Green Tea: Chinese vs. Japanese
OK, so my research to find out the technical differences between these two teas has been a bit exhausting. Between the crazy names, growing regions, climate factors, drying methods, etc. My head is spinning! (Truly, I could spend years deciphering the technical differences and probably will as I am now very intrigued!) However, this does not help my readers today. So here is the short version of the long dissertation.
- The Chinese basically pan dry their leaves
- Japanese steam dry theirs.
Besides the growing region, which can make a world of difference as well, those are the BIG qualifying difference. But what does this mean to you?!?!
- Japanese Greens have a very vegetative taste to them. To some this sounds questionable…… and truly it is an acquired taste, but if you allow yourself a few tries at this type, most people will grow to LOVE this tea!!!
- Chinese Greens are less vegetative and have a deeper, maltier flavor. Chinese Greens are also synonymous with the “bitter ending”, a pro to some a con to others.
- Japanese Greens are supposedly “of higher quality” than Chinese Greens. I beg to differ. Either tea can be of high quality, if you get the right pick.
- What I mean by that is every tea plant gets picked several times. The first pick or “flush”, as called in industry, is the “best of the best” that the plant has to offer. The second flush is the “best”. And then from there on out, the leaves are picked and sold as “good” teas. This third flush is what you typically buy as the price is reasonable for a decent tea.
- I do have to say, if you are into Greens or would like to treat yourself sometime, spring for the first flush. It will be well worth your money!
- The tea bags you typically buy in the grocery store are the “good leaves” sifted time and time again until all they have left is the dust. They then put that into bags and market it as tea. As such you are paying $4-$6 for basically the crap left over that couldn’t be used for anything else. Makes you think, eh?
- Due to the “quality” stamp placed on Japanese Greens, you will often find them more expensive than the Chinese Greens. This is partially due to the prices given at export.
- I find Chinese Greens just as good as Japanese so depending on what taste I am going for, determines what I buy.
- If you don’t really care about the taste and price is your sticking point, I believe the Chinese Greens would suit you fine.
- Many people believe steaming the leaves vs. pan frying them is healthier and so, the Japanese Greens are healthier. Again, I beg to differ.
- When I say, “pan frying”, I do not mean frying in the general sense of the word. It refers more to placing the tea leaves on a hot metal disc and circulating them around and around to remove the moisture (which has been done this way since the 12th century).
- I believe both are healthy ways to dry tea leaves.
- The different methods just leave different tastes behind. Kind of like baking chicken vs. grilling chicken, both are healthy, they just have different tastes.
At the end of the day, you need to weigh your tastes with your pocketbook and decide which is best for you. Any way you steep it, the Japanese and Chinese both lead long, healthy lives in part thanks to Green Tea.
Bee Well. Drink Tupelo Honey Teas.
The Tea Lady