If you are in a doubt which tea to try first or cannot decide which flavor would be the best for you, read our short guide. 20 years ago, we were tea beginners as well.
Top 6 must try green teas for beginners
The following 6 teas will not only show you the wide palette of green tea flavors, they are also easy to brew. Teas on our list are the best of steamed, pan-fired, Chinese, Japanese, unusual traditional blends, scented and flavored teas.
1. Flavored green tea
Flavored green teas are a best way to step into the world of green tea. They mostly have one green tea as a base, usually Chinese sencha or stronger smokey green tea and one or two other ingredients. They are the best option for making a delicious and flavorful iced tea. However, flavored green teas cannot stand long brewing time like other fruit teas. The longer you steep the leaves, the more bitter your tea will be, regardless of added flavors and ingredients. This is because, unlike fruit tea, flavored green tea has EGCg, a powerful antioxidant. Make sure you infuse the leaves for no longer than 2-3 minutes. Flavored green teas are the best choice for a transition from herbal and fruits blends to healthier real tea. Our choice? Simple Strawberry Green for a tea with light smokey flavor and Soothing Sencha Green for freshness.
Simple Strawberry Green
Best for: Tea drinkers not afraid to experiment that want to enjoy the specific flavor and benefits of green tea. Avoid if you want pure green tea flavor.
Why flavored green tea? To enjoy the healthiest alternative to ready-to-drink teas.
2. Japanese Sencha
Sencha is usually the next step in discovering green tea. They are two main types of sencha tea, Japanese and Chinese. Over 80% of all tea produced in Japan is sencha, so it doesn’t surprise Japanese sencha will be nothing like any other green tea in the world. It has a refreshing grassy vegetal flavor and deeper green color.
Best for: Tea drinkers looking for the greenest, the most vegetal flavor. Avoid if you don’t like grassy notes.
Why Japanese sencha? Sencha offers the greenest and most vegetal flavor of all green teas. Once you taste Japanese sencha, you know what to expect from most Japanese teas. No other green tea will have more intense color.
3. Chinese Sencha
Chinese sencha will have a lighter, less fresh and less vegetal flavor. It’s the best tea for making pure iced tea, and the best base for many blends. The nonintrusive flavor can handle almost any flower, fruit, or spice. Chinese sencha is closer to bancha – daily – tea than to Japanese sencha, making it a good choice for everyday drinking.
Best for: Tea drinkers that need a regular daily tea. Avoid if you are looking for a fresh and intense flavor.
Why Chinese sencha? Great for pure iced tea and making your own flavored or scented blends.
4. Mao Feng
Mao Feng, a tea from the list of top 10 famous Chinese teas, has a light vegetal, fresh and sweet flavor with a light floral note. Unlike sencha, leaves are pan-fired, resulting in a more mellow and less vegetal taste. This tea is best brewed with short steeping times.
Best for: Anyone looking for a more delicate fresh flavor. Avoid If you don’t have time to brew it properly.
Why Mao Feng? To understand the art of Chinese tea making and pan-fired teas.
Although Genmaicha is said to be an ordinary tea, there is nothing ordinary in the looks, scent and flavor of this Japanese blend. Genmaicha is made from bancha green tea and toasted and popped rice and is easy to brew even for unskilled tea drinkers. Always drink Genmaicha plain. You can infuse the same leaves up to 3-4 times and they will tolerate hot water better than other green teas.
Best for: Popcorn lovers, tea drinkers that drink tea plain. Avoid if you don’t like toasty flavor and scent.
Why Genmaicha? To understand the traditional tea blends.
6. Green tea with jasmine
Last tea on our list is the most traditional scented green tea from China. Chinese people tend to scent their teas rather than flavor them, with jasmine flowers being the favorite choice. Jasmine green tea has a light flavor with intense jasmine note and is great both hot and cold. Our choice? Downy Jasmine Needle with tiny hairy leaves and jasmine flowers.
Best for: Tea drinkers looking for flowery aroma and scent, but pure light liquor. Avoid if you don’t like flowery flavor.
Why green tea with jasmine? To learn about the traditional scented teas.
Can you add sugar to green tea?
Although sugar, honey or agave syrup will add flavor to green tea or make it less bitter, it’s always better to avoid them. While a slice of lemon is a great addition to iced green tea, hot infusion should be pure. Flavored green tea is the best option if you are looking for anything outside of the typical flavor chart and want sweeter infusions that work well with other condiments.
6 Tips to brew green tea properly
Quality will have a big influence on flavor, but it’s the brewing method that makes your tea either tasty or bitter.
- Start with using 2-3 grams of green tea per 150-200 ml.
- Start with lower temperatures for the first infusion.
- Use only fresh spring water. Tap water might give a cloudy dark color and will destroy the flavor of delicate green teas.
- Use hotter water for a second infusion, and shorter steeping time.
- Always seal the bag and keep it away from sunlight, heat and moisture.
- For a single infusion, never steep tea leaves longer than 3 minutes.