If you want to give green tea a try, but are overwhelmed by all the different green tea types, this is for you! I’ll break down my top 7 and we’ll look at some of the amazing benefits of green tea.
There are so many green tea types on the market. I’ve tried a whole bunch of them, and I’m going to give you the breakdown on my 7 favorites.
If you haven’t tried green tea yet, you’ll love this overview (and I recommend starting with the flavored teas).
From matcha to dragon well and even fermented green tea, I have all you need to know.
Plus I’ll share the top 7 evidence-based health benefits of green tea and why matcha is a great one to try.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them, and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.
7 popular and delicious green tea types
While all green teas (and even black and white tea) come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant (the tea plant), the flavors and types of the teas depend on where the plants are grown and how they’re processed.
I found over 20 different types of green tea, but here’s a quick look at 7 popular and interesting green teas and the differences so you’re sure to find one you love.
Matcha is my personal favorite type of green tea and comes in the form of a fine powder. It has the grassy flavor green tea is known for and makes great lattes due to the concentrated taste.
Just before harvesting, matcha is shaded, which allows for more chlorophyll in the leaves and a smoother flavor. The leaves are then ground into a fine powder used to make the tea. And since you’re drinking the entire leaf of the tea plant, you get more of it’s health benefits.
Matcha contains up to 137 times the catechins (which carry the health benefits) as other green teas. Making it a top choice of all green tea types for reaping the benefits.
Typically matcha is made with a bamboo whisk called a Chasen, but you can mix with what you have on hand. Pique Matcha is super easy to mix with hot, or even cold water with just a spoon.
2. Jasmine green tea
Jasmine green tea is one of the most popular Chinese green teas. It has a smooth and floral flavor with a delicious smell and taste as the tea leaves are infused with jasmine flowers during the oxidation process.
Some jasmine green tea includes the jasmine flowers mixed in, which is highly recommended for a great floral flavor.
This jasmine green tea powder is organic and infused with jasmine five times so it smells and tastes amazing. It can be mixed with hot or cold water, making it easy for cold brew.
3. Japanese sencha green tea
Japanese sencha is the most popular green tea in Japan. It has an earthy and grassy flavor. Some sencha is shaded before harvesting, which makes a sweeter tea and reduces bitterness.
If you’re sensitive to the taste of the sea (seafood, seaweed), you may not love sencha. It can have a slight umami taste, which some people love and others don’t. While sencha isn’t my preferred green eta, I do enjoy it with a little lemon juice on occasion.
if you’re looking for a traditional type of green tea flavor, sencha is one to try.
4. Dragon well/Longjing
Dragon well tea (also known as Longjing tea) is the highest quality green tea from China. It has grassy and nutty flavors with a bit of umami and hints of chestnut.
When purchasing, you want to look for brands that are high quality. As Dragon well is an expensive tea, you want to be sure you’re paying for the quality and not just the name.
Ordering a sample prior to a larger bag is a great idea. Here are two great options:
5. Genmaicha green tea
Genmaicha green tea is unique in that it includes roasted brown rice mixed with green tea. It has the grassy flavor you expect from green tea, but with an added nutty and savory taste from the toasted rice.
This tea is said to have originated by Buddhist monks centuries ago.
It has a yellow tint to it and isn’t pure green or dark green. It’s also known as the popcorn tea since the flavor profile can sometimes include notes of popcorn. You may see pictures of the tea with popcorn in them, which can be confusing, but I haven’t actually found a genmaicha tea that includes popcorn.
6. Flavored green tea
Flavored green tea includes green tea leaves mixed with something else to add flavor. Jasmine green tea is an example of this, but another popular flavor (and my personal summer favorite) is a mint flavored green tea.
The added flavors can provide a lightness or sweetness to the teas, and for those who don’t love the sometimes bitter taste of green tea, flavored green tea can be a great start.
There are many different flavors of green tea available. My favorite is this mint green tea from Pique, but this Passion Fruit Green Tea is also light and delicious). Both can be made by dissolving the powders in hot or cold water.
7. Pu’er green tea (fermented green tea)
Pu’er is named after a city in Yunnan Province of China, where ancient tea trees grow. Once tea leaves are picked, dried and rolled, they’re fermented with probiotics.
Long ago, this helped to keep the teas from spoiling on the long trips during trading.
While there isn’t a ton of science showing benefits specifically with fermented tea, the fermentation process is thought to create additional polyphenols and is a way to get probiotics.
Pu’er green tea is darker than non-fermented green tea and has a smooth green tea taste.
Health benefits of all green tea types
True teas made from the leaves of the tea plant will carry the same health benefits.
The difference in the benefits for the different tea types will come from the production process and quality of tea. With the exception of the fermented teas, which are thought to include probiotics and possibly additional polyphenols, you can expect the following potential health benefits from any of the green tea types.
Matcha is thought to be most concentrated since you’re actually ingesting the leaves of the plant.
Here are some potential health benefits of green tea:
1. Provide powerful antioxidants
Antioxidants work to prevent and repair damage caused by free radicals. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants, like green tea, can help counter oxidative stress and support a healthy immune system.
Green tea contains high amounts of epigallocatechin gallate (better known as EGCG) – which is the catechin responsible for antioxidant properties.
