Want to know more about green tea? Discover more about the origins, benefits and types of green tea as well as how to make the perfect cup of green tea. Next, check out our guide to the best matcha.

What are the origins of green tea?

The origins of drinking green tea can be traced back to 2nd century China, when it was boiled, compressed and baked into a cake. It was only in the 14th century that the production of loose-leaf green teas increased in popularity. It was green tea in this form, as we know it today, that reached our shores 200 years later.

What are the benefits of green tea?

The craze for green tea has taken the UK by storm – high in antioxidants and a natural source of minerals such as manganese and potassium, it’s the brew of choice in health circles. What’s more, green tea is particularly high in the antioxidant ECGC that is reputed to slow the aging process and even protect against free-radical damage in the body. Generally, it also has lower amounts of caffeine in it than black tea due to being brewed at a cooler water temperature.

The health-conscious might also enjoy white tea, believed by many to have even more powerful anti-ageing properties than green tea. Also, oolong and puerh tea have been linked to weight loss, and fruity or herbal infusions are caffeine free and boast many benefits. Some are said to aid fighting off colds and flu, and are high in antioxidants (acai) and amino acids (goji).

What types of green tea are there?

There is so much more to green tea than meets the eye. Too often it’s considered a one-trick pony – there are actually hundreds of different types of green tea in China alone and many couldn’t be further from the dust found in low-cost tea bags. The tea’s garden origin, coupled with its production methods, determine the colour, aroma and taste of your end cup. Each tea is defined by the type of bush it is picked from, its geographical heritage and the careful production it undergoes once picked. The most famous Chinese green teas are hand pressed against a hot wok like Dragon Well Green Tea, whilst in Japan the best teas are hand rolled and steamed – Gyokuro or ‘Jade Dew’ green tea is the most highly desired type of this tea.

More like this

How do you brew green tea?

In order to get the most out of your cup, it needs to be brewed correctly. Green tea is delicate. When created it is carefully handled and doesn’t undergo the heavy oxidation that black tea does… the leaves are therefore fragile, so you shouldn't use boiling water to infuse it.

  • Let the kettle cool for a few minutes after boiling, before pouring water on the leaves. This will allow the sweet and creamy flavours of proteins and polyphenols in the leaves to come out, and stop caffeine and tannins, which cause a bitter taste.
  • Don’t over-steep the tea leaves – green tea only needs 2-3 minutes maximum to brew.

Feature kindly supplied by tea expert Bethan Thomas, Whittard.

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post