All tea comes from the camelia sinesis plant, but it’s how it’s handled after picking that decides whether you’ll be drinking black, white or green tea. Unlike black tea (the tea we traditionally drink with milk), green tea has had less processing: it’s not been allowed to oxidise in the same way and so maintains its greener colour and a lighter, grassier taste. There are also preparation differences, too- in China, the tea is pan-fired, whereas in Japan the leaves are steamed. This delicate preparation allows the tea to maintain its subtle flavour.
The great thing about green tea is that it has a spectrum of flavours. If you’re traditionally more of a fan of a full-bodied Assam, then Pinhead Gunpowder might be your perfect match. A Darjeeling drinker? Then you should definitely try the more delicate Longjing Dragonwell tea. If flavour’s your thing, you might like the popcorn nuttiness of a Gen Mai Cha, or the spring-like sweetness of Japanese Cherry.
A main criticism of green tea seems to be that the tea itself is bitter; this is usually due to the tea being brewed incorrectly. It is less robust than black tea and it requires slightly more delicacy in the preparation (although we promise it’s not a massive fuss!) To really get the best out of your green tea, the water must not be boiling. The easiest way to do this is to boil the kettle and let it cool for around three to four minutes before using- about 85 degrees is a good temperature.
The next key factor is how long you brew your tea. Too little time and you’re drinking fancy water. Too long and your cup of tea has just become the bitterest brew ever. Depending on the variety of tea (check the brewing instructions on the label), you’ll usually be looking at about two- to three-minutes. Add a little honey or sugar to taste if that’s your thing, don’t put milk in… et voila! You have a perfect cup of gorgeous green tea!