The Ultimate Guide to Green Tea with All You Need to Know

In this blog we’ll show you the characteristics of green tea, its main types, properties, history, main exporters and importers, how it is cultivated and some products made from this plant. Don’t miss it!  

What is green tea and what are its characteristics?     

Scientific nameCamellia sinensis
Common nameGreen tea
Place of originJapan, China e India
HabitatTropical regions. Well-drained soils and neutral or acidic substrates.
DistributionAsia and Europe

Characteristics of green tea 

Green tea, like all teas, comes from the plant Camellia sinensis. Unlike black tea, this tea’s leaves have not been fermented. Given the different processing, Camellia sinensis leaves are more likely to be used for green tea than for the assamica variety which is preferred because its more tender, smaller-leafed variety is better suited (green tea). Green tea is different from black tea, among other things, in its preparation, taste, ingredients, and infusion effects. Its secret, then, lies in its production and processing.

The assamica variety is a tea variety grown in the northeast Indian area of the same name. Black Assam teas are characterized by a strong, mostly malty, honey-like flavor.

The green tea leaves are picked from the bush strictly following the “two leaves and one bud” rule, i.e. only the two upper, tender leaf buds. This plant is a long-lived shrub with many branches that grow up to 10 m tall.

Types of green tea 

Overall, there are 30 types or varieties of green tea:

  1. Matcha tea
  2. Sencha tea
  3. Assam tea
  4. Gyokuro
  5. Bancha
  6. Hui Ming Tea
  7. Long Ding Tea
  8. Hua Ding Tea
  9. Qing Ding Tea
  10. Gunpowder Tea
  11. Yu Lu Tea
  12. Mao Jian or Xin Yang Mao Jian Tea
  13. Bi Luo Chun Tea
  14. Rain Flower Tea or Rain Flower Tea
  15. Chun Mee Tea
  16. Gou Gu Nao Tea
  17. Yun Wu Tea
  18. Da Fang Tea
  19. Huangshan Mao Feng Tea
  20. Lu An Guapian Tea
  21. Hou Kui Tea
  22. Tun Lu Tea
  23. Huo Qing Tea
  24. Hyson Tea
  25. Hojicha Tea
  26. Kukicha Tea
  27. Tamaryokucha Tea
  28. Ceylon Tea or Ceylon Green Tea
  29. Darjeeling green tea or Darjeeling tea
  30. Vietnam green tea or Vietnam tea

Today we focus on the first 5 types as they are the main ones.

Matcha tea 

This is powdered green tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Its color is deep green and has a delicious sweet taste, which is slightly sour when picked ripe. This tea contains catechins, carotenes, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.

Green tea for Matcha is harvested from tea bushes, which are usually kept in the shade four weeks before harvest. This produces delicate, dark green leaves.  After harvesting, the tea leaves are steamed, dried and, after removing all the coarse leaf cups, ground in stone mills to a fine powder. Matcha is considered a particularly noble type of tea and is therefore expensive. The tea should be hermetically sealed and stored in a cool, dry place.

The preparation of Matcha was probably developed in China in the 6th century. As is the custom in traditional East Asian medicine, the tea leaves were dried as a medicinal plant and ground to a fine powder. This medicine was traditionally produced and consumed in Buddhist monasteries. From this tradition, the early tea ritual of Zen or Chan Buddhists developed.

While matcha went into oblivion in China, in Japan it became cultivated under Buddhism. The Japanese tea ceremony developed under the great Japanese tea master Sen no Rikyu in the 16th century. Sen no Rikyu explained how to prepare and drink matcha properly in his poems Tea Way.

Matcha tea
By Koumei Matcha – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Sencha tea 

Sencha tea is a type of green tea. Unlike black tea, it is not left to ferment. To avoid fermentation, the tea leaves are heated in hot steam after they have withered. In countries outside Japan, this is also done in a large frying pan called a wok. The name Sencha tea derives from Japanese: “sen” means “to steam”, and “cha” means “tea”. Sencha tea is one of the youngest types of tea. It is mostly grown in Shizuoka, Kagoshima and Mie provinces. In Shizuoka, Japan’s main Honshu island, between the famous sacred Mount Fuji and the Pacific coast, about 40% of Japan’s tea is grown (mainly in Sencha). The excellent Sencha tea is also grown in the Uji region, south of the city of Kyoto. Although the tea-growing area is small, it is known for its extremely fine qualities.

