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While green tea has been consumed longer than any other variant of the camellia sinensis plant, the ways in which it is processed haven’t really changed. In many tea producing countries, green teas are still hand-harvested and hand-shaped, and in some cases with the help of very simple age-old machinery that has been passed down from generation to generation. The ways in which it is consumed however, have changed drastically.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that green tea made its way into European and more western cultures. Until the invention of the clipper ship, western cultures were only familiar with black teas, which were the result of freshly harvested green teas that were usually transported via camelback for months at a time by traveling merchants.