Chinese Green Teas vs. Japanese Green Teas: What’s the Difference?
Chinese and Japanese green teas are very different. These distinctive characteristics are apparent at the first sip, and they come from where and how the teas are grown, and how they are processed — in China they are wok or pan-fired; in Japan teas are predominately steamed.
There is a rich diversity in green teas. There is one to fit your every mood and palate. All green tea comes from the same camellia sinensis plant, and yet you can enjoy a wide range of different flavors in green teas.
Chinese Green Teas
Green teas from China are typically pan-fired or baked to halt the oxidation process after the leaves are harvested. This gives them a nutty, roasty flavor. Think about Chinese food which is typically pan-fried in woks and cooked in rich oils. Chinese green tea takes on some of these characteristics.
Gunpowder green tea is a classic Chinese green tea. It is prized for its bold flavor and twisted leaf. Mao Feng is one of China’s most famous green teas. It’s made from only the youngest, tiniest buds of the tea plant, and the first couple leaves immediately below the tea buds.
Organic Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Chinese Green Tea
This formidable tea is characterized by its muted green, curled leaves. Its toasty aroma, thick mouthfeel and its powerful green, moderately astringent flavor make this a favorite pure green tea.
Organic Mao Feng Chinese Green Tea
Highly aromatic, with the savory-sweet aroma of a spring meadow, this tea brews into a green-gold liquor. The infusion is savory-sweet and palate-filling. Roasty hints and floral notes give this tea a classic Chinese green tea flavor profile and a refreshing finish.
Japanese Green Teas
Japanese green teas are meticulously grown in rows, machine picked and steamed to halt the oxidation process. The teas grown in Japan have a decidedly grassy, seaweed undertone.
Japanese cuisine is often fresh or steamed, and in turn, most Japanese green teas are steamed rather than pan fried or baked. This creates a deep green color and more vegetal flavor characteristic of Japanese teas.
Sencha is the quintessential Japanese tea. Brewing produces a rich, brothy tea with a clean, refreshing aroma. The cup develops a sweet flavor reminiscent of steamed veggies, balancing astringency and sweetness.
Gyokuro and matcha are grown under shade covers, so the leaves have a darker color and rich flavor. The resulting vibrant green tea leaves are beautiful dry and gorgeous in the cup.
Sencha Supreme Japanese Green Tea
The dark, blue-green leaves of our Sencha Supreme are tightly compressed into needle-like shapes. As they open during infusion, they release smooth, soft, broth-like aromas with hints of fresh ocean air. The hazy, green infusion is thick and sweet, with a distinctly vegetal flavor. The aftertaste leans slightly toward the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum, making this a great Sencha for Japanese green tea newbies and Japanese green tea lovers alike.
Gyokuro Japanese Green Tea
The leaves of our Gyokuro produce a brew that is surprisingly soft and luscious. It has a thick umami flavor and mouthfeel, and is subtly sweet. Above all, it’s green, green, green. Baby spinach notes, sauteed asparagus, spirulina… A rich aroma and bright green color further distinguishes our Gyokuro from other green teas.
Brewing Tips for Chinese and Japanese Green Tea
Steep both Chinese and Japanese green teas at a lower temperature. Aim for water slightly bubbling to just a simmer.
Pour the hot water over the tea leaves and stay there. If you walk away, then you are just asking for a bitter cup of tea. Within 2-3 minutes, remove the leaves (or pour out the tea, depending on your brewing method), let it cool slightly, and give it a taste.
If it’s bitter, try a shorter brew time next time. You might find that even just 20 seconds gives your tea the sweet, nuanced taste you love!