2. Weight loss
Green tea can help support healthy digestion by supporting and balancing the microbiome, which can help support weight loss. EGCG in green tea can also put our bodies into a process called thermogenesis, which aids in weight loss.
3. Improve cognitive function
One small study found that the L-theanine in tea helped to minimize the negative effects of caffeine.
4. May help lower blood pressure
One study found that after 12 weeks of drinking green tea, participant’s blood pressures were lowered by 2.6 mmHg systolic and 2.2 mmHg diastolic. Though not a huge impact, every bit helps when working to lower high blood pressure.
5. Beneficial for oral health
One study showed that green tea extract inhibited the growth of S. moorei, which is a bacterium responsible for bad breath. If you’re prone to bad breath, starting your day with a cup of green tea may be beneficial for your oral health.
6. Anti viral and anti bacterial
In vitro studies have shown that green tea has anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. Green tea is a great option when you feel a cold coming on.
7. Supports heart health
There have been several studies showing that drinking tea may reduce the risk of heart disease and one analysis even suggests green tea may reduce heart disease risk by up to 20%. Other studies have shown that the catechins in green tea may help lower LDL cholesterol – the bad cholesterol that can lead to heart attack.
Is loose leaf tea better than other green tea types?
If you’re looking at quality of teas, I must make my pitch for using high quality loose leaf tea or tea powders.
A few years ago, a study was published documenting the billions (yes, billions) of microplastics that are found in tea brewed from teabags. Here’s a quote from the study:
“We show that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage.”
While I understand this study didn’t look at every single tea brand, I prefer to use loose leaf teas or Pique Tea powders.
You can also purchase reusable organic cotton teabags online or a high quality stainless steel infuser that both work great for making loose leaf tea. I also have a glass mug that that has a diffuser built in.
What to look for when buying green tea
You’ll want to check for the following when purchasing green tea and matcha.
- Screened for heavy metals – toxic heavy metals have been found in many green teas. Look for a brand that’s screened for heavy metals to ensure quality.
- Screened for mold – coffee and tea are both prone to contain mold. It’s best to look for a green tea that is screened for mold.
- Organic and preferably tested for pesticides and toxins.
- Choose ceremonial matcha powder as opposed to culinary grade matcha if using for a tea. Culinary grade matcha can be used for baking, but ceremonial is better for sipping.
Cold green tea vs hot
The best way to drink green tea is your favorite way.
You get health benefits of green tea whether you drink hot or cold tea.
If you look at one study on steeping methods of different types of tea and antioxidant levels, it appears cold-brewed tea retains more antioxidants and includes less caffeine than when brewing in hot water.
It was found that cold brew tea had the highest antioxidant activity and gallic acid content.
Having said that, hot brewed tea has been enjoyed for centuries. Cold brewed tea is a relatively new technique in comparison.
I love my iced tea in the summer, but definitely prefer a hot tea in the winter. It’s also important to note that most tea lovers drink tea for taste as well as the benefits. The brewing process you choose should be based on your personal preference. If you prefer hot beverages, do that.
If you’re concerned about brewing your tea at a high temperature, you can try cold brewing tea or try one of the Pique brand teas. Most of the Pique teas can be mixed with hot or cold water, and they’re a great alternative to loose-leaf tea or tea bags.
How much caffeine is in green tea?
While caffeine content highly depends on the quality of the tea and how it’s prepared, you can expect about 35mg per cup of green tea. Matcha can include a little more caffeine and range from about 38 to 88mg of caffeine per cup.
For comparison, coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine per cup, and black tea ranges from about 40-100mg per cup.
While herbal teas come from various herbs, spices, fruits and plants, all true teas (like green, white, black and oolong tea), come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
There are tons of health benefits of green tea. You can take advantage of benefits like heart health, cognitive function, and immune health by drinking a green tea that suits your style. Green tea types vary in price and taste and if you’re new to the taste of green tea, I’d recommend starting with a flavored green tea or a homemade matcha latte.
Water temperature may impact the final amount of health beneficial antioxidants in your green tea, but if you love warm tea it’s still worth drinking and can still offer many benefits. You can try cold steeping your tea for maximum benefits, which also gives a lower caffeine way to enjoy the tea.
Before selecting a green tea bag, try using loose leaf tea, or a high quality tea powder. A green tea powder is a delicious and easy way to enjoy tea without using a tea bag.
Take action – plus green tea tips
If you haven’t tried green tea, pick one of the seven green tea types and give it a try. Here are my top tips for enjoying green tea for all its health benefits.
Pick a tea you like to drink and drink it how you like. Whether hot or cold, as a latte or plain. Do what you love. You’ll get health benefits no matter what.
If you’re new to green tea, try a flavored green tea like this mint tea or this passionfruit tea.
Green tea powders are super easy to mix and enjoy. But you can get creative and make your own blends with loose leaf teas as well. I recommend a powder or loose leaf tea to steer clear of potential microplastics from tea bags.
Here are the brands I recommend:
- Pique Tea – super simple organic tea powders.
- Teabloom – fun blooming teas with many organic options. Some teas contain “natural flavors” so if you’re sensitive to those, just check the ingredients before ordering.
If green tea isn’t your favorite, try adding some matcha powder into a strawberry smoothie. The taste will still be there, but it will help to blend with a fruit.