Chinese Green Tea Is The Best

In Chinese green tea, knowledgeable buyers can find the finest in the world. Here is why:

Vast geography

China is the third largest country in the world, with land area comparable to that of the United States of America. Green tea is grown in the Southern China, where the subtropical climate and fertile soil are ideal for growing tea.

The best Chinese green tea is usually found in regions of exceptional natural beauty, such as West Lake, Huang Shan or Er Mei Shan, where tea has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Many of these high quality green teas are naturally organic. There simply is no need to spray pesticides and fungicides.

Imperial history

Nothing shapes the long history of Chinese green tea as much as Gong Cha, or imperial tea. The development of Gong Cha was as tragic as it will ultimately be glorious.

When Gong Cha was introduced in the Tang Dynasty at around 700 A.D., stringent high standard was imposed. No longer just a medicinal tonic, Chinese green tea became a dispensable part of the imperial court's everyday life.

Emperor Song Wei Zhong was the most eminent tea drinker of his generation. Throughout more than 1,000 years of Gong Cha system, tea makers innovated rapidly to keep up with the shifting taste demanded by the imperial court.

Selective Harvesting

The best Chinese green tea is made from the bud and first two leaves. They are the purest: they contain the most nutrients and least pollutants.

These tender shoots are the sweetest and tastiest. They are the richest in polyphenol ,which contains all the antioxidants, and the sweet and fresh tasting theanine, which calms and soothes the mind.

The younger the leaf, the less environmental pollutants it contains. According to some sources, the mature, old leaves can contain 10 to 20 times more fluoride than the young leaves of the same tea plant.

One kilogram of top grade Chinese green tea may contain as many as 100,000 tea shoots. Workers only have a few days at a time to handpick them.

Sophisticated Firing

The long history of Chinese green tea affords it time to experiment with many processing techniques.

Unlike black tea, Chinese green tea is made with minimal processing. A process - called firing - applies heat to kill the enzymes and arrest the oxidation, or fermentation.

Traditionally, the Chinese uses three firing process: steaming, pan-frying and baking. Japanese tea only uses steaming.

Pan-frying was the most popular method in China. It was preferred over steaming for two reasons: it is quicker to pan-fry than to steam, and it stimulates an intense chestnuty aroma and flavor.

Baking can be done using either charcoal or electric oven. It is preferred over pan-frying when it is important to preserve the shape and texture, such as when making floral infused green tea.

Many Chinese green tea are produced using combination of pan-frying and baking, allowing the advantages of each method to be exploited.

Large Varieties

The varieties of Chinese green tea are unrivalled anywhere else in the world.

Chinese green tea expert Mr Hai-Gen Si estimated there are as many as 676 varieties of Famous Green Tea (Ming Cha) in China today. His sample includes only the highly regarded tea where written records exist.

Low Cost of Living

In China, most leaves are still handpicked, which yields a higher quality crop. Many of the top grade teas are still handmade, allowing tea masters to finetune their process to optimise the quality of the individual leaves.

Knowledgeable tea drinkers can find the best of the finest in the Land of the Dragon. The low cost of living in China often results in affordable prices for many teas.

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About The Author, Julian Tai
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