A quick guide to buying green teas

Anyone who has ever gone about searching for green teas has invariably looked up the top green tea brands and the best green tea retailers around them. A quick google search about it throws at you a laundry list of names and suggestions with, unfortunately, no real information around the quality of these teas, their origins, or whatever it is that warrants them a top spot in the said list.

Green tea estates

Then there are also the more specific queries, such as green teas for weight loss or the healthiest green tea brand there is. And lest you are hoping for this tea to work on your body fat like kryptonite, there is no reliable answer to these queries as well. Only ideas and vague assumptions of benefits. Know your options

Green tea by region

A better thing to look up than top green tea brands is top green tea producing regions of the world. Choosing green teas on the basis of their origins is, among others, a good way to familiarize yourself with the many varieties that are produced in the world.

From the Far East, to the green teas from Assam and Darjeeling in India, all the way to Kenya and Argentina, for the reasons of terroir, teas from each region are unique and noticeably different from one another in appearance and taste.

Green Tea. Halmari estates

In fact, each region typically produces green teas using native tea plants or locally developed cultivars, using techniques that are often particular to the tea growing region. For instance, Assam-grown Halmari green teas are produced from a native cultivar of Camellia Sinensis, tend to have a yellowish-appearance and are rolled into tight curls, unlike a Darjeeling green tea which is produced from china-hybrid bushes and looks chunkier.

And so, if there is one thing that’s undisputed is that the knowledge of origins introduces you to green tea varieties in ways better than no other search query could.

Green tea by make

One more way to learn about the many green tea varieties is to seek out a tea’s processing technique and flavour profile. Green teas, as a result of their unique processing technique, tend to have a vegetal taste, similar to cooked greens, grass, and herbs. However, depending on how the tea leaves have been ‘fixed’ or treated by heat during the course of their production, you can better determine the intensity as well as the nature of the vegetal taste.

Typically, in the course of making a green tea, fresh leaves are ‘fixed’ by either pan-firing/roasting a batch or steaming it. Occasionally, both fixing techniques are applied to the leaf. When the leaves are pan-fired, the resultant green tea tends to have charred, smoky taste, similar to that of roasted greens.

These kinds of teas have a strong and overwhelming intensity and complement rich meals well. When steamed, the resultant green tea tends to have a smooth and broth-like taste, similar to blanched greens. These green teas are lighter in taste, easier on the palate, and can be enjoyed on their own.

Choosing the best green tea

Now that you know the varieties that are available to you, indulge in some exploration. Look up all top green tea brands and compare the varieties that are up for sale. Pay attention to details around their origin, make and flavour profile, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying for. Most top tea retailers offer elaborate information around their teas and it’s good to seek it out.

Pro tip: Most high-quality, orthodox style, leaf green teas have a superior taste than mass produced-mass bagged green teas from the super markets. These can even be steeped a couple of times. If you prefer a good value buy, choose from a loose batch. Halmari Tea from Assam makes some of the best tasting green tea available.

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