For centuries now, green tea has been a popular beverage in Asia. It is a staple in the tea culture throughout Japan and integral to their tea ceremony. It is used in formal celebrations or while hosting foreign guests.
Green tea is also a key component of traditional medicine in China, where it is revered for its health benefits. Today, it is already one of the most widely consumed beverages all over the world.
This beverage is derived from the tea plant called Camellia sinensis. The tea leaves are immediately harvested and dried to prevent oxidation.
Green tea is considered one of the healthiest teas mainly due to its high concentration of antioxidants. These have been proven to improve overall health, boost metabolism, lower cholesterol, and even aid in cancer prevention.
Aside from having green tea as a beverage, it can be used as an ingredient in cakes, ice cream, candies, and smoothies.
The following is the ultimate guide in everything you need to know about high quality, best tasting green tea. Discover how green tea is made and why it is so popular. During our research, we were able to unearth new varieties and flavors that we are excited to share with you.
|Best High Quality Green Tea||Type of Green Tea|
|1. Vahdam Organic Green Tea from the Himalayas||organic green tea in tea bags|
|2. Bigelow Tea Classic Bags||green tea in tea bags|
|3. Jade Leaf Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha Green Tea Powder||matcha green tea in powder form|
|4. Ito En Oi Ocha Green Tea||Japanese green tea in tea bags|
|5. Goarte Chinese Green Tea||Chinese green tea in loose leaf|
|6. Davidson's Tea||jasmine green tea in loose leaf|
|7. Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha Green Tea||sencha green tea in loose leaf|
|8. Temple of Heaven China Green Tea||gunpowder green tea in pellet form|
|9. Cha Wu LongJing Green Tea||dragonwell green tea in loose leaf|
|10. Pantenger Gyokuro Organic Japanese Green Tea||gyokuro green tea in loose leaf|
What to Consider When Choosing Green Tea
Not all green teas are created equal. Surprisingly, this is true even if they are grown in the same area or even come from the same brand.
Here are four things to remember when choosing which green tea to buy:
Find the Origin of Your Green Tea
When comparing brands, find out where the tea is grown and harvested.
Right now, there are more than 40 countries that produce loose leaf green tea, but only two are considered the best in terms of quality: Japan and China.
The green tea leaves in Japan are steamed during the drying process, resulting in a vegetal and soft, not woody, tea.
The most popular Japanese green teas that you may encounter are matcha, sencha, gyokuru, and kukicha.
Matcha tea is unique in that the leaves are ground into a fine powder and brewed using a bamboo whisk.
In China, green tea leaves are typically roasted to prevent oxidation. This is the reason why this type of tea tastes toasty. Their most popular green teas are Long Jing (Dragon Well), Bilouchan (Green Snail Spring), and Anji Bai Cha (Anji White Tea).
Beware of tea shops that may be selling you green tea that is locally grown and may contain artificial ingredients. You may have to check every time you buy right now, but over time, you will readily recognize the highest quality, best green tea when you see it.
Choose Loose Green Tea
If you want to get the most of green tea’s benefits, choose loose tea leaves over tea bags. The whole green leaf is the most natural form of green tea and it is better both in taste and quality.
Its natural flavor is infused in hot water. Tea bags, however, may contain harmful chemicals that can leach into your tea.
Broken pieces of leaves in tea bags reduce the tea quality. A final benefit of buying loose leaf green tea rather than green tea bags is that the former uses less packaging.
Check the Color
Organic green tea does not undergo the oxidation process and should retain its green color. If it is any color other than green, that means it was oxidized and is not a pure green tea.
Check Its Freshness
The shelf life of loose green tea is 12 months. The date when the green tea was packed should not be for more than 6 months.
Fresh green tea contains all the natural flavors and health benefits you are looking for, so make it a priority to check on freshness.
Best Organic Green Tea
Vahdam Organic Green Tea from the Himalayas
Each bag of Vahdam green tea contains pure and organic green tea leaves that are rich in antioxidants. It is a detox tea that also claims to aid weight management.
