Green Teas – Savory vs. Sweet

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Green Teas – Savory vs. Sweet

There are some people that say they hate Green Tea – a friend of mine, Sean, used to tell me this all the time. Every time I would offer him a cup of Green Tea, he would just wave his hand and tell me not to bother because the tea flavor was too light, but then a funny thing happened. Sean went to Japan for a few weeks and came back a Green Tea fanatic. So what happened?

Sean likes savory Green Tea

As far as flavor goes, Green Teas can be broken down into two basic groups – sweet and savory. As it turns out, Sean likes savory Green Teas, which have a heavier body with a much more pronounced flavor. They tend to come from Japan where they are steamed after being lightly oxidized and are savory because they have a lot of amino acids in the tea liquor, which gives the tea a sense of “umami” that the Japanese crave. Some examples of savory Green Teas include Sencha, Gyokuro and Genmaicha Matcha.


Then there are sweet Green Teas

Most Green Teas on the market are roasted, making them what I consider sweet. Sweet Green Teas tend to be from China and they have a light body with a lingering sweetness in the finish. Because of the light body, some people think they are lacking in flavor.  For a person like Sean who grew up in India drinking Chai, sweet Green Teas have a delicacy in flavor that is hard to appreciate if you like bold flavors.


But then something interesting happened

Sean messaged me a few days ago telling me that he really likes our Snow Dragon (from the Insider Tea Club). Snow Dragon is about as sweet and subtle as you can get. It appears that after drinking savory Green Teas every day for a few months, Sean’s palate has adjusted to the point where he can appreciate a sweet Green Tea as opposed to just savory. Thinking back on Sean’s tea drinking over the past few years, it seems that jumping from Black Tea to a sweet Green Tea was too large of a leap. However, going from Black Tea to savory Green Tea first helped Sean understand the subtle nuances that exist in lighter bodied teas.


What you can take from this

If you think you do not like Green Teas, perhaps you are just drinking the wrong ones. Try a Japanese Green Tea (such as Sencha or Gyokuro) and see how you like it. There is a good chance that trying a savory Green Tea will surprise you and your taste buds. Best of all, it may open up an entire new world of delicious teas that you never knew existed!

1 Response

Nicola Elam
Nicola Elam

January 21, 2016

My local Tesco are not embracing a range of green teas, I’ll try Waitrose :)

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