Because green tea is grown and harvested in many different regions of China and Japan, it would easily fill up a book trying to explain each type and variant. Listed below are some of the more popular variants of green tea, most of which you can find right here at Art of Tea.
Chinese Green Teas
Longjing or Dragonwell is pan fried and has flat sword-shaped leaves. It has a vibrant jade green hue and a fresh, clean and mellow flavor and aroma.
Gunpowder gets its distinctive name because of the process in which it is made. The leaves are hand shaped into small spheres that resemble gunpowder and with its slightly brisk and smoky flavor, it really is quite a fitting name. As the primary ingredient in Moroccan Mint tea, gunpowder helps to round out the flavor by balancing out the sharpness of the mint.
Yun Wu or Cloud & Mist is harvested at a much higher altitude, smothered in clouds. The resulting cup has a light and slightly sweet taste.
Japanese Green Teas
Gyokuro, or Jade Dew tea, is the most precious and highly sought after green tea. Select Tencha leaves are shade grown for up to 20 days then harvested and promptly steamed to maintain elevated levels of chlorophyll. The resulting cup steeps a bright green color with a sweet, grassy finish.
Sencha is the most common green tea from Japan and is also the base for many of our green tea fusions. Unlike Gyokuro, Sencha leaves are directly exposed to sunlight. Sencha gets its name from the decoction method in which it is processed and delivers a slightly astringent, vegetal cup with bright grassy after notes.
Kukicha, or twig tea, is comprised of twigs, stems and stalks. Usually this tea consists of the remnants of the gyokuro and sencha harvest. This tea is slightly roasted and is a bit more oxidized than most green teas, giving the tea a nutty taste with a round, thick flavor.
Matcha is a finely ground tea powder made from Tencha leaves. It is prepared by whisking the tea powder with hot water in a ceramic bowl. Matcha is the primary form of tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. The sweet flavor of matcha is due to the amount of amino acids present in the tea and the higher the quality, the sweeter and deeper the flavor is.
Tencha is a shade cultivated tea and is harvested primarily for matcha production. The leaves are laid flat to dry instead of rolled like most other tea leaves and are dried completely away from sunlight or indoors. This helps to preserve its darker green color which aids in the production of amino acids.
Genmaicha, popularly known as “popcorn tea” is made with green tea and roasted brown rice. Sometimes referred to as the “people’s tea,” Japanese lore tells of farmers adding rice to stretch out precious tea supplies in order to keep the price down. This tea has a slight golden hue and has a crisp yet roasted finish.
Hojicha is unique in that it is not steamed like most Japanese teas but is actually roasted over charcoal. This process gives the leaves a brownish appearance, resembling a black tea.
Green Tea Tips & Preparation
Green tea is best prepared at a mild water temperature of 180°-185° F, with a steep time of about 3 minutes. Water that is too hot may result in the release of tannins from the leaves, causing the tea to become astringent. Higher quality green teas can be re-steeped 2-3 times before the flavor begins to degrade. It is suggested that you use about 1 tsp per 8oz cup for optimum results.
Generally, an 8oz cup of green tea yields about 15-48mg of caffeine per serving. This measurement varies depending on how long the tea is steeped. The longer the steep time, the higher the caffeine content will be. The caffeine content will lessen each time tea is re-steeped.
Whether you are new to green tea or just looking for something unique and adventurous to satiate your palate, we have a wonderful selection of teas and blends to try.
Iced – Green Pomegranate, Liquid Jade, Green Pear, Moroccan Mint
Single Source – Dragonwell, Jasmine Pearls, White Tip Jasmine, Matcha Grade A, Gyokuro, Yun Wu Clouds Mist
Blends – Eisai’s Choice Sencha, Green Pomegranate, Green Earl Grey, Moroccan Mint