Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet.

It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body.

This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.

Here are 10 health benefits of green tea that have been confirmed in human research studies.

1. Green Tea Contains Various Bioactive Compounds That Can Improve Health

Green tea is more than just green liquid.

Many of the bioactive compounds in the tea leaves do make it into the final drink, which contains large amounts of important nutrients.

It is loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins, which function as powerful antioxidants (1).

These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals are known to play a role in aging and all sorts of diseases.

One of the more powerful compounds in green tea is the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been studied to treat various diseases and may be one of the main reasons green tea has such powerful medicinal properties.

Green tea also has small amounts of minerals that are important for health.

Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands can contain excessive levels of fluoride

That being said, even if you choose a lower quality brand, the benefits still far outweigh any risk.

2. Compounds in Green Tea Can Improve Brain Function and Make You Smarter

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Green tea does more than just keep you awake, it can also make you smarter.

The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant.

It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the “jittery” effects associated with too much caffeine.

What caffeine does in the brain is to block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This way, it actually increases the firing of neurons and the concentration of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine

Caffeine has been intensively studied before and consistently leads to improvements in various aspects of brain function, including improved mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory .

However… green tea contains more than just caffeine. It also has the amino acid L-theanine, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier .

L-theanine increases the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which has anti-anxiety effects. It also increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain.

Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. The combination of the two is particularly potent at improving brain function.

Because of the L-theanine and the smaller dose of caffeine, green tea can give you a much milder and different kind of “buzz” than coffee.

Many people report having more stable energy and being much more productive when they drink green tea, compared to coffee.

Bottom Line: Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but enough to produce an effect. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function.

3. Green Tea Increases Fat Burning and Improves Physical Performance

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If you look at the ingredients list for any fat burning supplement, chances are that green tea will be on there.

This is because green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost the metabolic rate, in human controlled trials .

In one study in 10 healthy men, green tea increased energy expenditure by 4% .

Another study showed that fat oxidation was increased by 17%, indicating that green tea may selectively increase the burning of fat .

However, I’d like to point out that some studies on green tea don’t show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual .

Caffeine itself has also been shown to improve physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues and making them available for use as energy .

In two separate review studies, caffeine has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12%, on average .

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning in the short term, although not all studies agree.

4. Antioxidants in Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Various Types of Cancer

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Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death.

It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect .

Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do:

  • Breast cancer: A meta-analysis of observational studies found that whomen who drank the most green tea had a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in women .
  • Prostate cancer: One study found that men drinking green tea had a 48% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer in men .
  • Colorectal cancer: A study of 69,710 Chinese women found that green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of colorectal cancer .

Multiple other observational studies show that green tea drinkers are significantly less likely to get various types of cancer .

It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because it can reduce the antioxidant value.

Bottom Line: Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.

5. Green Tea May Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

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Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain.

Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentally lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s .

Bottom Line: The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders.

6. Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria, Which Improves Dental Health and Lowers Your Risk of Infection

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The catechins in green tea have other biological effects as well.

Some studies show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections .

Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay.

Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries .

Another awesome benefit of green tea… multiple studies show that it can reduce bad breath (41, 42).

Bottom Line: The catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.

7. Green Tea May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

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Type II diabetes is a disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past few decades and now afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.

This disease involves having elevated blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.

Studies show that green tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.

One study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes .

According to a review of 7 studies with a total of 286,701 individuals, green tea drinkers had an 18% lower risk of becoming diabetic .

Bottom Line: Some controlled trials show that green tea can cause mild reductions in blood sugar levels. It may also lower the risk of developing type II diabetes in the long term.

8. Green Tea May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the biggest causes of death in the world .

Studies show that green tea can improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases.

This includes total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Green tea also dramatically increases the antioxidant capability of the blood, which protects the LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is one part of the pathway towards heart disease .

Given the beneficial effects on risk factors, it is not surprising to see that green tea drinkers have up to a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Bottom Line: Green tea has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol, as well as protect the LDL particles from oxidation. Observational studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

9. Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Becoming Obese

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Given that green tea can boost the metabolic rate in the short term, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight.

Several studies show that green tea leads to decreases in body fat, especially in the abdominal area

One of these studies was a randomized controlled trial in 240 men and women that went on for 12 weeks. In this study, the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat .

However, some studies don’t show a statistically significant increases in weight loss with green tea, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It is particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.

10. Green Tea May Decrease Your Risk of Dying and Help You Live Longer

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Of course, we all have to die eventually. That is inevitable.

However, given that green tea drinkers are at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, it makes sense that it could help you live longer.

In a study of 40,530 Japanese adults, those who drank the most green tea (5 or more cups per day) were significantly less likely to die during an 11 year period (60):

  • Death of all causes: 23% lower in women, 12% lower in men.
  • Death from heart disease: 31% lower in women, 22% lower in men.
  • Death from stroke: 42% lower in women, 35% lower in men.

 

Another study in 14,001 elderly Japanese individuals aged 65-84 years found that those who drank the most green tea were 76% less likely to die during the 6 year study period

 

Green Tea 绿茶

Green tea belongs to the category of unfermented teawhich goes through the pan-firing process right after the leaves have been plucked. It is now the most common type of tea in China. The infusion of green tea is yellowish green with a fresh aromatic taste.

