After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world and there are good reasons for this popularity. One of the most popular forms of tea is green tea and there are a number of reasons why so many people enjoy this beverage.
First, green tea is flavorful and there are many varieties of green tea. The difference between teas is the amount of oxidation that the leaves are exposed to. Green tea is not oxidized meaning the enzymes in the tea leaf are not exposed to any oxygen found in the air. By contrast, black tea is fully oxidized and oolong tea is partially oxidized. When dealing with tea taste is a matter of degree and a function of oxidation.
Green tea comes in many forms and blends and is popular in every country and culture. Originally produced in China, the consumption and popularity of green tea spread throughout Asia, India and the western world. With the addition of flavors and blends like Jasmine, Vanilla, Mint and varieties like Jasmine pearls, Sencha and Gunpowder, green teas are subtle and appeal to the varied tastes of tea drinkers.
Green tea has a unique light taste that appeals to a very large number of drinkers throughout the world and has been popular since tea was first discovered over 5,000 years ago. It is one of the five basic types of tea and is recognized by even the most novice tea drinker.
Second, loose leaf green tea has been one of the mainstays of the tea culture. The highest quality tea is loose tea and premium quality loose tea has gained in popularity in recent years. Green tea drinkers enjoy preparation rituals and ceremonies that add ambiance to the tea drinking experience. Whole leaf green tea has served as the basis of tea rituals in China and Japan and, properly served, the tea ritual provides a pleasant experience after a stressful day.
When China was the sea power of the world (1405-1433), tea was among the indispensable supplies for the seamen. The amount of vitamin C in the tea drink consumed by the seafarers at that time was enough to prevent scurvy which would kill many European sailors more than 100 years later, but was essentially unknown to the medical officers assigned to the fleet of more than 27,000 men on their round voyage from China to Africa.
Lastly, there are strong indications that drinking green tea (and all types of tea for that matter) is very healthy for the human body. Throughout the years tea has been prized for its medicinal qualities and the consumption of tea became a regular event for most families.
Tea has been used in China as a medicinal beverage to promote health in mind and body for about 5000 years. The earliest known reference to tea as a health aid dates back to 2737 B.C. Tea was an expensive beverage in ancient China. Its use was confined to the wealthy segments of the population.
Only in the Ming dynasty after the fall of the Mongolian empire in 1368 A.D., tea drinking spread from the elite to the populace. The first shipment of tea to Europe in 1606 by the Dutch East India Company was green tea
In 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent.
University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.
A recent Japanese study, reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that adults in Japan who drank more green tea had a lower risk of death from all causes and from heart disease.
In addition, compounds in green tea called polyphenols have been much studied for possible heart disease and cancer preventive effects. Although further study may be required to prove absolutely that green tea produces measurable health benefits, the consumption of green teas throughout history add credence to recent medical claims.
Tea drinkers have many choices but those that drink high quality loose leaf green tea can anticipate an enjoyable beverage and tea drinking experience.