Tea bags previously got a bad rep for tearing up while in the brew. This Himalayan green tea comes in sturdy pyramid-shaped tea bags that give a fresher and flavorful brew. It just takes 3 to 5 minutes before you can enjoy your cup of tea.
True to its being green and organic, it is produced by a proudly carbon-neutral and plastic-neutral brand. They take their carbon and plastic footprint seriously and offset the effects by investing in environmental sustainability initiatives in India.
- Rich in antioxidants
- Comes in sturdy pyramid-shaped tea bags
- Fresher and flavorful brew in just 3 minutes
- A bit pricier than other high quality green teas
Best Bagged Green Tea
Bigelow Tea Classic Bags
The Bigelow Classic Green Tea has a very subtle earthy flavor that is not too bitter or grassy. It is good for anyone who wants a healthy antioxidant boost in the morning.
You will be getting 240 tea bags in your purchase – 6 boxes with 40 tea bags per box. The tea bags are not individually packed but one box contains 10 foil pouches. One foil pack has 4 tea bags. This means that if you open a foil pack to get one tea bag, you will be exposing the 3 other tea bags.
The brand’s founder, Ruth Campbell Bigelow, is credited tor reinventing tea in America in 1945. Today, Bigelow Tea is still entirely family-owned and operated. The company prides itself on creating only the highest quality and delicious tasting tea in every cup.
- Very subtle flavor that is not too bitter or grassy
- Great value for money
- Healthy antioxidant morning boost
- Tea bags not individually wrapped
Best Matcha Powder Green Tea
Jade Leaf Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha Green Tea Powder
This is organic ceremonial grade matcha in powder form. You simply whisk it in hot water for a traditional Matcha Tea preparation.
Matcha, like this Jade Leaf matcha tea, has the highest antioxidant levels of all green teas and is a great provider of natural energy and mental clarity. It is 100% organic and naturally gluten-free and vegan.
It comes in a small one-ounce pouch but being quality matcha, it takes very little to create a soothing cup of tea or a matcha latte.
It is produced by the Kizuna Tea Collective, a thriving network of family-run farms across Japan’s tea growing region. They have been producing and supplying quality matcha to Japan’s domestic market since 1858. Partner farms fuse traditional and modern techniques to produce matcha green tea brimming with flavor and nutrients.
- Organic ceremonial tea grade matcha powder
- Simply whisk with hot water to prepare
- High antioxidant levels
- Great source of natural energy and mental clarity
- Comes in a small 1-ounce pouch
Best Japanese Green Tea
Ito En Oi Ocha Green Tea
No doubt, the flavor of this green tea is definitely that of high-quality Japanese sencha tea. It tastes deliciously nutty and toasty, with the hearty flavor of brown rice. It tastes less grassy than a sencha, with a taste more like matcha.
It is unsweetened, so you won’t have to worry about unwanted carbs and calories. It comes in a pack of 4 for a total of 5.6-ounces of flavorful green tea.
Since it shares its name with a bottled version of Ito En, it is almost a given that this tea also tastes good when iced.
Ito En believes that green tea is a gift meant to be shared with others. Their philosophy of preserving tea culture stems from their utmost respect for Mother Earth. They create stability for their partner farmers and maintain consistent environmental protection standards.
- Gives the great taste and benefits of Japanese sencha tea
- Unsweetened, no carbs and calories
- Good even when iced
- A bit pricier than some other green teas
Best Chinese Green Tea
Goarte Chinese Green Tea
The interesting name of bi luo chun tea, which translates to spring snail shell, is due to the snail shell shape of the tea leaf when processed.
It is easy to brew, and with its clean and refreshing taste, it is popular to enjoy as an everyday green tea. Like most fine Chinese green teas, it has high concentrations of catechins, vitamin C, and amino acids. It contains caffeine but it is the kind that can eliminate fatigue and improve work efficiency.
