WHAT’S GREEN TEA?
Not known to many, green tea actually
comes from the same plant where normal tea is obtained. Scientifically, it is known as Camellia Sinensis. In fact, it is the same tea but it is processed differently.
The normal black tea is obtained by fermenting the tea leaves. This fermentation changes its color and flavor, while raising the level of caffeine and tannin in it. On the other hand, in the case of Green Tea, the tea leaves are dried or slightly steamed but not fermented. This is what makes it look green when it’s brewed.
The health benefits of green tea are primarily due to its antioxidant properties that come from its caffeine, Catechins Polyphenols and Theonine content.
What is Green Tea Extract?
A green tea extract is a herbal derivative from green tea leaves (Camellia sinensis). Containing antioxidant ingredients – mainly green tea catechins (GTC) – green tea and its derivatives are sought-after among people who pursue good health. Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.
FUN FACT: Do you know what the term “Cha” means, which is often found in the names of various qualities of green tea such as Gyokurocha, Sencha, Bancha, Matcha, and Houjicha? It simply means “Tea”, and tea is extremely popular all over India as “Cha” (In Bengal & adjacent states) and “Chai” in the other areas. Just some fun facts for you to share with other tea lovers over your next cup of green tea!
Why Green Tea Solution?
Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, originating in China but widely used throughout Asia this beverage has a multitude of uses from lowering blood pressure to preventing cancer. The reason that green tea has more health benefits attached to it than black tea is (apparently) due to the processing. Black tea is processed in a way that allows for fermentation whereas green tea’s processing avoids the fermentation process. As a result, green tea retains maximum amount of antioxidants and poly-phenols the substances that give green tea its many benefits.
Surely, this is the faster way to lose those extra pounds!
Introduction to Harvesting or Plucking of Tea Shoots
Harvesting is the operation in which the tender tea shoots are picked, which is generally termed as “plucking”. A tea shoot at the correct maturity for the manufacture of high quality made tea, comprises of an unfurled bud with two or three soft leaves.
The correct proportions and concentrations of chemical compounds and enzymes which synthesize poly-phenolic structures in made tea, occur in fresh tea leaves at that correct maturity.
On the other hand, hard fibrous parts in tea shoot is getting higher with the maturity. If the shoots are over grown, it will sure decrease the out turn and increase waste tea in manufacture. The quality and the quantity of made tea will be, thus, determined by the maturity of the shoots being plucked.
Therefore, it is extremely important to strictly adhere to the correct maturity of tea shoots as it determines the quality and the quantity of the made tea and hence, the profitability of the tea plantations.
Thorough understanding on the severity, standard and interval of tea harvesting will be resulted in high quality fresh shoots being plucked. These terms will be clearly discussed, later in this page.
Most of the tea farmers or land owners practice manual harvesting. Being the most labour intensive practice consuming approximately 50%-60% of the total labour requirement in tea field operations, harvesting contributes about 25%-30% of the cost of production (COP) in Sri Lanka.
Mechanical harvesting appears in practice when the labour scarcity is experienced. Though it apparently increases the labour productivity, it highly affects the productivity of the tea bushes and quality of made tea in tropical countries where a well distributed rainfall and year-round sunlight received. The main reason for this kind of consequence is non-selective harvesting which ruins the tea bush by affecting sink source connection of the carbohydrates produced in the leaves.
Handling and care of fresh leaves after harvesting is as important as the correct maturity for the quality of made tea and profitability, since careless handling and transport will add impurities and damage the green shoots before they are manufactured and thus, increase post harvesting losses.
Therefore, better understanding about the physiology of tea shoot and post-harvest handling and care of fresh leaves will be utterly important for quality made tea and profit maximization.
Parts of a tea shoot or Physiology of a Tea Shoot
In any plant, there are two kinds of buds or shoots. Buds at the top of the branch or shoot is called the “Apical bud” and below that between every petiole and the stem, are alternative or side buds.
So long as the apical bud or the top most bud is there, all other minute alternative or side buds tend to inactive and remain silently without growing. This phenomenon is so called as the “Apical Dormancy”.
When a shoot is picked, the apical bud is removed and hence, the apical dormancy is beaked, allowing the bud immediately below the plucking point to get active and grow, which is termed as bud break. Most of the time, only one bud immediately below the plucking point begins to grow, some time that might be two or three.
First two scale leaves covering and protecting the minute buds are opened with the swelling of that minute shoots. Then the shoot becomes growing fast and the first leaf or the Fish Leaf (Mean Leaf) is unfurled. Fish leaf is different from the normal tea leaf by its small size, absence of the serration in leaf margin and blunt leaf tip. Rarely, there might be two such leaves opened. In such instances the below one is called the Janam leaf while the upper one is termed Fish leaf.
Then the normal leaves unfurl and grow rapidly. Once a new leaf is unfurled the weight of the shoot is doubled. But this rapid growth remains only about 2 – 3 leaves unfurled. After that, though the shoot is growing the weight gain is less and the same time, fibrous content and hardy parts become the main constituent of the weight. After producing approximately 5-6 leaves, the apical bud becomes inactive and stops growing. This plant specific, genetically controlled phenomenon, having two alternative periods of active and dormant is technically termed as the “periodicity of growth” or “growth periodicity”.
Once become dormant, it will take approximately 3-4 months to get active and grow if remained un-plucked after which it gets active & grow again. If the dormant shoot is plucked, it will begin to grow once the apical dormancy is removed and again produce a harvest-able shoot around 40-50 days.
Researched and confirmed by: Proficient Muteguya Goodrich