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A Guide to Different Types of Green Tea

Green tea is a beverage made from the leaves of the tea-tree plant, Camellia sinensis. The plants are cultivated mainly in Japan and China. The flavor of tea can vary depending on the climate, the peculiarities of the terrain, and the weather.

All kinds of tea are made from the same leaves. The difference begins during the preparation. In the case of green tea, the leaves are quickly preserved right after harvesting. Black tea leaves are left to interact with air — to oxidize.

5-Minute Crafts selected 11 popular types of green tea which can help you get acquainted with the world of this drink.

1. Sencha

This is one of the most popular types of green tea. It is made of the youngest leaves. The processing methods include brief steaming and rolling.

  • Taste description: balanced between sweetness and astringency. Sencha has a more strong flavor than other green tea types due to rolling. It helps to boost the intensity of all the juices in the leaves.
  • Growing conditions: grown in direct sunlight.
  • Brewing temperature: 70°C (158°F).

2. Tencha

This type of tea is used to produce Matcha tea but its leaves can also be brewed.

  • Taste description: deep and mellow taste due to the level of minerals.
  • Growing conditions: tea bushes are covered from sunlight by a cloth or a reed screen. After harvesting, leaves are steamed, and the stems and leaf veins are removed. The leaves are not rolled, so they can release a high concentration of vitamins and minerals.
  • Brewing temperature: 60°C (120°F).

3. Matcha

Matcha is made from Tencha leaves. The one who drinks it consumes the leaves without any residue. It is used for tea ceremonies and is also a popular drink and an ingredient in a variety of dishes and desserts.

  • Taste description: many-sided and rich, has an umami flavor.
  • Processing: Tencha leaves are ground into a powder.
  • Brewing temperature: 80°C (176°F).

4. Hojicha

Hojicha is prepared by roasting different types of tea, including Sencha. Processing gives it a distinctive roasted aroma.

  • Taste description: delicious roasted notes with the addition of caramel.
  • History: Hojicha is said to be an invention of merchants, who wanted to give a second life to old tea leaves. Their experiments resulted in a new type of tea roasted over charcoal.
  • Brewing temperature: 95°C (203°F).

5. Gyokuro

Gyokuro is a premium quality green tea. This type of tea is also called Jade Dew. Unlike other green teas, it needs a significantly lower brewing temperature.

  • Taste description: creamy body with vivid vegetal notes and a hint of seaweed-like taste.
  • Growing conditions: the bushes of this tea are shadowed for 3 weeks before harvesting.
  • Brewing temperature: 50°C (140°F).

6. Genmaicha

The name of this type of tea is translated as “brown rice tea.” Genmaicha is made up of a mixture of Sencha or other types of green tea with soaked, streamed, roasted, and popped grains of brown rice. The amount of leaves decreases due to the brown rice, and the amount of caffeine is also lower, so this product can be enjoyed by kids and elderly people.

  • Taste description: mild flavor is created by the combination of fresh tea notes with roasted rice hints.
  • History: Genmaicha is believed to be invented by the monks who mixed tea with the leftovers of roasted rice.
  • Brewing temperature: 85°C (185°F).

7. Biluochun (Green Snail Spring)

This type of tea is named for its shape: the leaves are rolled into snail-like spirals. It has a long history and is known as the traditional type of tea.

  • Taste description: fresh and mild.
  • Processing: Biluochun doesn’t undergo the fermentation process. Its processing consists of 3 stages: fixation at a high temperature to make the leaves softer and to release natural aromas, rolling to create a specific shape, and drying by frying.
  • Brewing temperature: 80°C (176°F).

8. Longjing (Dragon Well Tea)

Longjing is the most popular Chinese green tea. This tea has many varieties and is divided into 6 grades of quality.

  • Taste description: mild with a tender and sweet flavor, and a hint of chestnut.
  • The processing of Dragon Well Tea leaves has very strict requirements. Special frying pans and 10 different techniques of leaf processing are used.
  • Brewing temperature: 75-80°C (167-176°F).

9. Zhu Cha (Gunpowder Tea)

Each leaf of Zhu Cha is tightly rolled into a small ball. Processed leaves resemble pieces of gunpowder, which is how this type of tea got its English name. Rolling protects the leave’s integrity and helps to save the flavor for a long time.

  • Taste description: rich flavor with a hint of smoke, sometimes with oaky notes.
  • Various flavors: one can try Gunpowder tea with different tastes. Popular flavors: mint, cherry, coconut, among others.
  • Brewing temperature: 70-80°C (158-176°F).

10. Chun Mee

This type of tea is popular and it has several grades of quality. The leaves have a shape that resembles small eyebrows: “Chun Mee” is translated in English as “precious eyebrows.”

  • Taste description: bold with a slight astringency, sometimes has toasty or smoky hints. The plum-like aftertaste is its’ main distinctive feature.
  • Processing: the leaves are steamed and dried. Then they are rolled and bent.
  • Brewing temperature: 79°C (175°F).

11. Huangshan Maofeng

The name of this type of tea is translated into English as “yellow mountain fur peak”: small hairs cover the leaves are processed into a mountain peak-like shape.

  • Taste description: sweet, with hints of spring flowers and chestnuts. Has a refreshing effect.
  • Harvesting features: for Huangshan Maofeng only new tea buds and one neighboring leaf are picked.
  • Brewing temperature: 75-80°C (167-176°F).

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