Green Tea 101: Benefits of Green Tea

Since antiquity, people have consumed tea for its potential wellness benefits. All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, however, different types of processing result in the different types of tea.  While the different types of tea have largely similar beneficial properties, processing can impact the presence or levels of certain compounds.  We previously discussed flavonoids, L-theanine, and theaflavin in black tea, read more here!  But what about the benefits of green tea?

A Brief History of Green Tea

Green tea is the most common style of tea consumed in China. It has been around since the Tang Dynasty 2000 years ago. Various styles and cultivars have been developed over this expansive period of time, and many are surrounded in myth and lore. The production of many green teas actually take place around the world, often far from the teas origin. However, there are many teas that are best produced in a specific region with a certain terroir and using the ancestral processing style.

Zhejiang – This province in Eastern China grows many of the most well known teas in China: Longjing, Gunpowder, Anji Bai Cha, and many others.

Anhui The Yellow Mountains or Huangshan produces some of the most notable green teas: Mao Feng, Tai Pin Hou Kui, and Liu An Gua Pian.

Shizuoka – The largest tea producing region in Japan. It accounts for about 40% of production, primarily in the form of heavily steamed Sencha.

Kagoshima – The second largest tea production region in Japan accounts for about 20% of production. It produces the greatest variety of tea types in the country.

Benefits of Green Tea

Unlike black tea, green tea is not oxidized.  To preserve the green color of the leaf, producers heat green tea after harvest in a process called “kill green.”  Chinese teas a typically pan-fired, while Japanese teas are usually steamed for this result.  Since it is not oxidized, green tea does not develop theaflavin like black tea.  However, green tea does maintain higher concentrations of other components that have potential benefits.  Some of the compounds of interest present in green tea are catechins, Rutin, and chlorophyll. 

Benefits of Green Tea: Catechins

Catechins are flavonoids that play an antioxidant role in plants.  Of the four main catechins present in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (aka EGCG) is most associated with wellness.  EGCG is most active in green tea, and has powerful antioxidant properties.  This makes Camellia sinensis a common ingredient in food and drink, but also cosmetics and skin care.  There’s a good chance that green tea extract is one of the components in your daily routine!  Rutin is a flavonoid also found in citrus leaves, olives, and buckwheat.  It is under clinical research for potential cardiovascular benefits.

Benefits of Green Tea: Matcha

Matcha, a powdered green tea from Japan, will have much higher concentrations of these compounds.  While tea leaves are usually steeped and discarded, one consumes the entire leaf when drinking matcha.  This means more caffeine!  Many coffee drinkers switch over to matcha to get their early morning boost of energy.  The L-theanine in tea also boosts cognitive function without the jitters of caffeine.  In the U.S. matcha is most often enjoyed as a hot or cold latte, mixed with foamed milk and sweetener.  It is a key option for any café menu, and a must have for boba tea!  It also adds a wonderful green tea flavor to baked goods and desserts.

Green Tea Processing

Most green tea will follow the same basic processing steps, but there will be some variation depending on the region and type of tea being produced.


Plucking or picking will generally occur in early spring. The first flush or budding is typically the most delicate and expensive. These fresh young buds and 1-2 leaves are what produces the highest quality teas, but there are some styles that use older leaves and no buds.

Green tea being mechanically harvested in Japan


Withering is a partial drying of the tea which softens the leaves. For green tea it is very brief, only lasting a few hours in the shade. The leaves must then be very carefully collected to avoid any bruising or maceration which would cause release of enzymes and oxidation.

Sha Qing – Kill Green

Green teas are oxidized as little as possible, but there is no way to completely prevent oxidation from the point the leaves are picked. In order to destroy the enzymes that cause oxidation, the tea is heated and dried just after withering. This step is Sha Qing or Kill Green. The most common methods of kill green in China are pan heating in a wok or baking. In Japan steaming is most prevalent. Asamushi, Chomushi, and Fukamushi are the steaming levels from light to heavy steaming.

Green Tea being steamed for Sha Qing


The shaping is generally part of the Sha Qing step. The Sha Qing method will traditionally inform the shape. Pressing and turning back and forth will produce flat leaves, while spiral shaped teas are rolled continuously. The tea may also be needle, string, pointed, or bead-shaped. Shaping the tea is responsible for releasing aromatic oils responsible for flavor.


This step stabilizes the aromatic oils and prevents oxidation or the growth of mold. The drying step involves hot air or low heat coal fires.

Green Tea Brewing

Brewing green tea is less forgiving than black or herbal teas. Using standard western brewing methods like tea infusers, bags, and pots, it needs to be done at a lower temperature (175°F) for shorter periods of time (1-3 minutes) to achieve optimal extraction.

Sencha is brewed very quickly in Japan ~1 min

Grandpa style is the most common method for brewing green tea in China. Brewing this way allows for the consumer to view the leaves and cup liquor more clearly. The tea is brewed in a large clear mug or cup, and as one consumes the tea, more water is added to dilute the astringency.

What you will need:
Large Glass Vessel
0.25g/fl oz loose leaf tea
Water at 175°F

1. Add tea to glass
2. Add hot water and stir
3. Drink tea and admire leaf grade and cup liquor
4. When the tea becomes too astringent or intense, add more water

Shop Royal New York Green Tea

At Royal Tea New York we stock a green tea for every palate! Here are some of our favorite pure green teas, as well as our top selling green tea blends!


Royal Tea New York carries culinary matcha, as well as organic matcha and ceremonial matcha. For a matcha latte, mix 2g of matcha with a small amount of 160 – 175 F water. Whisk until smooth, then pour over your milk and sweetener of your choice. Matcha pairs well with many flavors. Create a signature drink by adding rose, mint, white, chocolate, vanilla, or fruit purees!

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Shop RNY Ceremonial Matcha

Organic Sencha

An excellent every day green tea from Japan. Sencha has a robust vegetal flavor, also featuring lighter notes of grain and pine.

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Organic Mao Feng

A favorite in our offering, Organic Mao Feng is both elevated and approachable. It’s mellow, sweet, and buttery. Both experienced and brand new green tea drinkers will love this option. Also available in sachets for quick service!

Shop RNY Organic Mao Feng

Shop RNY Organic Mao Feng Sachets

Moroccan Mint

This is a classic blend of vegetal and slightly smoky gunpowder green tea from China with peppermint and spearmint. However you like it, hot or cold, this tea is excellent both hot and cold. The mint is also super refreshing in the summer!

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Shop RNY Moroccan Mint Sachets