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JUNE EDUCATIONAL TEA CLUB: GREEN TEA

Yufei Weng

WHAT IS GREEN TEA?

Green tea is the oldest form of tea as a standalone beverage. Its processing method, history, and culture are unparalleled by any other tea in Chinese history. From the Han Dynasty, (202BC to 220AD) to the abolition of pressed tribute teas by the Hong Wu Emperor (Zhu Yuan Zhang) in 1391, green tea was THE TEA. Even after the emergence of five additional categories of tea, green tea remains the most studied and refined tea of China, offering us a glimpse of tea as an extravagant form of art during the dynasty times.

By definition, green tea is not fermented, however, in reality, enzymes metabolize naturally as soon as the leaves are picked and a micro amount of fermentation is unavoidable. After the leaves are picked from the trees, they are left sitting under shade for a few hours to let the surface moisture evaporate. Then, the freshly picked leaves are treated with high heat to kill the enzymes present, preserving the tea in its freshest state. Thus, green tea retains most of the tea leaf's original properties and taste, and is the most astringent category. 

Based on processing style, there are four sub-categories of green tea.