As any green tea enthusiast will tell you, not all loose leaf green tea is created the same. Quality can vary widely, even with green tea coming from the same geographic region or identical brand. Here are 7 tips for helping you to choose the very finest loose leaf green tea.
Tip #1: Look At The Country Of Origin
Right now, there are more than 40 nations around the world that produce loose leaf green tea, but there are two countries that are at the top of the list for serious green tea drinkers: Japan and Sri Lanka. So always check the label to see where the tea is coming from – over time, you’ll learn to recognize countries that produce the very best loose tea.
Tip #2: Examine The Antioxidant Content
One big reason to drink loose leaf green tea is the many healthy antioxidants included within the tea. The higher the antioxidant content, the better. The main antioxidant to look for is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). And these antioxidants can vary significantly from brand to brand, so this should be one of the first factors to check out on a label.
Tip #3: Look For The Words “First Harvest” On The Label
If you are buying online or at the supermarket, look for the words “first harvest” on the label. There are different harvests for loose leaf green tea, and the first harvest is always the best. The highest quality tea leaves are picked earliest, usually starting in March or April.
Tip #4: Start With Flavours You Already Recognise
Many green tea drinkers start out by drinking black tea. So, as you start out drinking loose leaf green tea, you can use your knowledge of black tea flavour profiles to guide you in picking green tea flavours that you enjoy.
Tip #5: Understand What Terms Like “Mild” & “Delicate” Mean
There are some terms on a package of loose leaf tea that you might think is just marketing lingo, but these words can actually have a very big impact on how you enjoy your tea. For example, any loose leaf green tea that is described as “mild” or “delicate” will require more care and attention while preparing to get the best out of the subtle flavours and delicate leaves. They are best enjoyed with the use of an electric tea kettle, so that you can precisely control the temperature of the water used to steep the tea. See each of our products for a full understanding of how best to brew each tea.
Tip #6: Make Freshness A Priority
The shelf life of loose leaf green tea is 12 Months. Of course, you can still enjoy your green tea for a period longer than that, but many green tea enthusiasts end up putting their green tea in the fridge to extend shelf life beyond 12 Months. So make freshness a priority – try to buy from vendors or companies where you know that a product has not been sitting around for months at a time.
Tip #7: Go Organic Whenever Possible
Yes, you’ll pay a slight price premium for organic loose leaf green tea, but it’s worth the extra cost. Organic means that no harmful pesticides or chemicals were used when growing the tea leaves.
By taking into account these 7 tips, you can choose the very best loose leaf green tea. Given the rising number of brands and products in the marketplace today, you’ll be glad that you took the time to become a more informed loose leaf green tea consumer.