Japanese Vs. Chinese Green Tea?

by Loree
(Los Angeles)

Which has more antioxidants? Japanese steamed green tea or Chinese pan fired green tea? Are nutrient levels pretty much the same or does steaming vs. pan firing to stop oxidation affect the nutrient levels?

Answer

Loree, for all practical purposes, you can assume them to be the same.

The division is not clear cut.

Chinese green tea can be either roasted, ovened or steamed. Steaming is less common these days, except for tea made for export to Japan or worldwide.

A lot of Chinese teas are made using combinations methods. Biluochun is roasted then ovened. Houkui tea is wholly ovened. Zhuyeqing is said to use all three methods.

Some Japanese teas I understand use pan-roasting.

So many different factors influence quality: harvesting season, timing of picks, tea garden altitude, handmaking or machine, that the difference in processing is unlikely to be helpful in helping you to decide which tea to choose.

Intuitively you would expect steaming to retain more nutrition. But high heat roasting takes place for only a short time solely to inactivate any enzymatic actions.

Personally, I think the debate of Japanese versus Chinese green tea comes back to the following comparison:

- Always go for spring harvested tea.

- They taste different. Badly made Japanese green tea can taste fishy. Pan roasted tea tastes nutty. The difference is really whether you like sushi or stir-frying food more.

- Regardless of which process is used, the better tea should be full-bodied with a long sweet aftertaste, rich and smooth to taste, calm and refreshing to drink.

- If you are looking for an everyday tea, then find a shop you can trust! You don't want a China grown contaminated tea, but you don't want a Chinese export tea pretending to be a Japanese green tea either.

- If you are looking for highest quality, then I believe Chinese green tea has a lot more to offer because there are a huge varieties involved (9 shapes produced in 15+ provinces using 3 different processing methods) and more likely to be handmade than factories produced.

I hope you are happy with my reply. Any more question let me know!

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