The company, Dongting Pilochun Tea, makes sure that they harvest their teas while at their peak freshness and taste. The company also makes sure that they maintain verified standards of environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
- Clean and refreshing taste
- Has high concentrations of catechins, vitamin C, amino acids
- Tea leaves harvested while at their peak freshness and taste
- Flavor is a bit milder than more expensive green teas
Best Jasmine Green Tea
Davidson’s Tea tries to re-create Mao Jian tea, a type of popular sweet green tea in China, with this product. It looks like they did it! The leaves are baked and then infused with jasmine petals. The result is a tea that has a unique blend of nutty (from the baked tea leaves) and floral flavor.
This organic jasmine tea may be too sweet for people who are used to subtle jasmine green tea and may prefer its traditional, classic taste.
It comes in a pack of 16-ounce bags. To maintain its freshness, it is packed in a paper/kraft stand-up pouch with an aluminum foil lining.
Davidson’s Organics Teas is a sustainable, organic, and direct farm to cup tea company. It is recognized as having very high global food safety standards.
- Has a unique nutty and floral flavor
- Packed in a paper/kraft stand-up pouch with aluminum foil lining
- Great value for money
- Flavor may be too sweet for people used to traditional jasmine green tea
Best Sencha Green Tea
Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha Green Tea
In their dry form, these tea leaves have a fresh, sweet, and slightly vegetal aroma. Steeped, this sencha tea’s vegetal smell becomes more intense and acquires a startlingly bright yellow-green color which is very appealing.
This tea has a medium-full body taste with pleasant spinach-y and slight roast flavors. It is a blend of mid-season tea leaves that contains antioxidants. You can make it as your everyday green tea. It has a slightly bitter taste in the end, but it is not at all offensive.
Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders support fair trade practices around the world that promote sustainable livelihoods, safe working conditions, environmental protection, and strong, transparent supply chains. They also partnered with 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of their sales to environmental organizations around the world.
- Medium-full body with pleasant spinach-y and slight roast flavors
- Contains antioxidants
- A pleasant everyday tea
- Taste can be strong if brewed incorrectly or when lesser water is used than the intended amount
Best Gunpowder Green Tea
Temple of Heaven China Green Tea
The leaves of this gunpowder green tea are tightly rolled into pellets and when you hold them in your hands, they feel heavy. When you pour boiling water over them in a cup, the tea leaves quickly spread out. It is such a nice thing to see.
It has a dark golden color because gunpowder tea uses older tea leaves, unlike other green tea varieties. The taste is slightly sweet and there is no bitterness. It has a hint of a bite, but it’s not really astringent.
It comes at a reasonable price and if you brew it right, it can be on par with more expensive brands in terms of taste and quality. It contains caffeine, but brewing it for a second time will remove the caffeine by as much as 85%.
The Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Green Tea brand is famous in China and all around the globe. It is a staple on Asian and international food shelves.
- Taste is slightly sweet with no bitterness
- Affordable price
- Caffeine can be reduced by as much as 85% in the second brew
- Packaging can be improved to protect contents from sunlight and moisture
Best Dragonwell Green Tea
Cha Wu-[B] LongJing Green Tea
For a Grade B dragonwell green tea, this is as good as it gets. It has a distinct and sweet taste with a slight green tea bitter edge. You will get a sweet and fresh aftertaste that will linger in your mouth.
The aroma is also fresh and it smells like freshly fried bean incense. It is best to have when you’re feeling tired and hot to make you feel refreshed.
You will have to pay more for higher grades of dragonwell green tea if you want the tea to be sweeter and more refined. The price of this excellent tea is just right.
- Distinct and sweet taste
- Can be brewed 2-3 times and still get a strong taste
- Good price for excellent dragon well tea
- Brewing instructions lacking
Best Gyokuro Green Tea
Pantenger Gyokuro Organic Japanese Green Tea
Gyokuro green tea has a high amino acid content that is not common among other teas. The amino acid derivative L-theanine improves both relaxation and concentration. This high amino acid content is also responsible for the umami characteristic of the gyokuro tea.
That is what this green tea actually tastes like, the umami of seaweed. It has a mellow, sweet, and full-bodied taste. It is noticeable that it shares certain similarities with matcha, like flavor and aroma. The leaves of gyokuro tea, however, have a more intense green color. This product comes in airtight tin cans to protect the tea from oxidation and moisture.
