Green Tea - The combination of a bud and top leaf from the tea plant provides us with the backbone of green tea. After picking, the tea begins its journey down the mountain where it will be thinly spread in the shade and left to air-dry. This primary drying is short to prevent oxidation of the leaf. The next step in green tea’s manufacture determines the characteristics of a tea’s style. Working with fresh product, a team of firers will sift, roll, flatten, tumble, or shake the tea over a heat source until it is thoroughly dried and the flavor is locked in.
The method of firing will give the tea distinctive shapes. Traditionally, this process was done entirely by hand in baskets and on woks carefully placed over coal and wood burning fires. Today, large tumblers and ovens are employed during this phase to process large amounts of green tea for export.
The flavor of green tea is partially determined by region of growth and time of pick, but especially dependent upon method of finishing. Pan-frying results in the toasty flavor of Long Jing, while steaming results in the vegetal and robust flavors of Sencha.
It was once said that over 10,000 types of green tea exist in China alone. While this may be an exaggeration, the chances are good that if you haven’t found a green tea you like, there is one waiting for you out there.
Green Tea: 2-3 minutes