also want to know benefits of green tea drinking.
Sencha and Sencha powder
While many foreign people often think of Matcha as the typical Japanese green tea, sencha, in fact, is the most consumed tea in Japan.
Sencha is made of the youngest tea leaves after a careful steaming, rolling, and drying process. As a result, a cup of sencha is packed with nutrients and even more vitamin E and vitamin C than matcha. The taste is also really well-balanced between sweetness and acidity.
Sencha comes in form of half-processed leaves or powder to use at your convenience. However, I recommend brewing the sencha leaves to light up your day in the very morning.
Old and large leaves, after a couple of harvest seasons, are turned into Bancha tea. These leaves feature less caffeine content and high antioxidants. However, the taste is not very high-quality.
In compensation, Bancha is inexpensive and available outside Japan, So, still a good choice if you are not too picky.
In Japanese, mecha means bud tea. And, you might already figure out that this Japanese is made from the buds.
These buds are separated during the processing of high-grade sencha and gyokuro – Not because of the comparable quality, but because Japanese are strict to shape and size of the leaves.
I recommend mecha if you – like me, want to consume a high-quality Japanese green tea at a lower price. Just so you know, mecha has a strong aroma. Do not over-steep it!
Matcha features a signature vivid green color and is processed in very fine powder.
The taste is also special – strengthen in earthy flavor and caffeine level. This is due to the fact that leaves for matcha are grown in the shade for several weeks.
Back then, high-quality matcha was used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Nowadays, it is commonly added to cuisines, cakes, and matcha drink weight loss diets, etc.
This is the best-quality Japanese green tea.
Leaves for Gyokuro are the youngest buds of the spring harvest grown in shade for a long time and under a labour-intensive processing to ensure that the tea has a very rich accents and comfortable smell.
Also, only skillful tea-makers can brew the Gyokuro tea to the best taste.
Hence, if you are not serious about making tea drinks, then there is no need to break a bank for the expensive Gyokuro.
Other Japanese green teas
Besides some types of green teas as above, you can also search for:
Health Benefits of Green Tea Drinking
Different green tea has different nutrition facts. However, almost all of them share the following benefits that you should know.
Improving brain function – Being calmer & more concentrative
Instead of drinking coffee to keep you awake and concentrated, you should try a green tea drinking.
The caffeine in green tea is less than that in coffee to prevent “jittery” effects. Meanwhile, it is still enough to maintain a good response between your brain and body. As a result, the green tea can enhance mood, reaction time, vigilance, and memory.
Even more, there is also amino acid called L-theanine in the green tea which can cross the blood-brain barrier and produce higher dopamine for the brain.
Know it or not, green tea is also helpful to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Increasing antioxidants – Fighting against the aging and cancer
As I mentioned earlier, Japanese green tea has more antioxidants than Chinese green team which incredible work for cancer preventions.
To be specific, antioxidants have been proven by The National Center for Biotechnology Information to contain a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and more.
Plus, antioxidants and anti-aging often goes hand-in-hand. It damages the free radicals and lengthen our youth and longspan. Thus, there is no surprise that Japanese green tea is included in many dietary supplements, cosmetics, and foods for health.
Burning calories – Enjoying Green Tea Weight Loss
If you search for green tea supplements, matcha tea weight loss, or green tea diet, there are thousands of results in a blink.
And yes, people search and share about the weight-loss benefits of green tea for good reason.
To burn fat cells, it is important to break it down first and move components into the bloodstream. And the high content of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is available in the cups of green tea to help. Specifically, it inhibits an enzyme that increase norepinephrine hormone and fasten the fat breakdown.
Then, hilariously, you can lose weight, manage obesity, and even cholesterol level in your blood.
Promoting bone and teeth health at the same time
These benefits of green tea drinking are not commonly known. But a cup of Japanese tea can improve the overall body, including bone and teeth formation
With 3 components: epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG.)
Even better, components in green tea also reduces the inflammation of arthritis and preventing cartilage breakdown.
Losing temper and having better relaxation
I mean attending tea ceremony of the Japanese.
It is not a health benefit of green tea drinking, but to form a good habit when you spend certain time enjoying the tea.
You will learn much about Japanese culture, and if possible, try completing a process of ceremonial matcha preparation and serving. You can improve concentration and relaxation at the same time.
When to Make a Cup of Green Tea?
Good as it is, you can only make the most out of benefits of green tea drinking is you do it the right way.
The time and the method you make tea is depending on your purposes: Do you want to go on a strict weight-loss diet, or you just want some concentration time?
Just there are some rules to follow.
- Do not drink a green tea in the morning with an empty stomach
- Also, do not drink it with meals if you want to absorb irons into your body
- Avoid having cool green tea in winter
- Too much tea in the evening will disturb your sleep. Only a small cup of tea is enough to keep you alert for a book before sleeping
- DO drink green tea 2 hours before bedtime or before/after a meal. Also, you can have tea with cookies or light cakes.
- Drink the tea before the harsh exercise if you want to lose weight. However, refer to your trainer and restrict yourself to 2 or 3 cups per day.
How to Make a Green Tea Drinking?
The most common way is to brew the tea with hot water for several minutes. The water sources and the amount of tea leaves/powder will significantly affect the taste. If you have a recipe to follow, then do as instructed. If not, you can try your recipes and adjust at the name time to your taste.
In case you want to make traditional Japanese matcha tea the right way, then refer to the tutorial by Just One Cookbook.
Enjoy Your Tea Cup
It is tea time!
Now that you know many benefits of green tea drinking, I bet you will make you and your family several cup of tea right after.
I hope you guys enjoy and have a good health <3