Green tea


The tea plant originated in China and belongs to the camellia family. Tea
leaves were introduced to
Japan in the 10th century by priests who were
sent to
China during the Tang Dynasty. As tea leaves were extremely precious,
only a handful of nobles could drink it. In the 13th century, Eisai, the
 founder of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism, distributed tea to samurai
warriors. However, it was only in the 18th century that the common
people began to drink tea.

Green, oolong, and black tea are made from the same leaf. The difference between them is due to their processing methods. For green tea, the stems and
leaves are steamed as soon as the tea is picked, cutting off the
fermentation process. Oolong tea is made by fermenting the leaves to
some extent and it is called semi-fermented tea. Black tea is made by
fermenting the leaves fully.
The finest of green tea is known as gyokuro (literally, gjewel dewh)
 which has a subtle taste. The better the quality of the tea, the
cooler the water can be allowed to get when brewing it. The new tea
season in
Japan starts around the beginning of May. This new tea, or
gshincha,h makes most Japanese feel that finally summer is just around
the corner.

Tea is gaining popularity because it is thought to be good for the
health; effective in reducing the risk of cancer, and preventing colds and
cavities. It contains a lot of components including catechin,
caffeine, vitamins C and E, fluorides and so on. In addition to the
traditional brewing method, plastic bottled green tea sells well in
Japan and we also have some dishes using tea leaves.