Complete Guide to Green Tea

Welcome to Nelson's Tea, your go-to loose leaf tea shop. We invite you to explore the vibrant world of loose leaf green tea with our Complete Guide to Green Tea. This guide is your ticket to an in-depth exploration of loose leaf green tea’s history, flavors, and many health benefits.

Why loose leaf for premium teas, though? Unlike teabags containing fragmented tea leaves, loose green tea features whole or slightly broken leaves. You'll taste a more robust flavor and get more essential oils, making your green tea rich, full-bodied, and bursting with goodness.

From ancient origins to modern-day practices, we’ll leave no leaf unturned in examining this tradition. Green tea's global popularity is attributed to its refreshing taste and myriad health benefits. But with a plethora of options available, selecting the perfect green tea can be daunting.

So, grab your favorite mug, and let’s navigate the world of green tea together. Whether you're a seasoned tea enthusiast or you normally drink loose leaf white tea and just want more information on green tea, we invite you to learn more about the endless possibilities of green tea.

What is Green Tea?

Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea lovers worldwide praise the teas’ refreshing taste and many health benefits. Unlike loose leaf black tea, green tea is minimally processed. This method helps to preserve the natural compounds and delicate flavor profile. After processing, the leaves are withered and then heated to halt oxidation.

This ancient elixir has been enjoyed for centuries. Many cultures enjoy a steaming cup, believing it holds significant cultural and ceremonial importance. Green tea is enjoyed worldwide for its subtle yet complex flavor. From grassy and vegetal to nutty and floral, the flavor you get will depend on many factors.

Like loose leaf oolong tea, green tea is plentiful in antioxidants, which are linked to many health benefits. They combat oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and support health and well-being. Additionally, loose leaf green tea contains a small amount of caffeine and L-theanine. These compounds work together to boost gentle energy while promoting relaxation and focus.

Whether enjoyed hot or cold, green tea offers a refreshing and invigorating taste. Still, this is only one of the reasons it's such a popular choice around the world. The world of green tea is as diverse and enticing as the flavors it offers. But how was it first discovered?

The History of Green Tea

The story of green tea is wrapped in legend and ancient tales, with its roots stretching back thousands of years. Archaeological findings have found evidence of tea's cultivation and enjoyment in China over 6,000 years ago.

While the exact details of green tea's evolution are unknown, they’re believed to have arisen from various experiments in tea processing methods. Popularity soared during the 18th century when it transitioned from a luxury indulgence to a cherished drink enjoyed around the globe.

With a rich and fascinating past, green tea has become one of the most beloved and commonly savored beverages worldwide. It's so loved that thousands of different types of green tea are now available.

Types of Green Tea

Green tea's journey is a tale of cultivation, innovation, and cultural exchange. Early tea artisans started experimenting with various methods of drying and roasting the leaves. Doing so led to the development of different regional styles and flavors.

Today, green tea is produced and enjoyed worldwide. Each region contributes its own distinct varieties and flavor profiles. The spectrum of green tea types offers an array of tastes and experiences awaiting discovery, from traditional favorites to lesser-known treasures.

We'll uncover the unique characteristics of green tea from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and the United States. Prepare yourself to uncover the wonderful world of green tea types, where a delightful journey of taste awaits!

Traditional Chinese Green Teas

Chinese green teas have thousands of varieties due to the different cultural traditions, regional climates, and unique processing methods. Cherished for their exceptional flavors and aromas, the top five renowned varieties are:

  • Longjing (Dragon Well): Known for its flat, spear-shaped leaves and a sweet, chestnut-like flavor, it’s one of China's most celebrated green teas.
  • Gunpowder: Characterized by its tightly rolled leaves resembling pellets, it brews into a bold, full-bodied infusion with a smoky aroma.
  • Jasmine: Featuring delicate leaves scented with jasmine flowers, resulting in a fragrant brew with a subtle sweet taste.
  • Star Anise: A spice derived from the fruit of an Asian shrub, known for its distinctive star-shaped seed pods and a potent aromatic compound called anethole, which imparts the spice with its characteristic anise-like flavor.
  • Chun Mei Green Tea: A classic Chinese green tea with a distinctive appearance and flavor profile. It is characterized by its twisted, wiry leaves that produce a light, floral brew with a slightly smoky undertone.

These teas represent some of the most popular and widely loved varieties. China boasts an extensive and diverse tea culture, with countless other teas waiting to be discovered. So, while these teas may be the top picks for many, the world of Chinese green tea is vast and inviting.

Traditional Japanese Green Teas

As we explore Japanese green tea, know that we're only scratching the surface of Japan's rich tea culture. Each sip offers a glimpse into a tapestry of flavors and traditions. The five most common types of Japanese green teas are:

  • Sencha: Japan’s most popular green tea, featuring a refreshing, grassy flavor and vibrant green color.
  • Matcha: A finely ground green tea powder prized for its intense umami flavor and creamy texture.
  • Gyokuro: Known as the "jade dew," it boasts a sweet, umami-rich taste and vibrant green color.
  • Genmaicha: A blend of roasted brown rice and green tea, Genmaicha is a nutty yet toasty flavor with a hint of sweetness.
  • Hojicha: A roasted green tea with a reddish-brown color and a smooth, mellow taste reminiscent of caramel and nuts.

