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green tea types and their benefits

Image of green tea leaves

I am a big fan of green tea as I have spent many years living in Japan consuming different green tea types. In the early 2000's, I had a very different career from the tea business I have now. I was involved in grass-roots internationalisation projects in Saga Prefecture, Japan.

Saga is one of Japan's smallest and least-known prefectures yet, it has a wonderful agricultural industry - which includes some of the best green tea I have ever tried. This tea is grown in Ureshino, Saga. But I digress...

Green tea is made from the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant - the same plant used for black tea. In its green state, it is commonly referred to as sencha. Traditional green tea types include Chinese green tea and Japanese green tea however, green tea is also grown and consumed in other countries such as Australia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Bangladesh.

Green tea has been consumed for thousands of years and is a popular beverage in many parts of the world. It has been found to offer several health benefits due to its high content of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. 

DIFFERENCES IN chinese and japanese green tea TYPES

Did you know that there are distinct differences between Chinese and Japanese green tea? Both countries have a long history of cultivating and consuming green tea, but their production methods, tastes, and appearances can vary significantly.

One of the main differences between Chinese and Japanese green tea is the way they are processed.

Chinese green teas are most commonly pan-fried or heat-treated, which gives them a stronger, more vegetal and nutty flavour. Japanese green teas, on the other hand, are commonly grown in partial shade and steamed which gives them a sweeter and more subtle flavour. 

Japanese SenchaJapanese Sencha
China SenchaChinese Sencha
Australian SenchaAustralian Sencha

Another difference is the type of leaves used (more specifically, what season they're picked and which leaves do they use). Chinese green teas are often made from larger, lighter leaves, while Japanese green teas are made from smaller, darker leaves. 

When it comes to appearance when brewed, I find that Chinese green teas are usually darker in colour, while Japanese green teas are lighter and more delicate. Additionally, Chinese green teas tend to be more affordable than Japanese green teas, which are often considered a luxury product. This is not true of all Chinese green teas however, as there are some wildly expensive, luxury Chinese green teas which are phenomenal in look, aroma and flavour!

In terms of health benefits, both Chinese and Japanese green teas are rich in antioxidants, which can help to boost the immune system and protect against cancer. They also have similar caffeine content. (Caffeine is determined predominantly by how long you brew the tea and since green tea is brewed only for a short time, the caffeine is lower than in black tea. To read more about caffeine in tea, click here).

Tea fields slim image for breaking text

Japanese green tea types

Product: HojichaJapanese Hojicha

Sencha is picked at the beginning to middle of the harvesting season and is considered to be the highest quality of Japanese green tea. It is shaded during part of the growing season too. The colour is light and vibrant, and the aroma is grassy. 

Bancha is a Japanese green tea that has been picked late in the harvesting season and then processed quickly. It has the same appearance as normal sencha with a slightly stronger flavour. As it is a late harvest it is considered a lower quality of sencha (and is slightly cheaper) yet it retains all the health benefits of regular sencha.

Hojicha is a Japanese bancha that has been picked during the late season flush and then pan-roasted to give a nutty and sweet aroma and flavour. It is becoming very popular in Japan as a powder to be used in Hojicha Latte these days although I have been unable to get any into Australia, yet!

Matcha is a premium early flush Japanese sencha that has been dried and ground into a fine powder to be consumed in small amounts in a much thicker matcha tea brew, or added to matcha latte or in cooking.

Genmaicha is a Japanese sencha that is mixed together with roasted rice puffs. This has a really wonderful flavour which is less about the tea and more about the puffed rice. Genmaicha pours beautifully over the top of an Ochazuke rice meal (which is a simple, yet delicious, Japanese meal unto itself).

chinese green tea types

Product: China JasmineChina Jasmine Green Tea

Silver Needles is a the most expensive Chinese tea. It's actually called a "white tea" as the leaves used are the first, most tender buds of tea that emerge from the plant. When it is brewed, the infusion is very, very pale. We do not regularly carry this tea in stock, but it is available by special order.

Temple of Heaven Gunpowder tea is a Chinese sencha where each leaf has been hand-rolled into a small ball resembling a grain of gunpowder. It is one of the most popular teas in China and has a strong, grassy infusion. It is sometimes referred to as being "smoky" however, it is not actually a smoked tea. The smokiness is due to the fact that the tea is well-preseved when rolled into such small balls, that the flavour intensity is much higher than regular green tea. This strength is often interpreted as smokiness.

Oolong / Wu-long tea is neither green tea, nor black tea but in terms of preparation it is treated most similarly to a green tea. Most commonly grown in the Fujian region of China, Oolong is a sencha that has been partially, but not fully, fermented. It is then loosely rolled into balls and when brewed, the balls unfurl into the beautiful, original large tea leaves that they once were. The flavour is often stronger than a green tea. However, there are delicate varieties such as Tieguanyin - the Iron Goddess of Mercy (on special order), and Wu-Long Fujian A. We also carry China Oolong and a silky-smooth Taiwan Milky Oolong as well.

Chinese Jasmine Tea and Downy Pearl Buddha's Tears are both beautiful Chinese sencha that have different processing. Jasmine tea has been infused with Jasmine flowers to give a gorgeous flavour and aroma - perfect to accompany your asian meals. The Downy Pearl Buddha's Tears are infused with jasmine then rolled into balls about 1cm in diameter. You only need 4 balls to make a cup and both Jasmine Tea and Buddha's Tears can be re-brewed multiple times.

Dragonwell Lung Ching is a pan-fried, delicate Chinese green tea. Lung Ching is a light and elegant green tea specialty from the South Yunnan Province of China, containing lots of light leaf buds. The tea leaves are gently heated in pans during the processing in order to suppress the fermentation process. A truly delicious, light and satisfying green tea. For those who do not like green tea – this one will likely change your mind!

Benefits of green tea

Sencha in a cup

Some of the benefits of green tea include:

  1. May help with weight loss: Green tea has been found to help with weight loss by increasing metabolism and fat burning.

  2. May lower the risk of cancer: The antioxidants in green tea have been found to help protect against cancer by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

  3. May improve brain function: Green tea contains caffeine and L-Theanine, which have been found to improve brain function and reduce anxiety.

  4. May lower the risk of heart disease: The antioxidants in green tea have been found to help protect against heart disease by reducing inflammation and improving the function of blood vessels.

  5. May help lower blood sugar levels: Green tea has been found to help lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  6. May improve dental health: The catechins in green tea have been found to help reduce the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath and improve dental health.

Overall, green tea is a healthy beverage that is reputed to offer several health benefits.

However, it's important to keep in mind that these benefits are often seen with regular and moderate consumption, and excessive consumption may actually have negative effects.

Chinese teacup with teapot


Any sencha green tea can also have delicious natural flavours added to it in the form of herbs, spices, peels and seeds.

At Love Loose Leaf Tea we have many sencha green tea types from Chinese, Japanese and Australian sencha, to a wide variety of flavoured green teas which are delicious both hot or iced. Some delicious examples include: Australian Summer, Japanese Lime, Pink Guava and Lychee Magic!

Just remember that, green tea does not need to be brewed for as long, nor as hot as black tea or else it will become bitter.

So, I hope you can find a green tea to experiment with and enjoy! Next time I am in Japan, I'll be looking at more tea to expand our range with! In the meantime, click here to visit the shop and peruse our green tea range...

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