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An Introduction to Green Tea

If you haven't already tried it, what are you waiting for?

Have you ever thought about breaking from your everyday black tea routine, and trying some green tea? Perhaps you thought it was too exotic, or were unsure how it would taste. It's time to get out of your tea rut, and brew up a cup of green tea. It tastes great, is easy to make and is just packed with healthy stuff.

What is green tea?
What exactly is the difference between green tea, and the comfortable black tea you are used to? Well, it all comes from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), but the difference is in the processing. Green tea is dried, but not fermented. The shorter processing gives green tea a lighter flavour than black tea. It also helps keep all the beneficial chemicals intact, which is why green tea is so good for you.

But what does it taste like?
Don't expect green tea to taste like your regular tea.All the different kinds of green tea have different flavours, but they do have a taste in common. The flavour of green tea can be described as: fresh, light, green, or grassy. Some varieties of green tea are have a bit of sweetness to them, and some are a little astringent. Green tea is not usually served with milk or sugar, but you can decide that for yourself.

Too many kinds to choose from!
If you really want to experiment with good green tea, you may need to look beyond your grocery store. While most supermarkets will carry a few brands of green tea (usually in bags), there won't be much selection. If your city has a Chinatown area, you'll probably find some amazing green teas there, or you could try mail order. Some types to look for: sencha, gunpowder or Dragon Well. I've got a list of the top types of green tea. Grocery store packaged teas might just be marked 'green tea', without any distictive variety given. You might want to avoid these types of tea, as they will likely be blends of poor quality.

How do you brew green tea?
Just the same as you would brew any other kind of tea, whether you have bagged tea or loose green tea. One thing to watch out for: don't use fully boiling water. Green tea is more delicate than black, so you want to keep the water a little cooler. Brewing when your water is just about to hit the boil is good.

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