With more than 5,000 years of history, tea is among the most common drinks across many cultures.
If there’s one thing the majority knows about them, it is that the West is known for its black tea varieties, while the East boasts several types of green teas.
Both are from the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis. However, black teas are fermented as opposed to the unfermented leaves used in making green teas.
HOW MANY TYPES OF GREEN TEA ARE THERE?
Believed to help fight many illnesses, green teas are becoming more and more popular throughout the world.
But how many varieties are there, really?
China, where most green teas come from, lists over 300 green tea varieties.
These differ in their flavor profiles, shapes, and color range (from light to dark green). You may also classify them based on their overall quality.
Green teas, regardless of type, are best prepared and drank when they are still fresh.
WHICH TYPE OF GREEN TEA IS BEST?
Each of us has our personal preferences regarding the strength, flavor, and color of our green teas.
Moreover, we also have different reasons for choosing to drink tea instead of other brews, like coffee or hot cocoa.
As such, it would be hard to distinguish just one type of green tea and call it the best.
If you ask us, though, we like matcha the most.
Stronger than other green teas, it has a caffeine content that’s measured between 40 and 60 milligrams.
Since it’s ground into a fine powder, you also consume the entirety of the leaves, which guarantees you get all their health benefits.
It also means you can easily use it for a lot of applications besides drinking, such as for baking.
10 DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEA
While we may not be able to talk about all green tea types, we chose the top 10 among its many varieties to give you more options during tea time.
Also called ichibancha, shincha or “new tea” comes from the first batch of harvest for the season.
It has the distinct scent of new tea leaves, making it a refreshing and invigorating drink.
Prepared correctly, shincha has a sweet and full bodied taste because of its higher theanine level.
It is also known for its low caffeine and catechin content, which is why it doesn’t have bitterness or astringency at all.
The most popular green tea from Japan, sencha is a proud product of the Shizuoka region.
Many describe its flavor as grassy, vegetal, or even seaweed-like.
Like most other Japanese green teas, the leaves are first steamed and then rolled to create tea leaves.
To prepare sencha, use mildly hot water with temperatures between 160 and 170 Fahrenheit and infuse for around 30 seconds.
Otherwise, you will get a bitter, harsh, and sometimes even astringent flavor.
Bancha is a type of Japanese green tea coming from the same bushes that produce sencha.
It’s a lower-grade, more affordable variety plucked right after the sencha season.
Compared to sencha, it has a bolder, more earthy taste that makes it the perfect ending for meals.
The term fukamushi roughly translates to “steamed for a long time.”
To make fukamushicha, the green tea leaves are steamed for a much longer time than when preparing sencha.
This process results in powdery tea with a darker green color and a stronger taste.
Even though it doesn’t dissolve in water like matcha, almost all of fukamushicha’s active components are absorbed by the body.
Gyokuro tea is famous for its almost nori seaweed-like aroma. This type of green tea has a unique method of harvesting, too.
About three weeks prior, the tea plants are covered using a screen or cloth to limit sun exposure.
Because of this, the amino acids in the form of theanine won’t be able to produce catechins, resulting in a richer and less astringent flavor.
Kabusecha, like the gyokuro, is also covered before harvesting, though this is done only a week prior to picking.
The results are a full bodied flavor, darker green color, and an even lower astringency.
Literally, tencha means “grind tea.” While you can brew them in their whole-leaf form, these tea leaves are really intended for making matcha.
Like the gyokuro and kabusecha, tencha tea bushes are covered weeks before harvesting. The leaves are then steamed and dried but not rolled.
If you stoneground tencha right before shipping, you get matcha.
Since it is in powder form, drinking matcha teas means you consume the entire leaf and, with it, all of its health benefits.
As mentioned, many Japanese confections and dishes use this type of tea.
It is also the type of green tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony called sado or chado.
Like matcha, this is also in powder form. The difference is that it is not made from the highest quality green tea leaves.
As a result, funmatsucha has a bitter taste and stronger astringency, much like a concentrated sencha.
However, like matcha and other powdered teas, it degrades quicker than regular leaf versions.
So far, we’ve talked about teas made of tea leaves. This is where kukicha tea is different.
Instead of green tea leaves, it is made of stems and twigs.
The resulting tea has a slight sweetness and mild nuttiness, low caffeine content, and a unique aroma that is unlike other Japanese green teas.
Preparing kukicha is very easy.
The taste is not affected by the water’s temperature, so it’s perfect for those who don’t like measuring water temp and infusion time.
From the small tea leaves, tea buds, and dust left behind from processing sencha and gyokuro comes konacha.
While it translates to “powdered tea,” it’s made of larger pieces than matcha.
Naturally, it’s cheaper than the other two. But even so, the taste is strong and flavorful.
WHICH TYPE OF GREEN TEA IS BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
If losing weight is your goal, opt for matcha.
By consuming the entire leaves (in powder form), you also get the highest concentration of EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate.
This compound is believed to have a huge impact on overall health, but it’s particularly known for its weight loss benefits.
It also helps fight inflammation and prevent brain and heart diseases.
Drinking green tea every day brings forth a long list of health benefits.
From speeding up your metabolism and boosting the body’s fat-burning capabilities, green tea will work well with most diets.
What’s more, it is among the best sources of antioxidants, which means it protects the cells from free radicals.