Receiving much media praises in the recent decades for its health benefits such as great for digestion and strengthen immunity, Green tea is now one of the main stream beverage product.
Buying green tea is one of the most fun and learning experience. The reason is there are huge varieties of green tea and to write a USEFUL buying guide for that is my challenge today 😉
How to select a good green tea will depend on your use and of course your budget.
So, let’s start with one of the most essential tip. This selection criteria is most important because of the way green tea is made. Green tea is delicate, and unfermented. It has gone through very little processing (generally) and it ages quickly when exposed to air, or worse, other odours and moisture!
So first and foremost, FRESHNESS.
There are 2 ways green tea is made finished – steam dried (mostly used in Japan) and pan dried (mostly used in China).
Japanese green tea tastes “grassier” than the Chinese counterpart, accompanied with a greener brew.
Japanese have mastered the art of making this kind of green tea. They are a rather focused lot. They don’t make all kind of shapes and sizes – just make flat needle like Sencha, and variations like Bancha, and get really skilled at it.
Chinese green tea comes in literally all shapes and sizes. If you are after all the weird and wonderfully shaped tea, you find them in green tea – Jade Ring (Maiden Ring), Lung Ching (Dragon Well), Gunpowder, wait but there are more and more, such as:
- 信阳毛尖 Xin Yang Mao Jian – a popular green tea with a light dew taste
- 黄山毛峰 Huangshan Maofeng – the delicate and petite green buds and leaf from the famous mountain Huangshan.
- 六安瓜片 Liuan Leaf – with its signature flat bitter and large green tea
Sourcing Green Tea
Because green tea loses its freshness quickly, it is important to only buy what you need. Matcha green tea powder is the green tea oxidizes the quickest and should never buy in bulk (unless you can consume FAST).
If you plan to buy green tea for mixing, a “normal” green tea without too much boldness is preferred. Sencha made in China is often used for this reason. It can be found in many flavoured green tea blends.
Cafes in Australia prefers Sencha China, Jasmine Tea, and Gunpowder. They are all inexpensive, their tastes are normal, floral and smoky respectively.
Quick brewing Tips
Water too hot will scorch the leaves and cause bitterness! Never use water from your coffee machine without letting it cool down.
Chinese green tea can tolerate slightly hotter water than Japanese green tea. Biggest issue with brewing for most is the acidic sharpness and bitterness – if you brew with cooler water, you will reduce this problem significant.