Processing green tea involves several key steps, including heating, rolling, and drying. Each of these steps plays a crucial role in determining the quality and flavor of the final product.
How is Green Tea Made?
Green tea is produced from the following steps:
- Heating is the most important step in green tea processing.
- The goal of heating is to deactivate enzymes in the fresh tea leaves.
- Proper heating prevents oxidation of the tea’s polyphenols.
- It also preserves the green color of the leaves by preserving chlorophyll.
- Heating helps to remove undesirable scents and enhances the tea’s flavor.
- Two common heating techniques are steaming and stirring in a hot wok.
- The choice of heating method depends on factors such as the type of tea and local traditions.
- Heating is a critical step in determining the quality.
- Rolling is the procedure for shaping green tea leaves.
- The leaves are broken down and shaped into curly and twisted forms by external forces.
- Rolling helps to enhance the density of flavor in the tea.
- There are two main types of rolling: cold rolling and hot rolling.
- Cold rolling is done after the leaves have cooled following heating, and it is suitable for fresh leaves.
- Hot rolling is done before the leaves cool down after heating, and it is more suitable for older leaves.
- Most rolling of the leaves is done by machinery.
- Drying is the final step in green tea processing.
- Its purpose is to vaporize the remaining moisture in the leaves, shape the tea, and develop its flavor and aroma.
- Common drying methods include oven-drying, pan-drying, and sun-drying.
- The typical order of drying procedures is oven-drying followed by pan-drying.
- Oven-drying is performed first to reduce the moisture level in the leaves before pan-drying.
- Drying is a crucial step just before the tea is ready for sale.
- Different regions and tea types may use various drying techniques, including baking, frying, air drying, and sunning.
Green tea is the oldest tea in the world, according to various historical records. 3,000 years ago, the Chinese ancestors started to collect some leaves and sunned them. Technically, green tea drank and sold in a market context was invented in the 8th century, when steaming techniques were widely used.
There is a debate on whether modern techniques should be applied to the tea industry. Different people hold different opinions. Some believe only the classic methods can produce the best green tea. Some think machines and modern technique can improve the efficiency and aren’t against the traditions. Whatever the case may be, we believe as long as the teas are at least organic and health benefiting, beginner tea drinkers should focus on this and as their palette expands look more into high-end teas with specific heating and preparation methods in order to enjoy green tea even more.