Green tea is the most popular type of tea in both China and Japan. Tea was discovered in China and then spread to Japan and other nations.
Did you know that green tea is also the first type of tea to be discovered? It has been known for thousands of years in China, while black tea was invented around the 17th century.
To make green tea, the leaves from the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) should be minimally oxidized. Hence they must go to a process that stops oxidation, which involves adding heat. Oxidation is a natural process that you can observe in the browning of a freshly cut apple, for example.
There are so many different green teas that it’s a little overwhelming to read about them all. A common way to group teas is by country of origin. Let’s take a look at Chinese and Japanese green teas.
Chinese green tea
China is the number one exporter of green tea. Examples of famous Chinese green teas are Longjing, Biluochun, and Huangshan Maofeng.
In olden times, the Chinese made their green tea by steaming the tea leaves. However, after the 17th century the preferred methods became pan firing (also called wok roasting) and baking. This process makes a big difference in the taste of green tea, making it more mellow.
Only a few Chinese green teas are steamed, like Enshi Yulu from the Hubei province.
Japanese green tea
Most of the tea made in Japan is green. Out of that, the most produced type of tea is sencha.
With very few exceptions, such as kamairicha, Japanese green teas aremostly steamed. This gives Japanese teas a more “grassy” and fresh taste.
In the end, it’s all a matter of preference. Both countries make various high quality green teas and it’s up to you to decide which ones do you like best.
Also, note that besides the processing there are other variables that come into play. The cultivation technique, terroir, and type of cultivar of the tea plant also have a significant impact in the taste and aroma