Green tea undergoes minimal oxidation during processing. Raw tea leaves are heated, rolled and dried without fermentation. This enables the leaves to keep their original color and retain their naturally occurring antioxidants, which according to recent research can help reduce the risk of cancer and slow down the aging process.
茶经

With a longer history than other varieties, green tea is the most popular variety of tea consumed
domestically in China.A book written by Lu Yu in 600-900 AD (Tang Dynasty), “Tea Classic” 茶经;is considered important in green tea history.China is the world’s largest green tea exporter, comprising more than 80 percent of the global market.

Green tea is produced all over China. Representative varieties include Dragon Well (Longjing) from Zhejiang, Biluochun from Jiangsu and Huangshan Maofeng from Anhui Province.chinese_provinces-map

 

 

  • Zhejiang Province is home to the most famous of all teas, Xi Hu Longjing (西湖龙井), as well as many other high-quality green teas.
  • 龙井 Longjing
Maybe the most well-known green tea in China; originates from Hangzhou (杭州), the capital of Zhejiang Province. Longjing in Chinese literally means dragon well. It is pan-fired and has a distinctive flat appearance. The tasteless frying oil is obtained from tea seeds and other plants. There are many fake Longjings on the market[3] and in less-scrupulous teahouses around the country.
  • 景宁惠明茶 Huiming
Named after a temple in Zhejiang.
  • 开化龙顶 Kaihua Longding
A tea from Kaihua County known as Dragon Mountain.
  • 华顶云雾 Hua Ding
A tea from Tiantai County, named after a peak in the Tiantai mountain range.
  • 天目青顶 Qing Ding
A tea from Tian Mu, also known as Green Top.
  • 平水珠茶 Gunpowder
A popular tea also known as zhuchá, originates in Zhejiang but is now grown elsewhere in China. This tea is also the quintessential ingredient in brewingMoroccan mint tea, which is brewed green tea with fresh mint.
  • Jiangsu Province
A plate of Bi Luo Chun tea, from Jiangsu Province in China
  • 洞庭碧螺春 Bi Luo Chun
A Chinese famous tea also known as Green Snail Spring, from Dong Ting. As with Longjing, inauthentic Bi Luo Chun is common and most of the tea marketed under this name may, in fact, be grown in Sichuan.
  • 南京雨花茶 Rain Flower
A tea from Nanjing.
  • 金坛雀舌 Que She (Tongue of golden altar sparrow)
originate in Jin Tan city of Jiangsu Province.
  • 太湖白云 White Cloud
Camellia sinensis, the tea plant
  • Fujian Province is known for mountain-grown organic green tea as well as white tea and oolong tea. The coastal mountains provide a perfect growing environment for tea growing. Green tea is picked in spring and summer seasons.
  • 茉莉花茶 Jasmine tea (Mo Li Hua Cha)
A tea with added jasmine flowers.
  • 毛峰 Mao Feng tea
Meaning “furry peak”.
  • 翠剑 Cui Jian
Meaning “jade sword”.
  • Hubei Province
  • 玉露 Yu Lu
A steamed tea also known as Gyokuro (Jade Dew) in Japanese, made in the Japanese style.
  • Henan Province
An example of a Chinese green tea, called Mao Jian.
  • 信阳毛尖 Xin Yang Mao Jian
A Chinese famous tea also known as Green Tip, or Tippy Green.
  • Jiangxi Province
  • 珍眉 Chun Mee
Meaning “precious eyebrows”; from Jiangxi, it is now grown elsewhere.
  • 狗牯 Gou Gu Nao
A well-known tea within China and recipient of numerous national awards.
  • 云雾 Yun Wu
A tea also known as Cloud and Mist.
  • Anhui Province is home to several varieties of tea, including three Chinese famous teas. These are:
  • 大方 Da Fang
A tea from Huangshan also known as Big Square suneet.
  • 黄山毛峰 Huangshan Maofeng
A Chinese famous tea from Huangshan
  • 六安瓜片 Liuan Leaf
A Chinese famous tea also known as Melon Seed
  • 猴魁 Hou Kui
A Chinese famous tea also known as Monkey tea
  • 屯绿 Tun Lu
A tea from Tunxi District.
  • 火青 Huo Qing
A tea from Jing County, also known as Fire Green
  • 雾里青 Wuliqing
Wuliqing was known since the Song dynasty. Since 2002, Wuliqing is produced again according to the original processing methods by a company called Tianfang (天方). Zhan Luojiu a tea expert and professor at the Anhui Agricultural University who relived its production procedure.
  • Hyson
A medium-quality tea from many provinces, an early-harvested tea.
  • Sichuan Province
  • 竹叶青茶 Zhu Ye Qing
Also known as Meng Ding Cui Zhu or Green Bamboo
  • 蒙顶甘露 Meng Ding Gan Lu
A yellowish-green tea with sweet aftertaste.
  • 百美绿茶 Baimei Green Tea
  • Shaanxi Province
  • 汉中仙毫 Han Zhong Xian Hao
A green tea from the Han Zhong.

 

Production of Green Tea

Each successive century has provided some refinement in the processing of Green Tea but the process has 3 basic steps:

“Kill-Green” (also known as Fixing”)

Stops the natural fermentation and growing processes within the leaves without damaging them. Steaming the leaves, hand pressing in a hot pan and baking techniques are used. This also sets up the next step for Rolling/Forming the leaves.

