Friday, April 08, 2005

Comment on "How green should me green tea be?"

I recently replied to a comment that a reader posted about "How green should my green tea be?" (March 11, 2005). With the blog-hosting service I use, it isn't exactly intuitive how to find replies to comments that readers post, so I thought I'd put it up on the blog as an ordinary posting.

"Anonymous" wrote:

>Hi Mellow Monk. Great blog you have here. I plan to read
>it often.
>I have to take issue, however, with your assertion that
>green tea necessarily has to be green. That's a bit of a
>misnomer, isn't it?
>I know this isn't up your alley since you sell only
>Japanese Green, but the Chinese Dragon's Well is
>traditionally not green at all. It's a pale yellow
>or tan color.
>I don't think that indicates any oxidation. It's just
>the natural color of the tea, no?

I replied:

Hi, and thanks for your comment. You're right -- a color other than green doesn't necessarily indicate a lower quantity of catechins or other antioxidants. And I'm not sure how the content of these antioxidants vary among the various types of green tea. However, some Chinese green teas are allowed to ferment slightly before steaming or pan-frying, and this does lower the antioxidant content and result in a brownish or outright brown infusion. Dragon's Well could be higher in some antioxidants and lower in others (e.g., the type responsible for green coloring, such as polyphenols). So, the key factor with any type of tea is how quickly the leaves are processed after harvesting to stop oxidation and fermentation. But this is definitely something I need to research further. Thanks for pointing that out. And thanks for taking the time to comment! I was starting to feel lonely out there in cyberspace!

--Mellow Monk.

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