For the Love of Green Tea
by Liz Duffy, Certified Tea Sommelier
If you’ve ever thought that green tea isn’t for you, think again. Green tea is a sweeping category covering many wonderful tea types and flavours, all of which are healthy choices, high in antioxidants. If you already have a favourite, perhaps it’s time to get adventurous, try something different and find a new green love.
While all tea is made from Camellia sinensis leaves, green tea leaves haven’t been through the same processes that black and oolong leaves have. Leaves for green tea are heated soon after plucking, preventing the leaves from undergoing further oxidation. Heating stops the enzymes from producing chemical reactions, and the leaves retain their green colour and more vegetal notes. Different types of green teas involve, among other things, different processes for withering, heating and drying, along with differences in the terroir. Very much like wines. Here are a few examples.
Gunpowder: This tea, with leaves rolled into tiny pellets and unfurling as they steep, is one of the most popular Chinese teas, native to Zhejiang province. It has a bold, full-bodied flavour with a sweet note of honey, a grassiness and the hint of smokiness.
Longjing (Dragonwell): Longjing is a pan-roasted tea, also grown in the Zhejiang province, that has a flat shape and is renowned for its high quality. Dragonwell is named after a well in Longjing province whose water is said, at times, to resemble the movement of a dragon. It has a mellower taste with fruity notes. It’s a more expensive tea.
Sencha: Accounting for almost 80% of tea consumed in Japan, Sencha is cultivated in direct sunlight unlike some other teas grown in the country. There are various types and qualities, but Sencha has a refreshing taste with vegetal, seaweed, grassy and ocean notes.
Hojicha: Unlike other Japanese tea types that are steamed, Hojicha tea leaves are roasted over charcoal. The process turns the leaves from green to reddish-brown and lowers the level of caffeine. The tea tastes roasted, rather than vegetal, with notes of caramel and nuts.
No matter your choice of green tea, the water temperature should be 70ºC - 80ºC (158ºF - 176ºF). Green teas are more delicate, so you don’t want to boil the water. And steep for anywhere from 1-3 minutes, often 1 minute for the first brewing (particularly for Gunpowder).
Lemon Lily offers more than a dozen different green teas, each organic and natural. Find your new green love!