Rolling/Forming

Leaves are passed through hot and/or cold rollers to slightly break down the leaves, which establishes the shape of the leaves and intensifies the tea flavour.

Drying

Stabilizes the final moisture content of the leaves, stops fermentation, prevents mould growth, removes any grassy leaf taste and develops the tea’s aroma. Sun drying, pan heating and hot air methods are used.

Because Green Tea is exposed to the least amount of processing, this tea retains more of the naturalness of the tea plant than any other tea. More than 85% of the caffeine, 50% of the chlorophyll and most vitamins are retained.

Storing Green Tea

Because Green Tea is exposed to the least amount of processing, the leaves are subject to natural enzymatic breakdown by oxidation just like any other organic material and faster than other teas. Green Tea is best kept in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or even in a refrigerator. We recommend refrigeration which actually improves the taste of the tea, as well as making it last much longer. However, if refrigerated storage is used, the tea should be kept refrigerated at all times as successive warming and cooling will degrade the tea.

 

How To Tell the Quality of the Pu’er Tea

See how the tea is packaged and stored. Pu-erh should generally be stored and aged in a dark, cool, dry area, away from other aromas, where it has access to some airflow. It is usually stored in its original paper wrapping. Tea shops that have elaborate or airtight, sealed packaging for Pu-erh cakes often are not offering the best Pu-erh for the best deals and are often not storing it properly.

Smell the tea. Good pu-erh tea should smell clear and distinctly “tea-ish”. Depending on the age, you may detect smoky or woody aromas. The tea should not have odd odours, and it should not smell moldy. Tea absorbs smell rather easily; thus, if improperly kept, the tea can pick up funny smells from anything: cooking smells, spices, etc.

Notice the tea’s appearance. Very ancient green pu-erh tea cakes should look reddish. Newer pu-erhs will be more yellow-to-greenish, but they will never look pure black. The tea cake should not have white/yellow dots which might be mold or yeast forming. When buying expensive tea cakes, it’s generally preferred for the cakes to be whole, without large cracks. Sometimes, people might sample expensive tea cakes by using a knife to scrape the centre of the depression behind the tea cake, flaking a few leaves off. This is seldom noticed, but be aware that you’ve lost a bit of tea if your cake has been sampled.

Do a taste test. This can only come with experience and more exposure to pu-erh tea. Purchasing samples from pu-erh tea museums can allow one to taste teas of different ages, enabling people to distinguish what’s good.

How To Prepare Pu’er Tea

Brewing Pu-erh Tea in the Traditional Chinese Method

In preparation for brewing your Pu-erh tea in the traditional Chinese way, you will need to gather several materials, which include your gaiwan, or covered bowl, which is used to hold the tea and brew the tea leaves in. You will also need what is called a “fair cup” which you will pour the brewed Pu-erh tea into before serving it into your teacups, which you will need as well. Finally you will need yourloose-leaf-pu-er tea leaves.

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To begin, place your Pu-erh tea into your gaiwan, adding approximately 5 grams of Pu-erh tea leaves or tea flakes to the covered bowl.

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In brewing Pu-erh tea, the temperature of the water is especially important when brewing Pu-erh tea in the traditional Chinese method. Be sure that your water is at or around 212 ℉, and begin by washing or rinsing the tea leaves with that water first to wet the tea and rinse away any impurities gathered from production or storage. It is important to rinse your tea leaves first when brewing Pu-erh tea, so that you can “wake up” the true flavor of the Pu-erh. The liquor itself is a bright red-brown color which is clear and very deeply mellow and earthy. You will notice with each re-brewing of the leaves, the brewed tea will change its character and flavor with each cup, and your Pu-erh leaves can be re-brewed many different times, each resulting in a slightly different cup of tea.

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After rinsing your Pu-erh tea, use hot water to warm and rinse your tools for brewing the tea, including your gaiwan, fair cup and tea cups. By simply rinsing them in hot water, you will wash away any dirt or impurities, and pre-warm the cup for the best brewing of your tea.6

 

 

 

 

 

After rinsing your Pu-erh tea leaves and pre-warming your utensils, you are ready to brew your Pu-erh tea. Using water that is at about 212 ℉, pour approximately 100 milliliters of water into your gaiwan and wait only 15 seconds before the tea is properly brewed.

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Once your tea has been brewed, pour the brewed Pu-erh tea into the fair cup while straining out the tea leaves and keeping them for re-brewing. Then pour your brewed tea from the fair cup into each teacup equally to enjoy with friends or guests.

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Health Benefits of Pu’er Tea

Health Benefits of Puerh: Function of Microorganism

The microorganism in Yunnan Puerh tea are brought out by fermentation (Wodui), including aspergillus niger, penicillium, rhizopus, aspergillus glaucus, saccharomyces and bacteria. The last one is in very small amount and doesn’t contain pathogenic kinds. During the process of fermentation (Wodui), aspergillus niger and saccharomyces ocuppy the largest amount in the microorganism it produced. We will mainly talk about these two in this article.

