Green Tea is picked after the White tea leaves have been picked off of the Camellia Sinensis plant. And then, depending on where the tea is grown, (China or Japan), determines the method of processing. Chinese Green Tea is “pan-fried” dry (not what you think) and Japanese Green Tea is steamed dry.
Pan Frying refers to a process where large metal pans are shaken over a fire. This process gently evaporates the water out of the tea leaf. For teas, like Gunpowder Green, the leaves are then hand rolled into small pellets and dried further. Chinese Green Tea has a bitter ending and is what most westerners think of taste wise as “Green Tea”. Chinese Green teas typically brew up into a light brown color.
Japanese Green Tea has a vegetative taste to it. Most people refer to it as “grassy”. It is an acquired taste for most. Japanese Greens are steam dried which lends itself to their straight flat appearance. When brewed up, this tea is bright green in color.
Japanese teas are often more expensive than Chinese teas. One reason is because of the limited areas to grow tea in Japan as compared to China. Another reason is due to economics…. Let’s face it, the Japanese are more westernized and as such, demand higher prices than the Chinese.
Japanese Tea is often ground into a powder called Matcha. Matcha is said to be healthier for you because you are consuming the entire leaf as compared to steeping it and then removing the leaves from your water. Matcha has even more of a vegetative taste to it. Some Matchas are ground with cane sugar called “Sweet Matcha”. These are great to cook with and can often be a substitute for other dry ingredients in your favorite recipe. This tea when made, is a mossy green color, often its appearance turns off new tea drinkers. However, Matcha Lattes are popular as their color is more like the color chartreuse.