Ah, green tea! So refreshing and clear...This antioxidant powerhouse of a tea has taken the world by storm in recent years, and with good reason! A great green tea is as delicious as it is healthy, and green tea quality here in North America is on the rise.
Whether you find it to be exotic or everyday, if it's a whole new world or your go-to brew, we've got your green tea needs covered. Here's a quick guide to get you started:
Still not sure where to begin? Check out our Green Tea Sampler, or create your own mix-and-match sampler with our sample-size option. Welcome to our world of green teas!
So, green tea is super-healthy, right?
Green tea is known for being unusually high in antioxidants, including EGCG. Often hailed as a superfood (or, more accurately, a "superdrink"), green tea is recommended by many health professionals as a healthy part of your daily diet. You can learn much more by reading up on green tea's health benefits on the many websites and books that focus on that kind of thing...
But what we really love about green tea is its flavor! I mean, as healthy as green tea is, it's not going to do you any good if it's just sitting in your cupboard, right? We love to find and offer green teas that are every bit as tasty as they are healthy. So stop over-thinking the whole tea-health thing and start drinking some great green tea!
How do I brew green tea?
There are two things that we have seen change people from green tea haters into green tea lovers in a matter of minutes. The first is having a good green tea. (Most people are brewing bad tea and expecting it to taste good. It doesn't and it never will!) The second is to brew it properly.
Unlike black tea and most tisanes ("herbal teas"), green tea is a little finicky when it comes to brewing. You have to coax out its sweetness and nuance a little, and each green tea responds differently. Sound complicated? Don't worry - Âit's actually pretty easy when you put a little attending and care into it.
Here's how it works - Use a lower temperature than you think you'll need and then brew it for a short time. Is that water boiling? It's too hot! Slightly bubbling to just a simmer is the range you're going for here. Pour it over the tealeaves and STAY THERE. If you walk away, then you are just asking for a bitter cup of tea. Within three minutes at the very most, remove the leaves (or pour out the tea, depending on your brewing method) and give it a taste. If it's bitter, try a shorter brew time next time. You might even find that a mere 20 seconds gives your tea the sweet, nuanced taste you love!
Of course, we provide basic brewing instructions on all our tea packaging, so you'll have a solid start on great green tea brewing. But that little extra bit of attention and care goes a long way in making sure your green tea tastes not just good, but great. Experiment with it and find what you love!
How is green tea produced?
Green tea is typically harvested, quickly heated and then fully dried before it is packed and shipped. The heating just after harvest keeps it from oxidizing, which basically just means that it retains the fresh, green flavor of just-cut plant material.
In China, where tea production originated, green teas are typically roasted in a wok-like vessel or in an oven. This kind of processing can give Chinese green teas a more roasty, nutty or mellow flavor.
In Japan, where green tea has been a national obsession for the last few hundred years, green teas are typically steamed. This gives Japanese green teas a more vegetal flavor, kind of like sauteed baby spinach or spring peas. Some Japanese green teas (such as Matcha and Gyokuro) are shaded during the last part of their growth before harvest. This gives them a distinctive umami flavor, which is often described as savory, brothy, rich and satisfying.
Does green tea have caffeine?
Yup, just like black tea, oolong tea and white tea, green tea naturally contains caffeine. All of these teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which (like the coffee plant and the cacao plant) produces caffeine.
While green teas vary in the amount of caffeine per serving, with Matcha and Gyokuro having more than most other types, it's typical for a cup of green tea to have around 30 milligrams of caffeine per serving. (Compare that to 130 mg per serving in brewed coffee!)
Interestingly, many people report that they feel the negative side effects of green tea's caffeine less than they do from a soda with a similar level of caffeine. This may be due to the presence of a compound called L-theanine that's found in tea (especially green tea). Isolated forms of theanine are currently being tested as anti-anxiety drugs. Wild!
Is the symbol on your green tea packages a tea leaf?
Yup, that's an image of "two leaves and a bud" - Âthe most prized part of the tea plant, known for its taste and health benefits.