Tea 101: What is Green Tea?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Bright, invigorating and packed with antioxidants, green tea is the most popular drink in the world (after water). And like all tea types, it comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant – an evergreen shrub native to Asia. So what makes green tea so darn delicious? It all comes down to the way it’s processed. While black teas and oolongs are oxidized, green tea leaves undergo a firing step (either pan-fired or steamed) to fix the tea’s flavour and to stop the air from darkening the leaves, so that beautiful jade colour stays intact. This results in vibrant flavours that range from crisp, vegetal and nutty to oceanic, buttery and umami-rich.

There are about a million different green teas out there, each one brimming with delicious feel-good benefits. So how do you know where to start?

Discover the benefits of green tea

Green tea is known for having a ton of health benefits, which is why it’s the key ingredient in so many cleansing and energy-boosting blends. In addition to being our go-to detox tea, green tea is also super high in L-theanine, which helps increase focus and mindfulness – why else would monks have used it in zen ceremonies for so many years? With its energizing and hydrating properties, it’s the perfect drink to sip on during a workout – especially iced.

How much caffeine is in green tea?

If you’re looking for a refreshing way to get that caffeine boost you’ve been craving, green tea might just become your new go-to. It contains between 15-45 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup, which is about half the amount found in black tea. When it comes to green tea vs coffee, green tea contains a lot less caffeine than your average cup of joe, which holds around 140 mg of caffeine. Try switching out your morning coffee for a healthy mugful of toasty Genmaicha green tea to help increase energy levels and alertness.

What does green tea taste like?

Green tea tastes refreshing, vegetal and grassy (in a good way). When it comes to this tea category, there are two main types. Japanese green teas like Japanese Sencha and Gyokuro Yamashiro are steamed, giving them a sweet, buttery and oceanic flavour – plus they have a rich umami taste we can’t get enough of. Chinese green teas on the other hand are pan-fired, so they’re vegetal and nuttier.

And then there’s a whole world of green tea blends, from lightly jasmine-scented teas to fresh and fruity blends you’ll love to sip iced – we even have a green tea-based chai. Explore our huge selection of pure green teas, traditional teas with a twist and exciting new green tea blends to find the one you like the best.

Find the green tea that’s right for you

TRADITIONAL

Organic Japanese Sencha

Sencha is Japan’s most popular drink for a reason – it’s refreshing, revitalizing, buttery and utterly delicious. This one is hand-picked and pairs amazingly with salmon.

Organic Gyokuro Yamashiro

Gyokuro is a premium green tea and the highest grade of tea produced in Japan. The leaves are shaded for the last few weeks before plucking, so it’s dark, extra-energizing and extremely rare outside of Japan.

Organic Silk Dragon Jasmine

What happens when spring-plucked green tea leaves are sealed in a room with night-blooming jasmine flowers? Pure magic.

Genmaicha

This traditional Japanese green tea contains roasted grains of brown rice for a toasty, sweet flavour all on its own. Watch out… it’s addictive.

FRUITY

Green Passionfruit

With green tea, pineapple, currants and passion fruit, this tangy fruity green tea is sure to be all the rage. Try it over ice or infused into your next martini.

Organic Goji Green

Why do we love goji berries so much? Because they’re the tastiest superfood around. Mix them with invigorating green tea, raspberries and orange and you have an irresistible refresher.

SPICY

Organic Kashmiri Chai

Inspired by the spiced teas of India’s Kashmir region, this light and delicate organic chai blends green tea with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and marigold flowers. For an authentic touch, try brewing it with sugar and ground pistachios.

Organic North African Mint

In Morocco, green tea with mint is a drink of hospitality, usually enjoyed after a meal. Ours is spiced with digestion-friendly ingredients like cardamom, ginger, licorice, fennel and pepper.

SWEET

Jasmine Crème Brulée

Rich and creamy with a delicate hint of jasmine, this decadent green tea blend tastes just like a crème brulée… right down to the crunchy sugar topping.

Organic Sweet Almond Green

With its nutty kiss of almond and its pretty marigold and cornflower petals, this sweet and subtle organic green tea is a tasty treat you can feel good about drinking.

How to make green tea perfectly

A lot of people think they’re not fans of green tea – usually it’s because they find it too astringent. But by adjusting two little steeping parameters – water temperature and steeping time – even the staunchest green tea dismissers can fall passionately in love with this terrific tea type.

The secret? Green tea leaves are sensitive. Put them in overly hot water, and the leaves will burn. This releases an excess of tannins, which is what causes that bitter taste. Steep green tea too long, and the same thing will happen. So what can you do to prevent your green tea from turning bitter?

Play it cool

The first secret to brewing the best green tea is to use the right water temperature. Depending on the tea, this means water between 75ºC (170ºF) and 85ºC (185ºF). If you don’t have a thermometer handy, simply boil your water then let it sit for 5-8 minutes. This should be enough time for the water to cool down to the right temp. Alternatively, if you’re boiling water in a pot, a good visual cue is when the water starts to form small bubbles.

How long to steep green tea

For green tea steeping time, “short and sweet” are the magic words. Try steeping between 1-3 minutes, and you’ll immediately notice a difference in taste. Your tea will be light yet flavourful, with subtle notes shining through in the cup. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll learn to love green tea about as quickly as it takes to steep it.

Shop all green teas here.


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