Why is Japanese Green Tea so green?

Having lived in China awhile, I have noticed that some green tea is kind of a brown colour, while others are a very deep green colour. That green colour only lasts for the first cup I drink with those leaves – after that the colour both fades and takes on a more natural brown hue. After all, the colour seems to be a chemical added to the tea to make it look better.

In Japan, I drank lots of green tea. Lots of it was certified organic, and a lot of it was a deep green colour. The colour might fade after a few glasses with the same leaves, but it did not converge on a brown hue. Why? Last night I found out the answer. When Japanese farmers create Gyokuro (玉露) tea, they keep the tea bushes in the shade. This causes the plants to greatly increase the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves. That colour remains after the leaves have been processed, hence the deep green colour of good Japanese green tea.


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