Ways Aspergillus Niger Works in Resolving Fat

Aspergillus niger is a kind of lower eukaryote and is safe for eating that recognized worldwide. It is a significant microorganism in determining of Puerh’s quality. During fermentation, aspergillus niger always has the largest number in all the microorganism. It helps the fermentation and produces glucamylase, cellulose and pectinase. The three can resolve many organic compounds, including polysaccharide, fat, protein, natural fibre, pectin and insoluble carbohydrate, into monosaccharide, amino acid, hydrated pectin and soluble carbohydrate, making the beneficial substance in tea leaves easy to ooze and spread. This action results the basis of Puerh’s smooth and mellow taste. This is why we said aspergillus niger plays the most important role in Puerh’s quality by producing organic acid and enzyme via metabolism.

Saccharomyces’s Benefits for Puerh

Microorganism in teas does not only improve the nutrition value of Puerh, but also influences the quality of liquid.
During fermentation, the wet and hot condition provides the best environment for saccharomycetes to metabolize by improving enzyme’s activity. When other microorganism are using different polysaccharide as carbon source to metabolize, and producing plenty of polysaccharide and monosaccharide, which provides nutrition for saccharomycetes to metabolize fast. The fast metabolism results the sweet and mellow quality of the tea. We can say that the growth of saccharomyces is greatly connected with Puerh’s feature of sweet and mellow.

The Reason why wodui won’t breed bacteria
Why there are just few kinds of bacteria existing during the process of fermentation while almost no pathogenic bacteria? It’s the result of the combat between every microorganism. For example, the metabolism of saccharomycetes and mould could restrict the growth of bacteria. This is a summary of years of experiences from the workers.

The Different Health Benefit between Raw and Ripe

The health benefits of Puerh:Helps losing weight;Preventing cancer;Protecting teeth;Protecting stomach;Anti-radiation;Anti-aging.

Those functions of health benefits act differently in Raw Puerh and Ripe Puerh. In Raw Puerh, the function of losing weight mainly comes from tea polyphenol, chlorophyllin, Vitamin C and other beneficial substance in teas.
What is Raw Puerh Usually we call none-manually-fermented Puerh tea as Raw Puerh.

As it is not fermented, the tea polyphenols that help weight loss in Raw Puerh are maintained in larger amount. Like Yunnan big leaf species, it has plenty of tea polyphopnels, especially in spring fresh tea. Rich tea polyphenols help the body of detox and anti-radiation.

Tea polyphenols, within which existing the catechin and its oxidation product theaflavins, are helping decrease the level of cholesterol and triglyceride. Thus Raw Puerh can help to control blood fat so that it can lose weight and lower blood pressure.
What’s more, tea polyphenols can kill lactic acid bacteria and other bacteria hiding between teeth, and inhibit the activity of glucose polymerase. Bacteria and germs will be prevented from planting on the gum. Residual food between teeth may grow bacteria, whereas it could be killed by tea polyphenol. Consequently, the forming of decayed teeth will be stopped. So long-term drinking of Raw Puerh can protect your teeth.

In Ripe Puerh, the function of losing weight comes from different aspect. It is the result of the integrative action of various sorts of effective microorganisms. The action will reduce the absorbing of triglyceride and sugar in small intestinal, and improve its effects of resolving fat in waist and abdomen.

Fermented by wodui, macromolecular polysaccharides in Ripe Puerh are transformed into soluble monosaccharide and oligosaccharide because of microorganisms. During the fermentation, the amount of Vitamin C was double increased. These substances have great significance to improve immunity.
With abundant microorganism in it, Ripe Puerh is not irritative to stomach. It can produce a membrane to cover stomach wall, therefore protect your stomach. Frequently using of Ripe puerh will do good to your stomach.

Effects of exercises for losing weight

The health benefit of losing weight of Puerh tea is a half of the weight loss plan, which could be considered as resolving fat via chemical effects. On the other half of the plan, we should take physical measures, doing exercises.

Exercise should follow principle and rules

  • Keep diet, keep healthy
    You should eat to be strong enough to lose weight. It is paradox but rational. Supplement of energy is important. Three meals of everyday are needed. And they should be taken appropriately. Either too many or too little will be bad for health.
  • Don’t do strenuous exercises immediately after meal
    Strenuous exercises after eating any food will influent digest, which is bad for your health. Meanwhile the health benefits of Puerh will not be perfectly performed. It’s better to take exercise after an hour of your meal. Or do it in 1 – 2 hours before meals.
  • Do your exercise properly
    Overdo exercises will exhaust your energy, and make your body secreting acid. This is why your body feels tired. By this time you could take alkaline foods to balance pH value, such as teas. Life lies in motion. Exercise can strength your body. Meanwhile by taking green drinks, like tea, you could get more health benefits, and won’t be bothered with disease.

Pu’er Tea 普洱茶 Pu Er Cha

Pu’er-type tea belongs to the category of post-fermented tea that can be made from green, oolong or black tea. The heaping procedure helps to generate its unique colour, aroma, and flavour. The infusion has a brownish red colour and its flavour is rich and mellow.

u=4167013056,1394998973&fm=21&gp=0The most famous tea from Yunnan is Puer. Yunnan also produces green tea,  jasmine tea, and black tea. Yunnan province is in south west China and the origin of tea can be traced there. There are a number of trees in Yunnan that can be dated back more that 2000 years. The rain forests of Yunnan are rich in diversity, a majority of the flowers that we grow in the US can be traced back to Yunnan.

