Green tea might seem like the preserve of wellness gurus and tiny ancient monks – you know, the people who have time to perform elaborate ceremonies over their tea rather than popping a Tetley into a mug and calling it a day – but it’s easier to get a refreshing, replenishing cup than you might think. The best green tea speaks for itself, so as long as you don’t go in with boiling water, which can ruin the delicate taste and make it bitter, it should be easy breezy.
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We’ve included a mix of green tea bags and loose leaf tea to suit all sorts, whether you painstakingly add it half a teaspoon at a time to your favourite infuser, or chuck a sachet in a travel mug two minutes before leaving the house. But if you’re not so fussed about the form it comes in, and more about the flavour, where do you start?
For a traditional green tea with a refined, ever so slightly astringent taste, Taylors of Harrogate Delicate Pure Green Tea comes highly recommended as a starting point, but for something a little fruitier to start you off, Harney & Sons Citron Green Tea has been lauded as the reason for countless conversions from the world of coffee.
Don’t be put off by the explosive name, because if you’re partial to a lapsang souchong or Russian caravan tea, this similarly smoky-tasting green alternative might just hit the spot. Reviewers say this gunpowder green tea isn’t overpowering, but adds an extra element of aromatic richness, so if you suspect you might find the delicate taste of green tea a little uninspiring for everyday drinking, why not give this a try? Made from whole leaves, delicately rolled into tiny pearls, it’s worlds away from the ultra fine dusty blends of cheaper teas, and certified organic.
Fine tea purveyors Harney & Sons recommend this citrus-infused green tea as an ideal introduction to the drink for those who might be feeling trepidatious, and as its reviewers number among them a number of coffee-to-tea converts, we’d say they’ve hit the nail on the head. With the addition of high-quality orange oil for a beautiful fragrance and perfumed taste, and marigold petals for a touch of pageantry, testers say this is a beautifully light, bright-tasting tea with no cheek-puckering bitterness, ideal for a morning cup, and a fine next step for lovers of Lady Grey looking to get into green tea.
The epic-sounding Legends of China tea is commended by its fans for a lack of the bitterness you might expect to find in a cup of green tea, so if you’re looking to be converted, it’s certainly worth giving this variety a try. Drinkers, even those who’ve been put off by green teas in the past, say this makes a remarkable cup: light green and clear, rather than yellow and muddy-looking, with a smooth and refreshing taste. Long-time fans have also found it makes a great cold-brew, not too astringent even with overnight steeping, so why not give it a go?
Everything about this tea says luxury, from its decorative traditional caddy to the appearance of the tea itself, rolled sencha leaves dotted with bright blue cornflowers and generous perfumed hunks of dried mango. A Great Taste Award winner two years on the trot, judges described the tea as ‘clean and sweet throughout’, and home tasters love it for its almost creamy sweetness and ability to be served either hot or cold. Some green tea aficionados may find it a little sweet for their liking, but lovers of Earl Grey, which shares dominant bergamot flavours in common with this tea, are sure to be bowled over.
Green tea is a great alternative to an after-dinner coffee as a digestif, so combine it with the added benefits of tummy-settling ginger and you’re on to a real winner. Ginger’s nausea-combating properties mean it’s often recommend for use in pregnancy (okay, okay, for hangovers too), but even if you’re not big into herbal remedies, reviewers note that that’s just a happy side-effect of a great-tasting tea. With ginger at the forefront, they say it has a great kick and makes for a lovely smooth drink whether taken hot or cold.
This top-notch tea is made using leaves from the First Flush, the first plucking of the harvest season completed when the new growth leaves are at their most tender. The whole leaves are delicately steamed over jasmine flowers to make a minimum-intervention tea with all its natural antioxidants preserved, and the whole thing’s certified organic with biodegradable packaging too – pretty virtuous, wouldn’t you say? Drinkers found it performed, too, with the unmistakable perfume of jasmine and a lovely smooth taste, backed up by a Great Taste Award win.
For a straightforward cup of green tea, reviewers say you can’t beat Taylors. The Harrogate-based tea company make this tea with jasmine or lemon too, but its pure green tea is a winner, with testers saying it makes a lovely smooth, delicate cup without a hint of bitterness, and it’s gently decaffeinated for a perfect pre-bed cup. The individually wrapped tea bags might feel wasteful to some (if so, you may want to consider Uncle Lee’s pure green tea, above, as an alternative) but they do serve to lock in freshness, and are great for popping in a bag for travel too.
Looking for other food and drink choices with added antioxidants? Check out our guide to the best dark chocolate bars, too.