The Importance in Relation to the Consumption of Tea'd Greens

Developing a better understanding of the difference between green, oolong and black tea requires an understanding of the role oxidation plays in creating the different varieties. It’s important to know that all traditional tea comes from the same plant (camellia sinensis), well it’s actually an evergreen shrub that the industry keeps at about 5’ for ease of plucking. The differences associated to the green, oolong and black varieties comes from the degree and control of the oxidation of the leaf during processing. Green is not oxidised; black is fully oxidised with oolong somewhere in between.

Oxidation

Oxidation is a process whereby the compounds that are stable in the living cells of plants are exposed to oxidation enzymes, that are also present in different parts of the leaf, in the presence of oxygen. This “combining” starts to occur when the leaf is first harvested and is accelerated when the leaf is purposely crushed and battered during processing.

Fermentation

Fermentation on the other hand involves bacteria or yeast, in the absence of oxygen, that consume sugars to produce other compounds…like alcohol in the case of beer and wine. Hence, tea is oxidized not fermented…of course there is one exception which is pu-erh tea which is fermented after it is oxidised but that is another discussion.

With the above in mind, it is the oxidation of the leaves or the lack thereof, that creates distinct differences in the colour, taste, and nutritional properties of the leaves. This is also completely true for our Tea’d Greens. All our teas are made from the green leaves of barley, wheat and oats and the differences between green, oolong and black is the degree of oxidation the leaves undergo during our processing.


What is the relevance to you? First, let’s talk about colour…as the leaves oxidise, they tend to darken. Think of how an apply browns when cut or a banana (is it just me or does it seem like bananas darken way to quickly now) …I digress. It is enzymatic oxidation that causes the browning. The longer the leaves are oxidized the browner they become, and hence black tea has a darker hue than green tea. It is chlorophyll that is responsible for the green pigment you see in green leaves. The oxidation begins to transform the chlorophyll into other compounds that are devoid of the green pigment

Finally, I want to spend some time on the nutritional differences. Certainly, one of the reasons people consume our tea is for the nutritional benefit. Plants are chock a block full of many many different phytochemicals. Many of them are necessary for the growth of the plant…think back to your school lectures on photosynthesis.

There are compounds that have been isolated and studied by science because of their tremendous benefits to human health. Think of the plethora of supplements notwithstanding the various vitamins and minerals that line the shelves of health food stores.

Simply stated, there is no replacement for the inclusion of greens and vegetables in our diets. I imagine as I type this article many of us continue to promise ourselves to eat more fruit and vegetables.

  • Green

    Our process does not involve oxidation which preserves chlorophyll and enhances powerful antioxidants like saponarin, isovitexin and octacosanol. On-going studies have shown the benefits include:

    • Detoxifying
    • Repairs Oxidative Damage
    • Improves Gut Health
    • Immune Enhancing
    • Aid to Improve Iron Deficiency
    • Anti-Inflammatory
    • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Bulk Loose Leaf ~ 5 kg Scarlet Sunrise Super Greens

    Oolong

    Our process involves a moderate amount of oxidation which results in capturing some of the nutrients preserved in our green leaves as well as some of the new compounds formed in our black leaves. Benefits include:

    • Immune Enhancing
    • Repairs Oxidative Damage
    • Anti-Inflammatory
    • Detoxifying
    • Improves gut health
  • Bulk Loose Leaf ~ 5 kg Golden Terroir Super Greens

    Black

    Our process involves maximum oxidation which has shown to create new compounds like GABA and increase levels of amino acids particularly tryptophan. Benefits include:

    • Repairs Oxidative Damage
    • Calming of the Nervous System
    • Moderation of Moods
    • Increase Production of Serotonin
    • Immune Enhancing

I don’t want to turn this into a research paper and fear it is too late but in summary, the analysis showed significant nutritional differences between the green and black leaves as well as differences between the three different leaves of barley, wheat, and oats. This analysis cemented our belief that there is a synergistic benefit to including the leaves of all three plants in our teas. .

Clearly oxidation plays an important role in the nutrient formation in the different varieties of our teas. What we have learned thus far is that there is an art, and one we are still learning, to how long to oxidise the leaves and what are the ideal conditions. Our curiosity combined with a passion to produce the most nutritious and tasteful tea will see us continue along this quest.

One final comment, plants contain a complex matrix of phytonutrients. The interaction of the various nutrients and their impact on human health is not fully understood. But what we can say is taking nutrients in isolation will not belay the benefits of consuming nutrients within the whole plant matrix. One of the principal benefits of Tea’d Greens is that you are drinking a tea that is an infusion of the complete plant matrix. I think this is what nature intended.

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