Yunnan began to process tea in the Three Kingdoms period (220-360). Allegedly, at this time Zhu Ge Liang from Sichuan, a clever tactician, encouraged the Yunnan people to cultivate tea to improve their lives. Still, Yunnan people call Zhu Ge Liang their tea god. He is still prayed to in the south of Yunnan where he conquered more that 2000 years ago. This is the area of Xichuanbanna and the six famous mountains.  At the heart of Yunnan’s south west is the city of Puer, the base of the province’s ancient tea market, and from where “puer tea” derives its name. (The city Simao in 2007 changed its name to Puer, and should not be confused with the ancient city). From Puer city, tea was distributed to Tibet, and South East Asia on “tea horse trading roads.” The rough terrain of Yunnan demanded efficiently packed tea, so compressed cakes of tea were wrapped and tied into stacks of seven and enclosed into a bamboo shell. For this reason, certain puer cakes are commonly labled “Qi Zi Bing” or literally Seven Piece Cake. Carrying tea though the humid rain forest over the long, hard trading routes may have encouraged natural fermentation.
People collect puer tea for three main reasons, which  include enjoyment of the tea, overall health benefits and the investment potential. It became popular outside of the traditional markets of Tibet and Mongolia, where for many years it was exchanged for horses, when it became sought after in Hong Kong for its health benefits, and for its mysterious quality of slow, natural fermentation, that causes it to improve with age. During the Cultural Revolution a lot of the old cakes were destroyed increasing the rareness of aged puer. In 1973, a process was invented to create fermented puer in about 60 days.

普洱茶3Now the popularity of puer has spread from Hong Kong and Guangzhou, to Taiwan, Beijing, Shanghai and South East Asia. The popularity of puer has even started to spread to the US and Europe. All puer tea starts out the same. The basic ingredient is called mao cha. Mao cha is harvested and allowed to dry in the sun. Yunnan is the only tea growing province in China that has a lot of high altitude sunshine and blue skies. One of the side affects of all this sunshine is some very large leaf tea plants.

All tea originated in Yunnan, but you might be surprised to know that the tea plants are called Camellia Sinesis Assamica. The reason is that when the British found the variety of tea growing in India they named it Assamica and believed that it was wild, but it had actually been planted along the old Silk Road that ran from Yunnan and Burma into Assam. Even though the origin issue has been cleared up, the ancient tea trees in Yunnan have kept the inaccurate name.

A lot of puer produced is said to be made from wild tea trees, but this is not the case. Wild tea trees are known to make people pretty sick sometimes, and what is called “wild” by puer makers is in fact old tea trees that have been cultivated, and are usually over a hundred years old. The age of the tree can be determined by measuring the trunk. Trees have very often been cut back drastically to increase yield, and more bushes are being planted at break neck speed.  Planting tea is helpful to the the environment in Yunnan that has suffered from the burning of forests to plant sugar cane. Sugar, though a profitable short term crop, quickly depletes the mountain soil and erosion can quickly wear away the topsoil from whole mountain sides.

Harvesting and Making Puer Tea

The quality of the mao cha the most important factor in making puer. The ideal mao cha is two leaves and one bud. Farmers typically bring their mao cha to towns and villages where it is purchased by local buyers and sorted and then 普洱茶2purchased by puer producers. Although relatively large
areas may be favorite places for certain producers to buy their mao cha, the cultivation is done by small farmers. Since puer has become more popular, many farmers are cutting their old trees to create bushes which have a better yield, so the number of old trees is decreasing every year. Most commercial puer is a blend of mao cha from different areas and there are some producers that will reveal the areas in Yunnan where the mao cha originated. These kinds of details enhance the value of the tea over time, and we try to supply this information whenever we can. The tea grows in high mountain areas and the mao cha is brought now to the villages in the valley once a week to be sold. The process hasn’t changed for centuries.

There are two general types of puer: Shu (black, cooked) and Sheng (green, raw). The raw or sheng (green) puer is made from mao cha this is lightly steamed and pressed into cakes. It is the sheng puer that demonstrates the miracle of puer, slowly changing over time through a natural fermentation process until it becomes “cooked.” The microbes present in the mao cha that are not destroyed during sun drying work their magic and over 8 to 10 years until raw puer tea is transformed to cooked, green to black. It is the sheng that is most valuable over time and starts to reach is full maturity after around thirty years. Puer teas are elemental and mysteriously dark, fermented teas which are robust, earthy, rich and grounding. Puer is often a favorite tea of the truly dedicated tea drinker. This aged tea usually begins with a variety of leaf from exceptionally broad-leaved tea trees.  This tea either left loose or compressed into cakes is then permitted to retain barely enough moisture content that the tea continues to ferment slowly over time. For this reason, puer is best stored open so that oxygen can continue to refine the tea.