Pantenger Organic Gyokuro is a ninth-generation family-owned tea estate that has over 250 years of artisan experience. It is evident that they know their tea well and want their customers to have quality tea time.
- Mellow, sweet, and full-bodied taste
- Rich in amino acid for relaxation and improved concentration
- Comes in a tin can for protection against oxidation and moisture
- The loose leaves leave more residue than other teas
Best Keurig Cup Green Tea
Celestial Seasonings, Green Tea, K-Cup Portion Pack for Keurig K-Cup Brewers
This traditional green tea in a K-cup has a fresh flavor and a smooth finish. Each serving is packed in an air-tight plastic cup that has an aluminum lid topped with a filter. This protects the green tea from moisture, air, and light.
All the brewing is inside the K-cup so you won’t have to worry about cleaning up in-between brews. There will be no flavor residue left behind that could spoil your next cup, either.
Celestial Seasonings is a big player in green tea. They use tea that is Fair Trade certified so you can be assured that the farmers who are behind your amazing cup of tea are paid right for their product.
- Green tea with a fresh flavor and smooth finish
- Airtight locked-in freshness and flavor
- No-mess since brewing is done inside the K-cup
- More expensive than getting tea in other forms like tea bags
Best Bottled Green Tea
Ito En Oi Ocha Unsweetened Bold Green Tea
If you’re trying a Japanese bottled green tea for the first time, you should try this one by Oi Ocha. It is the number one green tea brand in Japan. It is plain and simple, with just the right flavor and aroma.
This tea is surprisingly refreshing and healthy. This bottled green tea is unsweetened and devoid of any artificial flavors or additives. It is brewed from first flush whole green tea leaves and not from a ready mix powder or concentrate.
Oi Ocha is one of the three award-winning green tea brands of Ito En, the world’s premier green tea company. The company is specifically known for its dedication to authenticity while creating global innovation for the tea industry.
- Brewed from first flush whole green tea leaves in Japan
- Unsweetened and devoid of any artificial flavors or additives
- Naturally vitamin and antioxidant-rich tea
- This bold variant is more expensive than the original
We cannot overemphasize that green tea is always a healthy choice since it contains antioxidants and a host of other nutrients that are good for you. It is really not a hard decision to make to add green tea to your daily routine, since the best green teas taste amazing too.
Try the different green teas we recommended in different categories to see which ones you prefer. From grassy and earthy, nutty and creamy, sweet and floral, others with notes of seaweed, there is a green tea flavor for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the healthiest type of green tea?
Since matcha is a type of green tea, it provides the same health benefits as other teas. However, because matcha has a higher concentration of antioxidants, a single cup of it is equivalent to about three cups of the antioxidants in regular green tea.
Simply put, matcha has very high levels of antioxidants that can provide health benefits such as potentially reducing heart disease, and preventing certain cancers. It can also aid in weight loss, relaxation, and alertness.
How can you tell good quality green tea?
Simply using your four senses can help you identify good quality green tea. Whether you’re just starting out or have been a tea drinker for years, use these tips to help you choose the best one for you.
Sight: High-quality loose leaf tea should have whole leaves. Avoid tea leaves that look crumbly or have a lot of small stalks and wood fragments, as it will be less flavorful. High-quality leaves unfurl slowly as they steep.
Touch: A high-quality green tea leaf should be smooth yet sturdy when dry. It is not feather-light in your hands but has a slight heft. If it does not, it may mean that it has been over-dried or is just old. When steeped, the tea leaves should feel slippery and smooth to the touch.
Smell: High-quality green tea has a distinct aroma no matter what type it is. Green tea has a grassy smell that is light and fresh. If you only notice a slight scent when you smell it, that indicates that the tea is of low quality or is getting stale. When steeped, the aroma even gets stronger than when it was dried for high-quality green tea.
Taste: The best green tea will feel and taste smooth, bright, and refreshing. The taste is strong and recognizable. You will feel different flavor sensations activated on your tongue while drinking it. It is not overly astringent, nor does it have an unpleasant chemical taste.