As we explore the various Japanese green teas, it becomes evident that these are only a glimpse into the rich and intricate tea culture. Each variety highlighted is a gateway to a world of diverse flavors and cherished traditions.

Other Traditional Green Teas

Tea extends far beyond the borders of China and Japan. Other regions offer unique flavors and cultural significance as well. We've uncovered a rich tapestry of flavors waiting to be savored and enjoyed.


While Korea may not be as renowned for green tea production as its neighbors, it has a rich tradition of tea cultivation dating back centuries. Green tea is cultivated with meticulous care in regions like Boseong and Jeju Island.

  • Sejak: A savory and slightly sweet green tea known for its delicate leaves harvested early in the growing season.
  • Jungjak: A medium-grade green tea with a fuller flavor and aroma, harvested after Sejak but before the main harvest.
  • Daejak: A robust and earthy green tea harvested later in the season, with larger leaves and a stronger flavor profile.

These are just a few of the varieties that thrive in these regions. The outcome? Distinctive varieties are celebrated for their delicious flavors and rich cultural heritage.


Vietnam may not be the first country to come to mind when thinking of green tea, but its culture is thriving and deeply rooted in tradition. In Vietnam, the misty mountains of Sapa and the lush fields of Moc Chau give rise to an interesting range of green teas.

  • Vietnamese Green Tea (Trà xanh): A classic green tea with a mild and slightly sweet taste, often enjoyed throughout the day.
  • Lotus Tea (Trà sen): Green tea leaves are infused with the fragrance of lotus flowers, resulting in a fragrant and floral brew.
  • Jasmine Tea (Trà nhài): Green tea leaves are scented with jasmine blossoms, creating a delicate and aromatic infusion cherished for its soothing qualities.

Clearly, Vietnam presents delicious green teas; each celebrated for its unique flavors and delightful aromas.

United States

In the United States, green tea production is not as extensive as in countries like Japan or China. However, there are some regions where green tea is cultivated and produced, primarily in states like Hawaii and Oregon. Here are a few examples of green teas produced in the US:

  • Hawaiian Green Tea: Grown in the Hawaiian Islands’ fertile soil and temperate climate, it has the essence of its tropical surroundings. With a delicate yet robust flavor profile, this tea boasts hints of floral notes intertwined with subtle grassy undertones.
  • Oregon Green Tea: Grown in Oregon’s verdant valleys and temperate climate, this tea has a delicate yet invigorating flavor profile. It captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest’s pristine landscapes with notes of fresh grass and hints of floral sweetness.
  • Washington Green Tea: Cultivated in the temperate climate of Washington State, this tea produces a delicate and smooth infusion with subtle grassy notes and a hint of sweetness. It’s characterized by vibrant green color and refreshing taste.

These American-grown green teas may not have specific names or varieties like those from Japan or China. Still, they contribute to the burgeoning interest in locally sourced and domestically produced teas.

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Like most loose leaf rooibos teas, green tea has long been celebrated for its health benefits, supported by both scientific research and centuries of use. Adding green tea into your daily routine can offer a range of advantages for your well-being.

Supports Heart Health

Regular consumption of loose leaf green tea has been associated with improved cardiovascular health. The antioxidants help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and improve blood vessel function, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Speeds Up Weight Loss

The catechins in green tea have been found to boost metabolism and increase fat burning. This benefit aids in weight management and fat loss when included with a balanced diet and exercise.

Improve Brain Function

Green tea contains L-theanine and caffeine, which have been shown to have positive effects on brain function. These compounds can enhance cognitive function, elevate mood, and promote alertness and concentration.

May Prevent Cancer

Some research suggests that green tea may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. The polyphenols in green tea have been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. However, ongoing studies are needed to fully understand the potential cancer-fighting benefits.

May Regulate Blood Sugar

Green tea may help improve insulin sensitivity while regulating blood sugar levels. That’s a promising benefit for people with diabetes or even those at risk of developing it.

As mentioned above, drinking green tea can provide many health benefits. Included with a balanced diet and exercise, you'll see many good things happening in your body. If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications, consult with your healthcare professional for personalized advice.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

How Do You Brew Green Tea?

Brewing green tea is a simple yet delicate process. Start by heating water to around 175°F (80°C) to avoid bitterness. Place loose leaf tea in a cup or teapot, using about one teaspoon of tea per 8 ounces of water.

Pour the hot water over the tea leaves and let steep for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the desired strength. Avoid over-steeping to prevent a bitter taste. Once steeped, remove the tea leaves, and enjoy your freshly brewed green tea. Experiment with steeping times and temperatures to find your perfect balance of flavor and strength.

Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?

Yes, unlike loose leaf herbal teas, green tea does contain caffeine, although it is generally less than black tea or coffee. The exact amount can vary depending on the type of tea, brewing time, and water temperature. On average, an 8 oz cup of green tea contains about 20-30 mg of caffeine.

While green tea provides a mild energy boost from caffeine, it also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation. It counteracts the jittery effects of caffeine, resulting in a more balanced and focused state of alertness.


We hope your journey through the world of green tea has been both enlightening and enriching. Whether you're savoring a cup of Longjing or indulging in the creamy richness of Matcha, each sip of these classic teas is a journey of taste and discovery.

Let's raise our teacups to this delicious beverage’s timeless tradition and enduring legacy. Cheers to the many joys and wonders of green tea! And for those eager to explore further, why not check out Nelson's Tea for an exquisite selection of premium green teas?

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