St. Patrick and Green Tea

Another year has rolled around and another St. Patrick’s Day and “wearin’ o’ the green” is approaching. Time to line up those green tea choices. No, we don’t mean tea dyed green — we mean unoxidized tea.

Spring Pouchong - my review (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
Spring Pouchong – my review (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what green teas are, but for the one or two that may not know, these are teas that do not undergo one of the processing steps called “oxidizing.” This is where the tea leaves are lightly rolled to break down the cells a bit and allow oxygen to affect them, turning them dark.

Some Fresh Green Teas St. Patrick Would Have Loved

Too bad Patrick (Patricius), a Romanized Gaul who was living in what is now England but got captured as a slave and taken to Ireland, didn’t have teas available. (Tea didn’t reach Ireland for another 1100+ years.) Those monasteries he helped establish, and where hundreds of documents from the defunct Roman Empire were brought and copied, could have done with a boatload of nice hot pots of tea. Especially since they didn’t have central heating!

Here are a few that would certainly have kept the chill from their bones:

  • ChunMee (“precious eyebrows”) — A golden green liquid with a sweet and musty flavor. (More info)
  • Matcha — Tea powder that brews up a thick, frothy, bitter, and bright green drink that is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. (More info)
  • Assam green tea — Yes, tea producers in the Assam region of northern India have been processing some green teas, as I mentioned recently.
  • Gyokuro — Regarded as the finest tea in Japan, with very deep green leaves; the liquid is light green with a sweet-and-sea taste.
  • Pi Lo Chun (“green snail spring,” “astounding fragrance”) — The small leaves are curled like snail shells; it has a sweet flavor and aroma.
  • Steamed Darjeeling Green Tea — A second flush Darjeeling tea from India, grown at an elevation of 3,000 to 4,600 feet. This orthodox green tea is steamed and has a delicate muscatel taste. (More info)

Don’t Forget Spring Pouchong

As another writer on this blog pointed out recently, some vendors classify Spring Pouchong Tea in with their green teas while others include this tea with the oolongs. Either way, the light flavor will get you in that Irish frame of mind where green rolls across the land like a lush velvet tablecloth. See a review here by another writer and my review.

And Some Flavored Versions

Adding fruits and other flavorings to green tea is an increasingly popular tactic, enjoyed mainly by those who find the flavor of straight green tea too grassy or even bitter. Some popular choices:

  • Blueberry Flavored Green Tea — A green Pekoe Gunpowder with the wonderfully sweet character of natural blueberry flavoring and a pleasing astringency. Serve hot or iced.
  • Jasmine with Flowers Green Tea — Tea from Fujian Province, China, that is grown an elevation of 1,500 feet. It is steamed and has a surprising body and captivating floral taste. The flavor is enhanced with jasmine blossoms. This particular grade is the first grade below the exotic jasmines.
  • Chai Green Tea — Green gunpowder tea from Sri Lanka, grown at an elevation of 5,600 to 6,400 feet. A good green tea character with strong Indian spice notes. Unlike most green teas, this one can be enhanced with milk. (My review)
  • Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea — Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea is a blend of high quality green tea with sweet cherry and morning rose flavor. (My review)
  • Lemon Green Tea — Lemon Green Tea is a pleasant blend of tart lemon, with the sweetness of healthy green tea. Very refreshing over ice.

Proper Preparation Is Important

Too often, people complain about the taste of their green teas when in fact they tried to steep those teas as they would steep their daily cuppa English Breakfast Tea or other black or even oolong teas. And you definitely can’t treat green teas the way you would treat your pu-erhs. For one thing, green teas don’t hold up well in long-term storage.

Steep guide:

  • Water temp: about 160° F (70° C).
  • Pre-warm the teapot with a little hot water.
  • Use a sufficient amount of tea leaves.
  • Steep for 1-3 minutes.

No excuses now not to have some green on St. Patty’s Day!

See also:
St. Patrick’s Day Tea Time Goes Green!
If St. Patrick Had Had These Teas…
Go Green (Tea) for St. Patty’s Day
Japanese vs. Chinese Green Teas
“I Hate Green Tea”
Some Australian Grown Green Teas

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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