Green tea comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis. The two main varieties of tea plants are Camellia sinensis, a small-leaf variety native to China, and Camellia sinesis assamica, a large-leaf variety that was first discovered in the Assam district of India.
Hundreds of cultivars and hybrid plants have evolved from these two plant varieties over time.
There are various types of teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Four well-known types are white tea made from young leaves and buds that have not yet turned green. The only processing for this tea is drying. The next is green tea which is made from mature leaves of the plant with minimal processing that involves only drying. Then there is black tea which is made from partially fermented mature leaves and oolong Tea, produced from fully fermented mature leaves.
Green tea is produced by harvesting the leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, quickly heated by pan frying or steaming, and dried to prevent too much oxidation from occurring. Oxidation turns the green leaves brown and alters their flavor. Brewed green tea is typically green, yellow, or light brown.
Green tea which originates from China traces back to 2737 B.C. It was accidentally discovered by the Chinese Emperor Shennong in the Yunan province of China when fresh tea leaves from a nearby Camellia sinensis tea tree fell into his cup of just boiled water. It was originally costly and only available to the highest tiers of Chinese society but became accessible to the general public for enjoyment and medicinal purposes in the 14th century. “The Classic of Tea” is the first written work to explain green tea culture and art around 800 A.D., by Lu Yu of China. Green tea is said to be mainstreamed in Japan around the 12th century and to this day, China and Japan are said to be the top exporting countries of Green tea in the world. Green tea traveled to the West in the 19th century with European explorers.