普洱茶4Shu puer, or cooked/black puer is more complicated. In 1973, because of a shortage of old cakes caused by the destruction of all things old during the Cultural Revolution, a process was developed for uniformly speeding up the aging process. This process has been well guarded in the past but is relatively simple, but not without skill. Large piles of maocha are wetted and then covered with a large canvass cloth, creating a kind of composting effect. The water drains off as does some of the natural moisture through the weight of the pile. Inside of the pile heat is produced. The pile becomes a rich environment for microbes that thrive in the tea leaves of the Yunnan rain forest. The tea master’s skill comes into play when the pile needs to be turned. The turning needs to come at the right time, and there are clumps of growth that occur at the bottom of the heap and must be broken up and evenly distributed throughout the pile. When to turn and the attention paid to the details of turning are critical, so that the pile adds a pleasant fragrance to the tea. A poor level of skill turns the heap into an unkempt barnyard smell, flatteringly called ‘earthy’ in the West, and ‘old house smell’ in China.  After the the tea is cooked it is sorted for grade, and then lightly steeped and pressed into cakes, bricks, etc.

Puer is separated into ten grades determined by leaf size, with the largest being tenth grade. In understanding about grades, it is wrong to
assume that the 1st grade is the best grade for puer. There is only an incidental correlation between the grade of the puer and the quality of an individual cake. For example, some of the most sought after tea is made from maocha that is larger  than tenth grade tea. It is always a question of taste. Of course if a lot of expensive buds are used in a cake, it will drive the price up, even if it is not considered a good candidate for aging. So don’t be strictly guided by the grade, think also about the uniformity and tightness of compression and the overall flavor achieved by the cake’s mao cha blend.

It used to be that the old government factories blended by just throwing maocha from the surrounding mountains all in together in a kind of random way. Now there are some companies that blend for a mixture of qualities that are associated with different growing areas for creating a well rounded cake, taking sweet maocha, and blending with fragrant maocha for example. There are also rumors about starters for cooking, like bread starters, and maocha that comes from some mythical place. Puer companies try to keep a tight lid on these trade secrets, and all of this secrecy has given puer a mythical reputation. However puer is magical in and of itself, without all of the hyperbole. It is a simple tea made by ancient peoples from ancient trees and bushes that has remarkable qualities.

Puer is famed for its health benefits and is consumed daily in the South of China, and in Southeast Asia by older Asians that are looking to maintain their health.  The French are currently doing research on the affects of drinking puer with maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol. It is said to be helpful for digestive and metabolism problems.

Production of Pu-Erh Tea

To add to the confusion in naming, Pu-Erh Tea comes in two varieties: Green (Sheng) and Black (Shou), depending on how the leaves are processed. Both Green and Black varieties follow the same steps of Withering – “Kill-Green” – Rolling/Forming – Drying and Steaming/Shaping. The Black variety has the additional step of “Cooking” (Piling/Heaping) which is heaping the leaves in a pile to facilitate fermentation. Both varieties are then stored for aging. Pu-Erh Teas differ from other teas and derive their unique flavor by the technique of sun-drying the leaves after the Rolling/Forming step.

It is the heaping of the leaves into a pile that starts the natural enzymatic breakdown process of fermentation which creates heat and “cooks” the leaves. This adds a highly-prized complexity, depth and smoothness to the tea different from the green variety.

Green Pu-Erh Tea has been around for centuries but the process for Black Pu-Erh Tea was first developed in 1973 and the first black Pu-Erh teas came on the market in 1975.

After processing, for both green and black varieties, the leaves are then left as loose leaves or compressed into the following sahpes:

Brick Tea (Juan Cha)

Cake Tea (Beeng Cha)

Bell Shape (Toa Cha)

Mushroom Shape (Maw Gu Toaw)

After forming, the tea is stored in warm and moist cellars which allows subtle chemical processes to further mature and mellow the tea over time. Pu-Erh tea is drinkable after 3 months and after 5 years, starts to develop its unique aged taste.

Storing Pu-Erh Tea

Both green and black varieties of Pu-Erh tea can be stored for long periods of time. In fact the longer the storage, the better the tea gets. We recommend storage in unglazed clay containers, either for long term holding or for drinking, since they “breathe” and reduce temperature fluctuations. The best clay containers are made from the same Yixing clay as the famous Yixing teapots. If these are not available, a sealed cardboard box can suffice or even a paper bag, but make sure these have no chemical odours from manufacturing.

The best location for storage is a cool, dry place, away from temperature fluctuations and odours, such as those from the kitchen, as tea absorbs odours and this will affect the flavor of the tea.

For tea that is to be stored long term, simply leave it in the original paper wrapping or packaging. For tea that is to be consumed, break the tea into small pieces using a strong dull knife. Since more of the surface of the tea is now exposed to air, oxidation will develop the complexity of tea more rapidly. This is called “waking up the tea”. If you do not intend to drink a tea before 5 years, it is best to leave it stored and unbroken.

How To Tell the Quality of the White Tea

The buds, or top leaf shoots, are thick and strong, presenting a straight tippy appearance which has the appearance of needles, with a silver-white downy appearance.  The picking of these beautiful downy buds is a very strict and intensive process as the tea workers are only plucking the tops of the buds, which is part of the reason which this is such a rare and highly prized tea.

When brewed, the needle-like leaves fall slowly to the bottom of the glass or teapot, and the buds remain straight and needle-like.  The flavor of the brewed tea is an exquisite and ambrosial experience.  The flavor is very refreshing, mellow, delicate and sweet, with a lingering beautiful aftertaste.  It is much sweeter and delicate than Bai Mu Dan is, and produces a lovely pale yellow liquor which may have some white downy hairs floating from the high quality Silver Needle, which reflects the light and gives the appearance of the tea shimmering in the light.

