Green loose leaf tea is harvested, or plucked, and is then quickly heated, by pan firing or steaming, and dried to prevent a loss of color. Too much oxidation would turn the leaves brown and alter their fresh-picked flavor. Pan fired green tea has a flavor profile ranging from grassy to toasty notes. Steamed green tea tends to be more vegetal and sweet with notes of seaweed. When steeped correctly (using cooler temperature than black tea and a shorter steeping time), green loose leaf teas will be light in color with little to no bitterness.
Chinese green teas are known to be smooth, mellow and grassy or flowery. While Japanese green teas are rich in vegetal notes and even some notes of seaweed. When it comes to caffeine levels, green loose leaf tea has about a third as much as a typical cup of coffee.
Well known green tea origins include China and Japan but may also come from all the same origins as black teas like, Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Famous green loose leaf teas include, Matcha Green Tea Powder, Jasmine Tea, Dragon Well, Sencha and Genmai Cha.
Based on their origin, optimal brewing time varies amongst green teas. For example, Japanese green tea is more delicate than its Chinese counterpart and prefers cooler water of approximately 160° F. Chinese green tea prefers a bit higher temperature of 175° F. If you don't have a thermometer than we recommend this trick - bring your water to a boil, turn off the heat and wait 5 minutes. Then pour the water into your mug (without any tea added) and if you can comfortably wrap your hands around the mug without it being too hot for you then the water is generally ready to use for Chinese green tea. Let it cool another 2-3 minutes when steeping Japanese green tea.
Green tea leaves should steep for 1-3 minutes, depending on the blend and origin. Japanese green teas often only need a minute or so to steep, Chinese green teas can steep for up to 3 minutes. If you are looking for stronger flavor, we always recommend increasing the amount of tea and not adding additional steeping time as this will help prevent green teas from becoming bitter.