Green Tea

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Green tea preserves some of the original qualities of the fresh leaf, while heightening them and rounding them out. It’s made by cooking the fresh or briefly withered leaves to inactivate their enzymes, then pressing them to release their moisture, and drying them in hot air or on a hot pan. In China, the cooking is done on a hot pan, and this “pan-firing” produces aroma molecules characteristic of roasted foods (pyrazines, pyrroles) and a yellow-green infusion. In Japan, the cooking is done with steam, which preserves more of the grassy flavor and green color in both leaf and tea.