Green tea is one of the six main types of Chinese tea. Among the six categories of tea, green tea has the most varieties, about hundreds of types. And there are six kinds of green tea among the top 10 famous Chinese teas. Green tea is widely produced in China, more than 15 provinces producing green tea.
Green tea is a kind of unfermented tea. It retains many natural substances of the fresh leaves, such as tea polyphenols, catechins, chlorophyll, amino acids, and vitamins, which have good effects on anti-aging, anti-cancer, sterilization, anti-inflammation, etc.
As the first category of Chinese tea, the origin and development of green tea can be said to be the history of Chinese tea.
1. History of Chinese green tea
According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> and <The Classic of Tea>, Chinese tea was first used by Shen Nong more than 4,700 years ago. And according to other historical records, the tea processing first appeared more than 3,000 years ago.
The Tang Dynasty (618-907) is a high-speed period of tea development. Lu Yu, a Chinese tea master and writer in the Tang Dynasty, and respected as the Sage of Tea, he wrote a tea book <The Classic of Tea>, which is the first tea book in the world.
This book records the production history, current situation, producing technology, drinking skills, and tea ceremony principles of the tea. From ancient times to the present, this tea book has promoted the development of Chinese tea culture.
During the Tang Dynasty, Chinese tea also officially spread to other countries. In 805, Japanese monks came to China to study Buddhism. When they returned home, they brought Chinese tea to Japan, which is the beginning of Japanese tea.
In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), tea became one of the necessities of people’s daily life and many new technologies of tea processing came out gradually. From the Tang Dynasty to the Song Dynasty, many poems and paintings about tea were appeared, which was also promoted the Chinese tea culture.
Later, from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), tea developed further. The tea production areas became larger and larger, and new types of tea gradually emerged, such as black tea, oolong tea, white tea, etc. During this time, many kinds of tea began to be exported to Southeast Asia and Europe.
In modern times, with the improvement of people’s living standards, the production of green tea is also improved.
Green tea is the earliest type of tea and some other types of tea are evolved from green tea, so today green tea has the most varieties and output. It accounts for 70% of the total output of the six main types of tea in China.
2. Varieties of Chinese green tea
The processing of green tea can be simply divided into three steps: Sha Qing (Fixation), Rou Nian (Rolling), and Drying, of which the key step is Sha Qing. Sha means “kill” and Qing means “green”. Sha Qing means “kill the enzymes of the green leaves”.
Sha Qing makes the enzymes of the fresh leaves lose activity, and the chemical substances in the fresh leaves will not be oxidized by the enzymes, thus forming the characteristics of green tea.
During the process of Sha Qing, part of the water in the leaves is evaporated to make the leaves soft and create conditions for rolling and shaping.
According to the different technology of Sha Qing, green tea can be classified into four types.
Shai Qing green tea
Shai Qing green tea is made by using sunlight to deactivate the enzymes. Shai means “Basking”. The best-quality Shai Qing green tea is produced in Yunnan Province, called “Dian Qing”. Dian is the short name of Yunnan Province.
Besides, there are Chuan Qing produced in Sichuan Province, Qian Qing produced in Guizhou Province, Shan Qing produced in Shanxi Province, etc.
Zheng Qing green tea
Zheng Qing green tea is made by steaming to deactivate the enzymes. Zheng means “Steaming”. Zheng Qing is an ancient technology and it was already existed in the 8th century (during the Tang Dynasty) and spread to Japan.
The aroma of Zheng Qing green tea is stuffy and astringent, so Zheng Qing green tea is not very popular and the output of it is also low.
Chao Qing green tea
Chao Qing green tea is made by stir-frying to deactivate the enzymes. Chao means “Stir-frying”. Chao Qing (Stir Fixation) was invented in the 12th century and it is a technological advancement of Zheng Qing green tea.
Chao Qing green tea is green in color, rich in aroma, and beautiful in shape. Chao Qing green tea is the most widely produced green tea.
The famous green teas Longjing and Biluochun belong to Chao Qing green tea.
Hong Qing green tea
Hong Qing green tea is made by using carbon or wood to bake to deactivate the enzymes. Hong means “Baking”.
In addition, according to the season of tea production, green tea can be divided into spring green tea, summer green tea, and autumn green tea. And according to the growth environment of the tea trees, green tea can be divided into flat ground green tea and mountain green tea. Each kind of tea has its own characteristics.
3. Famous Chinese green tea
There are many varieties of Chinese green tea, hundreds of it recorded in history and more than one hundred on the market.
Here are six kinds of green tea, occupying six positions in the top 10 famous Chinese teas.
4. Health benefits of Chinese green tea
Among the six categories of Chinese tea, green tea retains the most nutrients of the fresh leaves. The tea polyphenols, tea catechins, vitamins, and trace elements in green tea have good pharmacological effects.
Here are the main health benefits of Chinese green tea:
- Weight loss
- Refreshing brain
- Cosmetology and skincare
- Protecting teeth and eyesight
- Inhibiting cardiovascular disease
- Reducing blood sugar and blood lipid
- Preventing and treating radiation damage
5. How to make Chinese green tea
- Tea sets: Glass cup or Porcelain cup (Gaiwan).
- The ratio of tea leaves to water: 1:50. For example, 3g of green tea leaves need 150ml of water.
- The temperature of the water: 80℃-85℃. Green tea leaves are very tender. Water with high temperature will destroy the nutrients of green tea. Should boil the water to 100℃ and let it cool naturally to 80-85℃. Then brew green tea.