Your Guide to Green Teas
As the weather begins to warm up and the days are full of the scents and sounds of spring, you may find yourself looking for a fresh and vibrant green tea to match the seasonal mood. Green teas are renowned as healthy, low-caffeine, flavoursome teas, and there are plenty of reasons why this much-loved variety is so popular, accounting for around a third of all tea produced in the world.
Green teas are prepared through a unique process, whereby an additional drying stage is included in order to halt oxidisation (this process may also be referred to as ‘killing the green’, ‘fixing the green’, ‘firing’ or ‘first drying’). This drying stage preserves the green and leafy appearance of the tea leaves, along with antioxidant levels, while also inhibiting the development of caffeine. For this reason, green teas are often enjoyed by those looking for a lower caffeine tea, perhaps instead of a black tea.
This drying process is managed in different ways, often varying between countries; some producers will pan-roast the tea leaves, while other will steam the leaves, so that each green tea variety offers its own unique flavour profiles and aromas. In China, for example, the traditional method involves exposing the leaf to direct heat in a large pan that is heated from below using wood or hot coals, a process known as sha qing.
There are said to be more than 200 green tea varieties produced around the world, making it one of the most versatile tea varieties. Popular varieties include sencha green teas and gunpowder tea.
Sencha Green Tea
Rather than applying direct heat, as done with many green teas, this Japanese tea making process involves the use of steam to create sencha. Leaves are subjected to steam in a closed environment, usually a stainless steel vessel with a conveyor. This steaming process effects the flavour and aromas of the sencha tea according to how long the leaves are exposed to the steam; longer periods of steaming, of up to two minutes, result in smoother, less astringent teas when compared to those exposed to shorter steaming periods (between 20 and 30 seconds), which result in high astringency and strength, and a clear, light yellow colour.
Gunpowder Green Tea
This Chinese green tea is prepared by rolling leaves into small pellets, at which point they are withered, steamed, rolled and dried. While beautiful to look at, there are also practical reasons for gunpowder tea to be processed in this way. Firstly, the shape of this tea means it can be more easily transported. Secondly, rolling the tea leaves into balls seals in the delicious flavours and wonderful aromas that have been developed throughout processing.
Our Favourite Green Teas
Japan Sencha Green Tea – From £13.99
This classic green tea is delicate and well-rounded, offering lovely grassy notes, a hint of bitterness and a smooth finish, and is ideal to be enjoyed all through the day.
Sencha tea is rich in antioxidants, which may help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, and contains compounds that have been shown to promote heart health and boost the immune system.
Made from the same South African plant as traditional red rooibos, Green Rooibos contains leaves that are processed slightly differently: specially treated to prevent oxidation, Green Rooibos leaves create a tea that is lighter in body and less citric than red rooibos. Naturally caffeine-free, Green Rooibos offers up woody, grassy notes, a natural sweetness and delicious fruity flavours.
Earl Grey Green Tea – From - £10.99
Flavoured with natural bergamot oil, our Earl Grey Green Tea offers a well-balanced beverage with an intoxicating aroma. Made with a blend of high-quality green tea leaves and oil extracted from the rind of the fragrant bergamot orange, this unique, vibrant and refreshing tea combines the natural freshness of green tea with the bright and zesty flavour of bergamot.
A tropically flavoured green tea, featuring lovely guava scents and a sweet taste from passion fruit and mango additions.
Rose Green Tea – From £10.99
Delicately scented with rose, this China Gunpowder tea is layered with rose petals and reveals a wonderful rose aroma, making a great base for iced tea.
Produced in the Zhejiang Province of China, gunpowder tea is prepared by rolling the leaves into small pellets, at which point they are withered, steamed, rolled and dried. The resulting tea is beautifully golden in colour, and packed full of flavours and wonderful aromas that can be enjoyed all through the day.
Jasmine Blossom Green Tea – From £8.99
This delicately flavoured, semi-fermented green tea from China contains the petals of the Jasmine Flower and reveals wonderful, intense scents of flowery jasmine blossoms.
Vanilla Green Tea – From £10.99
Made from Chinese gunpowder tea that has been delicately scented with vanilla, Vanilla Green is sweet and creamy, with a subtle caramel character.
Delicate and smooth, with light and satisfying grassy undertones, this low-caffeine tea is refreshing and aromatic, and can be enjoyed all through the day.