Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Elixir of Life

You ever wonder what it would taste like if you took a handful of fresh green grass, put it into your mouth, and began to chew? And not quickly like you were trying to just get it down, but slowly, savoring the essence of the grass? Well, I can’t say that I have ever really wondered about that or ever even wanted to try it. But I can imagine it.

You see, I’m a big fan of green tea. It’s great! Green tea originated in China and has become associated with many of the cultures in Asia. Green tea is different from black tea in that it comes solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, which have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. In contrast, black tea is stronger in flavor and caffeine due to its higher oxidation level. The oxidation process usually occurs in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. This is actually referred to as ‘fermentation’, although nothing actually ferments. The quality of the final tea product dictates the extent of oxidation that is required. As mentioned above, since green tea does not go through the fermentation process it has a milder flavor and a lower caffeine content (approx. 1/3 that of a similar volume of coffee). Consequently, the flavor is more delicate and usually will not retain its potency beyond one year, whereas black tea will retain its potency for several years.

My apologies, I digress. Anyway, green tea is high in antioxidants (good for you) and is believed to help lower your chances of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer [1]. Did you know that in China and Japan alone over 30 different types of green tea are commercially produced? Amazing! So, you know I like green tea. Well, I must have had a lower tier tea today. The hotel that I’m staying at (name removed to protect the ignorant) had green tea bags available at breakfast. In anticipation, I placed the bag into a cup and submerged it with a steaming mixer. After a few minutes of steeping, I took my first sip. WO! Not a good first impression. I finished the cup just the same. But I believe that I now have a better appreciation for ‘good’ green tea and how it would taste to steep a large handful of grass in a cup of water and drink it for refreshment. I’ll leave the grass to the cows.

1 comment:

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