Silver Needle is a premium top grade white tea, which is only slightly fermented. Also called ‘Bai Hao Yinzhen’ or 白毫銀針, it is produced predominantly in Fuding and Zhenghe city in the Fujian province of China.  The Bai Hao Yinzhen produced in Fuding is usually of the very best quality.  This is the most expensive and most highly valued type of white tea because only the tops of the buds of the tea tree is used to produce Bai Hao Yinzhen.

Because Bai Hao Yinzhen is produced in different tea estates and at different elevations and with different production standards, different places produce various qualities of Bai Hao Yinzhen.  The Bai Hao Yinzhen which is produced in Fuding is of top quality and its appearance is white as silver.  Bai Hao Yinzhen which is produced in Zhenghe is a more silver and gray color.

The season in which the tea is harvested also affects the appearance and flavor of the Silver Needle tea leaves.  Bai Hao Yinzhen which is picked before Tomb-sweeping Day (The Qingming Festival) which usually occurs in early April, is a much higher quality Silver Needle tea with fat strong buds which have a lovely silvery white tone with soft down hairs on the leaves.  Silver Needle teas which are picked later in the tea season carry much flatter leaves with a gray hue.

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When choosing your Bai Hao Yinzhen, the brighter leaves that have a silver tone, instead of a gray hue are the best Silver Needle tea leaves, that will produce a high quality cup of tea.  If the buds are short, thin and have a more gray tone, they are inferior and will not produce as nice of a cup.  Choose Silver Needle buds that have a strong, sweet meadow-like fragrance to them, with well-proportioned bright strong leaves.

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The Differences Between Fresh and Aged Silver Needle White Tea

Bai Hao Yinzhen can actually acquire a better and more intense flavor with some time accumulation.  When stored properly, in an airtight jar or bag where light cannot penetrate, the quality of the Silver Needle white tea will actually improve.  The taste is more intense and the medicinal values of the Silver Needle tea are greater after being stored properly for approximately 2-3 years.

Freshly processed Silver Needle tea leaves have a slight green tone to them and the liquor produced is much lighter with a strong sweet fragrance and a mellow, refreshing flavor.  The bottom of a fresh Silver Needle leaf is a slightly olivine color, whereas an aged Silver Needle leaf has a much deeper color and the bottom of the leaf takes on a reddish-brown color.  The flavor of the aged Silver Needle tea is smoother and deeply mellow with a strong honey aroma.  Aged Silver Needle tea also has a much stronger flavor and aroma than fresh Silver Needle tea.

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How To Prepare White Tea

Soothe yourself with a warm cup of comforting white tea, known for its delicate flavor and high antioxidant levels. How to make white tea provides simple steps to help you brew the perfect cup, every time.

  1. Steep the tea: Depending on the particular variety and personal preference, the tea may steep between 1 to 5 minutes, although some teas may take up to 10 minutes. In general, leaf tea infuses more quickly than bud tea. Set a timer for 1 minute. Taste the tea at 1 minute and then every 30 seconds until it is to your liking.
  2. Cover the teapot or cup: Place the lid on the teapot, or if using a cup, cover it with a lid or a small saucer.
  3. Pour the water: Pour the water over the tea buds/leaves.
  4. Place the buds/leaves in the teapot or cup: Place the tea buds/leaves in the pot or cup, either directly or in an infuser.
  5. Measure the tea buds/leaves: Measure between 2 teaspoons and 2 tablespoons of tea. Use less if the tea consists of buds and more if the tea consists of leaves.
  6. Pre-warm the teapot or cup (optional): Pour a small amount of boiling water into the pot or cup. When the pot or cup is warm, pour out the water.
  7. Heat the water: Place the water in a tea kettle and heat it to 160°F to 180°F. Alternatively, bring the water to a boil and then let it rest for a couple of minutes until it cools to the correct temperature. If you do not have a thermometer to measure the specific temperature, heat the water to just short of boiling.
  8. Stop the infusion: As soon as the tea is ready, remove the buds/leaves by lifting out the infuser or pouring the tea through a strainer.
  9. Recipe Notes

Reusing tea buds/leaves: White tea can often be steeped 2 to 3 times, producing new flavors with each subsequent brew. Slightly increase the water temperature and steeping time for each brew.

Health Benefits of White Tea

ea has been used as medicine for centuries. Now modern science is discovering what people in China and throughout the world have long known: tea is good for you. While green and black tea are very healthy, white tea is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidant levels. It may be the supreme Drink of Health.

White Tea Antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are nasty things that go around wreaking havoc on your body, damaging DNA and accelerating aging. Antioxidants scoop them up and neutralize them. White tea is loaded with these protective nutrients.

Cancer Prevention

White tea may have profound power against cancer-causing cells and against many different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers. Flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. In some cases, white tea has been found to work as well as prescription drugs, but without the side effects.

Lower Blood Pressure

Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function. It helps lower high blood pressure and maintain a healthy one. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea guards against the ravages of stroke.

Lower Cholesterol

Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is teeming with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad. This helps prevent hardening of the arteries and blockage of blood flow.

