Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Infrared cooking boosts green tea's benefits

A Korean team of researchers has shown that a tea's concentrations of antioxidants and a host of other desirable chemicals are higher when roasting is done with far-infraread heat lamps instead of using a conventional oven.


The article incorrectly states that "[l]eaves that will become green tea are first roasted to inactivate their enzymes." Actually, green tea is steamed first; roasting is the second step.


Another point requiring clarification: The number-one factor in preserving the antioxidant content of green tea is processing the tea leaves as quickly as possible after harvest. Harvested leaves must be steamed right away to inactivate enzymes (which would otherwise destroy the catechins and other antioxidants) and stop oxidation.


Small-farm green tea like Mellow Monk's is harvested in small batches. Growers harvest only as much as they can steam right away. In contrast, the massive farms that produce what's in your typical mass-market tea harvest tea in large amounts. The sheer weight of the tea alone generates heat inside the pile that speeds up enzyme activity. That, plus the time delays involved in large-scale tea farming, make for lower contents of catechins.


To summarize: The trick to assuring your green tea has lots of catechins is to buy the good stuff—like Mellow Monk Green Tea.



Tea time!


—Mellow Monk


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