Everything you need to know about green tea
By Isabelle Wilkinson
Perhaps the biggest tea success story of recent years, green tea is widely celebrated for its health benefits and clean, fresh flavour. What many people don’t know, however, is that just like black and oolong teas, green tea comes from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis.
How is green tea made?
After the leaves are picked, they are withered and then immediately steamed or fired to prevent oxidation. This lack of oxidation, compared to fully oxidised black teas, is what gives green tea its vibrant green colour and fresh, vegetal flavour. It is also why green teas are so packed full of natural antioxidants.
What does green tea taste like?
Green teas can range from the sweet, floral character of a Chinese green, such as Jade Tips, to an intense vegetal Japanese Sencha, the flavour depending on where the leaves are grown and how the leaves are heated. Green tea is widely believed to be bitter in taste. However, this is usually due to burning the leaves with boiling water. When brewed at lower temperatures the resulting flavour should be smooth, clean and even sweet.
How much caffeine is there in green tea?
All green teas differ in the amount of caffeine they release but overall green tea won’t leave you feeling jittery in the same way as coffee might. That’s because green tea also contains L-theanine, a natural amino acid that provides both a calming effect of its own, as well as slows down the release of caffeine into the bloodstream. The combination of the two therefore means green tea provides a long-lasting, jitter-free buzz.
What are the benefits of green tea?
Better memory: Green tea has positive effects on parts of the brain used for memory, increasing cognitive functions.
Increased productivity: Green tea contains both caffeine, a stimulant, and L-theanine, which reduces anxiety - the combination is particularly potent for improving brain function.
Weight loss: Green tea is a favourite for many nutritionists thanks to its effect on the metabolism. Matcha, in particular, is often included in smoothies, energy balls and pre-workout snacks.
A couple of our most popular green teas
This, our most popular green tea, recently won a Great Taste award thanks to its bright, clean character. Grown high in the Bai Yun or ‘White Cloud’ mountains, these dark, wiry leaves produce a bright, pale green liquor. Its clean, vegetal flavour and lingering almond sweetness make it a deliciously refreshing, everyday green tea.
Widely drunk in Japan, Sencha is a steamed green tea with a uniquely fresh, savoury character. This one is grown on southeast facing hills in full sunlight, then shaded fourteen days before plucking to bring out more sweetness. The dark, silky leaves produce a vibrant green cup with a smooth, mellow finish.