After black tea, green tea is the most widely consumed type of tea in the world. Like Chinese tea in general, green tea is widely misunderstood but first a little background story.
Green tea’s popularity started rocketing when studies emerged, linking longevity with green tea, especially among the Japanese. Since then, green tea has been mooted as a health drink with multiple health benefits from cancer retardation to anti-aging and weight loss.
Such was the repute of green tea as a health drink that green tea extracts and capsules starting making its way on the shelves of nutritional stores. Small wonder that many would consider the health benefits of green tea, particular to this branch of tea alone.
Consequently, its other cousins got a bit of a bum rap, especially black tea. While green tea is largely unprocessed, retaining many of its health benefits, there are benefits derived from other tea types also, wrongly considered to be the sole property of green teas.
For example, research has proven that pu-er raises blood lipid levels, linking it to lower blood cholesterol and weight control.
White tea, is even less processed than green tea and more anti-oxidants consequentially. Hence, all else being equal, it should be more effective in anti-aging and cancer retardation properties.
So why does the western world especially consider green tea to be the healthiest drink?
One reason is research. Research has to be funded, this much there is no dispute. Maybe I am cynical but I reckon funding of research is largely a function of self-interest and public interest. After all, who would sign off on a million dollar grant to promote fertility in cockroaches, just for example.
As such, there is a self-fulfilling. Public interest in green tea is higher, more research is diverted to that end. More research published touting the benefits of green tea, more public interest. And the cycle continues.
Other types of tea, sadly don’t get much interest other than Chinese institutes which wouldn’t get read much by the English speaking world anyway. Hence the imbalance perpetuates.
A second common misunderstanding about green tea is that it originates from Japan, at least the high end stuff. Over 80% of the world’s green tea is produced in China and certainly the high end Chinese green tea is no cheaper than their Japanese counterparts, either in price or in value.
Mention the word longjing and you will have no shortage of buyers willing to pay real money, particularly for those of the higher grade.
The paragraph below is taken from an article directory I saw online.
Not to put the author down, but I was stunned at how far off the mark he was.
‘To check the quality difference, buy a packet of pure green tea from a reliable shop and compare it with the one imported from China. To get a packet of quality green tea, look for a Japanese brand. Though the price may be baffling, you can be sure of its purity and quality.’
That is but one of the many examples of the misconceptions that arises about green tea and Chinese tea in general. The suggestion that Chinese green tea is in anyway inferior to Japanese green tea is ludicrous. Even the Japanese drink Chinese green tea, acknowledging their quality and taste.
I will be sharing more in future posts but I felt I needed to clear the air.