What are the Different Types of Green Tea?
Though there are many different flavors of green tea, there is actually only one true type. That is because all tea, whether it is black, white, oolong or green, comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The difference between these types depends on the preparation of the tea leaves and the fermentation, or oxidation, process. Green tea is not fermented, and is also referred to as unoxidized — it is dried out and steamed. It can also be roasted, fried, powdered, and mixed with fruit or rice.
Though black tea is the most common type of tea prepared in many areas of the world, green tea actually has more health benefits. Because it is not fermented, the helpful chemicals and nutrients remain in the tea and are passed on when a person drinks a cup. This tea contains many antioxidants, including the powerful chemical EGCG. It has also been shown to aid in the prevention of heart disease and to lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels while raising the "good" HDL cholesterol levels. Some people also use this tea to aid in weight loss, improve the appearance of the skin, and to help quit smoking.
This type of tea has a distinctive flavor that is lighter than black tea, but can be somewhat bitter or grassy. There are so many different types of green tea, however, that even if a person doesn't like one flavor, he or she will probably be able to find another one that is more appealing. Milk and sugar are not usually added to these teas, but some people like to add them initially as they get used to the flavor, then slowly cut them out later to get the full health benefits. Some teas are also mixed with fruit flavors, such as blueberry or raspberry, to make them more enjoyable.
There are other popular types of green teas exported from Japan, Korea, and China, among other places. Japanese teas are quite common, and some of the more popular ones are hojicha, genmaicha and matcha teas. Dragon Well is the most popular Chinese green tea, but gunpowder tea is more commonly found in supermarkets.
Green tea can be found in pre-made teabags in stores, but for the best flavor, most experts recommend using loose leaf tea for brewing. Loose leaf teas are available in most grocery stores, but some more uncommon types might be easier to find online. When brewing this type of tea, the water should not be boiling, and the leaves should be allowed to brew for about three to five minutes. This will allow the tea leaves to steep properly without cooking them.
@jmc88-- Hey, thanks for your question! I guess I should have clarified it more in my post.
The original Earl Grey tea is black tea that has been flavored with Bergamot. Bergamot is a type of orange that grows in the Mediterranean. A long time ago, Sir Earl Grey from Britain discovered that when you put the flowers of the Bergamot orange tree into the tea while it's oxidizing, it takes on the scent and flavor of the flowers.
So Earl Grey flavored green tea is green tea that was made with Bergamot flowers. Isn't that really cool?
@turquoise-- I'm exactly the opposite. I dislike plain green tea. I really like the lemon flavored green tea bags, and also the raspberry. I actually make iced tea with these sometimes, it's really good.
I wonder if the plain green tea you drank in China tastes better. That's like the home of tea, so it must taste better than the green tea we get here right? Do they sell flavored green teas over there?
Do you folks like the flavored green teas that are showing up in all the grocery stores now?
I think it's a good thing for people who don't like the taste of plain green tea. But I personally prefer the original. I spent about four years in China where I thought English to Chinese kids. Green tea is extremely popular in China. Not only as a tea, but as a flavoring for many other products. So I got used to the flavor of plain green tea and I can't drink anything else now.
@anamur - What exactly is Earl Grey tea? I always hear it used. I was under the impression that it was an actual type of tea, but it seems from your post that it's a flavor.
Is Earl Grey some sort of seasoning or something? What does it taste like, and how do you get it? I would really be interested in trying it sometime if I could figure out how to make tea with it. I have always heard good things about the taste.
@alisha - I had a college roommate whose family was originally from China, and he drank all kinds of different teas. His parents sent him some kind of a care package that had like 15 different types of authentic Chinese tea.
He made me a few glasses, and I think it's safe to say that I'll just stick with Lipton. I found that all the teas he had were way too strong even when you barely steeped the bag. That being said, the green tea wasn't horrible. I guess because it has a lighter flavor, I could tolerate it more.
@matthewc23 - I guess it's kind of a knock to "real" green tea, but I really like the green tea that is made by Snapple.
They sell it at all the gas stations where I live. I would assume you could find it at the store somewhere. It doesn't have the same grassy taste like brewing your own tea, but it's not as strong as regular tea. I also really like it because it is cheap. I think you can get a 16 ounce can for less than a dollar.
It's probably not as healthy as making your own tea, but the label says it still has real green tea in it, so it's fine with me.
@LoriCharlie - I'm with you. I just can't drink green tea, so I have been stuck with regular black tea. It is still better for you than drinking other things like pop and coffee. I just need a little caffeine boost partway through my day.
I am glad to read some of the other green tea flavor suggestions here. Maybe I'll have to look around for some of them and see if I can find any I like.
@ceilingcat - I think green tea really can help with weight loss. A good friend of mine swears that green tea helped him get in better shape, and I believe him.
According to my friend, green tea helps you lose weight by helping you burn fat easier. So you're not going to lose weight only by drinking green tea, but it can give you a little extra boost if you're already exercising and eating right.
And I think there are actually some green tea pills out there if you don't want to actually drink the tea.
I've heard a lot of green tea weight loss claims recently, and I'm not sure if they're true or not. It seems like it would almost be too good to be true for a tea to help with weight loss. On the other hand, if this is true, I'm going to start drinking green tea all the time!
@KaBoom - I had no idea there were any other kinds of green tea besides the regular kind. I've been trying to learn to like green tea since it's supposed to be so good for you, but I just can't. Maybe I'll try one of those flavored green tea's sometime soon.
In the meantime, I mostly drink black tea. Luckily, black tea does have some health benefits. Maybe not as many benefits as green tea, but black tea does still contain antioxidants.
I think the best green tea is green tea that has another flavor added to it. Plain green tea really does taste quite grassy, so I really don't enjoy drinking it. I usually buy mint green tea or green tea with lemon. There are a ton of other flavors I haven't tried yet though, including raspberry green tea, which is next on my list!
My librarian who was of Chinese origin drank green tea all day. She would carry a glass of warm water with loose green tea leaves and would refill it as she drank. I'm not able to drink so much, but I try to have one or two glasses a day. I feel more hydrated when I have green tea and I also don't feel the stimulant effects that come with coffee, sodas and black tea. I also think that green tea boosts my metabolism.
My favorite green tea is Earl Grey flavored green tea. I love this kind especially because I used to drink Earl Grey black tea before. I tried drinking regular green tea many times but just couldn't get used to the grassy flavor even though I wanted to switch over to green tea for the health benefits. You cannot imagine how happy I was when I found flavored green teas. It doesn't taste like green tea at all.
Green tea is a healthy part of our diets, and has been proven by time in the East. We are benefiting from various ancient medicines and dietary supplements today that were not available in the West until recently. As the world is bridged, nutrients and antioxidants from things such as green tea and other teas will continue to aid people in achieving longer, happier, and healthier lives.
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