Green Tea Processing
Green Tea Processing
This wonderfully fragrant tea has been used both as a beverage and for health benefits for the past 4,000 years. Today green tea has become an important beverage in most homes as people now keep health as their top most priority. Green tea is processed in a different way that the black tea or other varieties of tea. The oxidation for green tea is the least when compared to other teas. This short process of oxidation helps it retain its green tea and a gives it a vegetal flavour. Green tea also happens to be rich in catechins which are healthy components extremely beneficial for our body.
Plucking of the Tea Leaves
There are three basic steps in which green tea is prepared. It should be known that all the types of teas that are cultivated across the world such as black tea, oolongs, yellow tea, white tea and green tea the tea leaves are plucked from the same plant known as Camellia sinensis. It is the different ways and processes that give them different colours and taste. The pluckers will usually pluck two leaves and a bud if the tea is meant to be of a high quality. The plucking could vary for different varieties of green tea. After the plucking is done the freshly picked leaves are thinly spread for a couple of hours so the water content is reduced. In case there are any debris they are carefully removed from the harvest. It is now that the first step begins:
1. Steaming or Pan Fried
This is an important step in the processing of green tea for this is how the taste and the quality of the tea is determined. The right smell, colour and taste are achieved as the activity of fresh enzymes and the oxidation of polyphenols in the fresh leaves are stopped. This gives it a vegetal yet sweet taste. This step evaporates the water in the leaves and makes them soft. The leaves also get sturdier so that the next step becomes easy. The leaves are cooked in steam or pan fried in heated drums or wok in the process. Both the procedures result in soft and supple leaves with the enzymes locked within and ready for the rolling process.
The next step is rolling and this process tightens the shape of the tea leaves so the drying happens smoothly. Rolling also destroys the tissue of the leaf and gives a wonderful quality of tea. Rolling can be done both by hands and machine. There are different shapes that the tea leaves get when they are rolled. The results are mildly twisted green teas, long and thin green tea leaves or small tight balls. Style of rolling the tea leaves also has an impact on the taste of the green tea when it is brewed.
The final step in processing green tea is its drying. Drying has its own importance as there are many more flavours added to the green tea in this step. Drying also betters the appearance of green tea. Tea leaves can be either sun dried or a machine can be used to execute the process. Mild heat or firing helps to complete the process of drying. Exact heat and temperature is used to preserve the freshness of the tea leaves and retain its beautiful green colour. The moisture content of the green tea leaves should be 4% once all the processes are complete.
The tea leaves are then packed and sent out for the world to taste the flavoured and aromatic green tea.