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the ultimate guide to green tea

Posted by arden on 3rd September 2018

the ultimate guide to green tea

These days we’re swapping our coffees for matcha lattes, and our cuppas with green tea-- with the young, the not so young, and everyone in between firmly jumping aboard the green tea train. And who can blame them!? We love green tea – it’s packed full of health benefits, is one of the most diverse tea groups out there, and above all, tastes amazing. We for one are THRILLED to see green tea finally taking up lots of well-deserved shelf space in our cupboards and shops.

With a whole world of green tea options out there, it’s worth knowing about the different types! Read on to discover the many ways to enjoy green tea (including matcha!) and how to make the best brew.

Starting with the basics…

What makes a tea a green tea?

All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but what defines the type of tea is whether or not (and how much) the tea has been oxidized. Black tea is fully oxidized and goes brown, but green teas are not oxidized. After the leaf is plucked, green teas are steamed or roasted to preserve the green color of the leaf and delicate flavors.

 

How does it taste - From light & floral (good) to astringent vegetable (…not as good)

How to serve - Hot, without milk (but it is also delicious over ice!)

What makes it so special – It is amazingly diverse, with different regions and producers offering a wild variety of flavors of green tea. So what green teas do we think are best?

 

Types of green tea

mao feng green tea – the classic

Louise says: This tea is special, unlike any other green tea on the market. A green tea liked by people who don’t like green tea….

The number of people who proclaim to disliking green tea because of that one dodgy cup of dusty green tea they tried back in the 80s is pretty astonishing – If that sounds like you, we strongly urge you to give it another try! Green tea should be light and most importantly…GREEN. Not a bitter, murky brown concoction. The secret is in the quality of the leaves… more on this later!

green with mint – best of both worlds

Louise says: A delicate green tea known as "precious eyebrows" blended with peppermint leaves for that traditional Moroccan experience.

This is what’s known as a ‘gateway green tea’…perfect for newcomers to the green tea scene. But before long you’ll be hooked on the mao feng – trust us.

jasmine pearls – a super special brew

Louise says: The leaves of this beautiful green tea, from Southern China are carefully hand rolled into a precious pearl then engulfed in fresh jasmine flowers. Leaving the tea to nestle amongst the flowers allows the natural floral scent to absorb into the tea, giving it a delicate pure taste!

This is one of our most special teas – it’s incredibly delicate, with a light, floral, refreshing, natural jasmine taste. If floral is your thing, definitely give our jasmine pearls a try. 

popcorn tea – for the adventurous green tea lover

Louise says: This tea has flourished from humble beginnings - Japanese peasants used to mix green tea with toasted rice to make it go further. It is now celebrated in its own right as Genmaicha tea, or Popcorn tea. A truly unique blend with an almost nutty undertone.

Popcorn tea has long divided tea lovers – it’s an acquired taste, that’s for sure. But as long as you think savoury toasted rice, as opposed to sugary sweet, you won’t be disappointed! This is a firm favourite in the teapigs office and a must try for anyone looking to shake up their regular green tea drinking habits. 

Bright n green – a feel good blend of green tea, lemongrass, coconut, and dandelion

This cleansing blend of mao feng green green tea, lemongrass, ginger, coconut, and dandelion leaves is packed full of antioxidants and will help you detox and feel refreshed. The secret is in the dandelion (taraxacum), which has been studied for its effects on aiding digestion and reducing bloating. 

matcha  - the superpower green tea.

Matcha is 100% pure green tea leaves, ground up into a fine powder so you ingest the WHOLE THING. It has a strong earthy flavor that goes really well with milk (or your favorite vegan milk such as oat milk) as a green tea latte (learn how to make the PERFECT matcha latte here!) Matcha is also loaded with benefits, from helping keep you focused and alert to boosting your metabolism – so if you’re in need for a late summer detox why not try our matcha challenge?

You can find out more about our superpower green tea here

How to make the BEST tasting green tea and matcha

When it comes to brewing a cuppa, different teas have different needs. Green teas and matcha brew best at lower temperatures than black and herbal teas. Green teas are delicate, and boiling hot water can burn the leaves and cause a bitter taste. Our first tip-- brew your leaves in 70-80 degrees C water and you'll get a nice and light flavor!  

Another tip for a great tasting green tea? Make sure you’re getting the REAL stuff. If you’re used to a paper tea bag, a good test will be to look inside! You’ll likely be met with a much lower quality leaf that has been chopped up and turned to dust – it’s no wonder that by the time it reaches your cup, so much of the flavor is lost.

Look for a BIG whole leaf tea usually available loose or in pyramid shaped tea temples which give more room for the leaves to infuse. These leaves have been rolled gently to preserve all the natural flavors and essential oils (containing nutrients). Not only will the taste be miles better, but health benefits and nutritional values will be too! 

 
As for matcha, we mentioned before that the benefits come from drinking the WHOLE leaf, so a tea bag with a sprinkling of matcha inside is not going to cut it. For the BEST matcha, make sure you're getting 100% pure ground green tea powder and look for one that is premium grade, so you know you won't be getting pieces of branch, or lower quality leaves mixed in (not good!)

You only need 1g a day to reap ALL the benefits (a little goes a long way!) so it's worth it to save up for the good stuff. Our matcha is 100% pure green tea leaves, grown in Nishio Japan, is premium grade and organic. Woohoo! Just look at the difference between a teabag "matcha" and the real stuff! 

Visit our green tea shop where you’ll find our whole range – from packs of 50 for the hardcore fans, loose tea for the traditional amongst you, and sample piglet packs for the newcomers. We’ve got something for everyone!

Use the code GOGREEN20 to get 20% off of ALL of our green teas and matcha! 

*Offer applied automatically at checkout. Cannot be used in conjuction with any other offer. Excludes bundles. Valid from September 12th, 2018 to midnight, September 17th, 2018. 

If you have any other questions about green tea or want to review one of the teas mentioned, please tag @teapigsUS on social!

Curious about other types of tea like oolong or white teas?