Heart Protection

By thinning the blood, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol, white tea protects the heart and the entire circulatory system. Researchers have also discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. White tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.

Stronger Bones

Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. White tea may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.

Antibacterial & Antiviral

White tea is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. The antioxidants so abundant in white tea tone the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders and a wide range of diseases. Its helps guard against the common cold and flu, and can ease the symptoms of HIV.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

White tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. It also kills the bacteria which causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath.

Healthy Skin

Free radicals from staying out in the sun too long, stress, and a poor diet can damage the skin and cause it to prematurely age. By scavenging these free radicals, white tea protects the skin and helps to reverse some of the damage. Drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin.

Other Health Benefits

White tea has many other benefits to offer. It may reduce blood sugar and help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of diabetes. It reduces stress and increases energy.

White tea may or may not aid in weight-loss. Studies suggest tea may increase metabolism and encourage the body to burn more fat, but a balanced diet and regular exercise are more likely to produce results. Still, adding white tea to your weight-loss plan can’t hurt.

Review Of Health Benefits

By now you can see that white tea has a great range of effects on the body and a tremendous number of benefits to your health. Its supreme power is in preventing disease and disorder.

White tea protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke, the leading causes of death in the industrial world, as well as numerous other conditions. It eases the symptoms of illness and promotes recovery. White tea strengthens the circulatory and immune systems as well as bones and teeth, and builds healthy skin.

It is a superb tonic and one of Nature’s great gifts. We encourage you to add it to your life. To your good health!

White Tea 白茶Bai Cha

White tea belongs to the category of slightly fermented tea and is chiefly produced in Fujian province. It is characterised


by the high content of succulent, whitish, and hairy leaf-buds with a slight greenish tinge. White tea is a unique product of China. The bright yellowish green infusion is characterised by mild and mellow favour.白茶

White tea is the least processed form of tea, made of beautiful silver buds and select leaves which have been steamed and dried.

Because of its minimal processing, white tea contains more nutrients than its black or green cousins, making it the mightiest of the teas, the ultimate Health Tea.

Rare, striking in appearance, and pleasant tasting, white tea gets its name from the fine silvery white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant. The highest quality white tea, Silver Needle, consists only of these buds and is beautiful to behold.

The brew has a light, delicate, slightly sweet flavor that sharpens the senses without overwhelming the tongue.

It has less caffeine than black or green tea, and far less than coffee, making it an excellent choice for those wishing to reduce caffeine.

According to Chinese legend, some 5,000 years ago the emperor Shen Nung was traveling the countryside. The water was foul and unfit for drinking, so he ordered it to be boiled. Suddenly the wind blew a tea leaf into his cup of hot water. The curious emperor let the leaf steep, then drank the brew. Tea was born.

White tea became revered during China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279). It was the choice of the royal court and was given as tribute to the emperor. White tea leaves and buds were ground into a silvery powder, which was then whisked in bowls during the Song Tea Ceremony. This was the inspiration for the famous Japanese Tea Ceremony.

One Song Emperor was renowned for his love of white tea. Hui Zong (1101-1125) became so obsessed with finding the perfect tea that he lost much of his empire.

白茶1Over the next several centuries, powdered white tea and the Song Tea Ceremony were abandoned for loose-leaf tea.

In 1885, select varieties of the tea plant were developed for white tea.

White tea has come a long way in its long history. It was largely unknown outside China and the Orient until recently. Now, with a renewed interest in fine tea and remarkable discoveries about its health benefits, white tea is being discovered and enjoyed around the world.

 

Production of White Tea

The production process is generally divided into 3 steps:

Withering

Picked leaves are spread out (inside and/or outside in the sun) to soften the cell walls of leaves. This draws the moisture to the surface for evaporation, softens the leaves, begins natural enzymatic fermentation and sets up the next stage of processing. This also reduces the grassy taste of tea leaves.  The key to making excellent White Tea lies in the withering which is further divided into outdoor and indoor steps. The best combination seems to be outdoor withering of the leaves on a mild summer day, followed by further withering done inside.  The stems are then removed from the leaves, the natural waxy film coating is removed and they are slow-fire baked until dry. When the moisture content is reduced to about 4% to 5% , the leaves are then packaged.

“Kill-Green” (also known as Fixing”)

Stops the natural fermentation and growing processes within the leaves without damaging them.  Steaming the leaves, hand pressing in a hot pan and baking techniques are used. This also sets up the next step for Rolling/Forming the leaves.

Rolling/Forming

Leaves are passed through hot and/or cold rollers to slightly break down the leaves, which establishes the shape of the leaves and intensifies the tea flavour.

Drying

Establishes the final moisture content of the leaves, stops fermentation, prevents mold growth, removes any grassy leaf taste and develops the tea’s aroma.  Sun drying, pan heating and hot air methods are used.

Storing White Tea

Because White Tea is exposed to only a small  amount of processing, the leaves are subject to natural enzymatic breakdown by oxidation just like any other organic material. White Tea is best kept in a cool , dry place in an airtight container or even in a refrigerator. We recommend refrigeration which actually improves the taste of the tea, as well as making it last much longer. However, if refrigerated storage is used, the tea should be kept refrigerated at all times as successive warming and cooling will degrade the tea.

 

 

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