Text by Bruce Richardson • Photography by Sarah Arrington
Every harvested tea begins as green tea, the oldest of all tea families. The freshly plucked sets of two leaves and a bud are either pan-fired in woks or placed in large mechanical steamers, where a steam bath kills the enzymes and prohibits oxidation. The leaves are then flattened or rolled by hand or machine and dried. Since they are not heavily bruised and oxidized, the dry leaves retain their natural dark olive-green color and their vegetative aroma and taste.
Green tea is sought after for its health benefits. The buzzword among tea research scientists for the past decade has been EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate, an antioxidant polyphenol), green tea’s principle catechin and a powerful antioxidant.
For centuries, China, Japan, and Taiwan were principle sources for green tea production. With the worldwide increase in demand, every major tea-growing country now produces green tea.