It is difficult to imagine a more sterling reputation than the one enjoyed by Green tea. On a daily basis it is lauded for being rich in antioxidants and promoting human health. Green tea drinkers readily praise its diverse character and its ability to deliver energy and mental focus. The history of the drink is unparalleled, its mystique unassailable. There is so much tradition to understand, so much variety to taste our way through, that it is clear that we are only just getting to know this ancient beverage.
The first recorded mention of Green tea dates back well over two thousand years ago to the Chinese Zhou Dynasty. At first, the beverage was almost certainly crude, little like the delicate artisanal work we see today. But by 780 AD much had changed. This was the year that scholar Lu Yu published his masterwork, “The Classic of Tea,” which described the refined preparation and appreciation of tea in stunning detail. Tea had begun to develop deep layers of social and cultural significance. The Japanese, who first acquired tea from China at this time, borrowed heavily on these ideas as their tea culture blossomed.
For much of the last three centuries, Western tea drinkers have shown a preference for Black tea. But as globalization has allowed access to high quality Green tea in all its tremendous diversity, they have begun to develop a deep appreciation for the ancient beverage. Rightfully so.