As is the case of green tea, Sencha tea has a slightly lower caffeine content than espresso at about 60 mg/cup. People who are sensitive to caffeine should avoid consuming Sencha tea in the evening and instead brew herbal or fruit teas later in the day.

In addition to the stimulating effect, Sencha tea is said to have many other positive effects. Sencha tea, like other types of green tea, is known to have a particularly high amount of bittering substances and antioxidants due to intense exposure to the sun. These are said to stimulate cell renewal and thus possibly slow down the aging process.

By Rama – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr,

Assam tea 

Assam tea leaves are very prolific and relatively unresponsive to hard water. They are rarely offered as green teas.

In 1823, wild tea bushes were discovered in Assam and a Scottish traveler observed members of the Singpho people brewing tea using these bushes’ leaves. This was of particular interest because until then tea had been assumed to be grown only in China or Japan. In the early 1830s, the Calcutta Botanical Garden validated that it was a subspecies of the tea bush Camellia sinensis, found in China. Consequently, tea gardeners and tea seeds were brought to Assam from China. Eventually, it was discovered that crossing Chinese and wild native tea bushes gave the best yields. Today, Assam is the largest tea-growing region in the world. Assam teas are the main component of the East Frisian blends; a special, strong tea blend from East Frisia (Lower Saxony region in the far northwest of Germany). It consists of several types of black tea blended together, especially Assam tea but also Sri Lankan and African varieties, as well as varieties from Java, Sumatra and Darjeeling.

Assam tea
By © (, Photographer André Helbig (, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Gyokuro is characterized by an intense aroma and unique taste.

Gyokuro triggers our fifth little-known sense of taste: umami. Umami is what we recognize in particular foods that are rich in protein. Gyokuro has abundant flavor combined with a mild sweetness. It is one of the highest-quality teas in Japan. This tea is also called shadow tea.

Its fruity aroma increases gradually; to fully enjoy it, it must be prepared properly. The ingredients of Gyokuro tea are excellent for our health. Due to the little sunlight it receives, more amino acids, especially L-theanine, remain in the tea. L-theanine is hardly found in other foods and has a calming and anti-stress effect. This green tea also contains a lot of chlorophyll, caffeine and other valuable minerals.

Tea has a health-promoting effect on general well-being, metabolism, kidney functions, concentration and memory, the cardiovascular system and intestinal functions. It is recommended to drink Gyokuro, especially in the morning, before meditation and strenuous activities.

Gyokuro tea
By Rama – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr,


Bancha is a type of Japanese green tea. Bancha 番茶 means something like “ordinary tea”. In fact, Bancha is a rather simple tea. But simple can also be good! Where other green teas push you up, Bancha stops you. The tea has a calming and quite relaxing character. Of course, the tea also has caffeine, but much less than other green teas such as Gyokuro or Sencha.

Bancha tea is grown in the Kagoshima region located on the southern side of the Kyushu region. Bancha is harvested in late spring and early summer. Teas from this season are significantly milder and more digestible than Japanese teas from the spring harvest.

To protect themselves from insects, the tender tea leaves produce caffeine so they don’t end up as a tea leaf snack. The slightly older and thicker leaves of the tea plant are no longer an easy target for insects. Therefore, Bancha has little caffeine and is only mildly stimulating.

Bancha is a soft and refreshing tea, which is quite good for the body. Many green teas are quickly stimulating and there are also suitable moments for that, but sometimes you just want to relax and have a cup of tea: Bancha is perfect for that!

Properties and benefits of green tea 

Green tea’s nutritional profile 

Take a look at the nutritional table of green tea per 100g, taken from Vegaffinity.

CompositionQuantity (gr)CDR(%)
MineralsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
VitaminsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
Vitamin A00%
Vitamin B10.032.5%
Vitamin B20.9573.1%
Vitamin B30.10%
Vitamin B1200%
Vitamin C00%

5 properties of green tea that you have to take advantage of 

Benefits for the skin 

Even though many of its health benefits have not yet been scientifically proven, green tea is good for many people because, in addition to its benefits for health, it also has many beneficial properties for the skin.

The anti-inflammatory effect of green tea is particularly effective when used externally. A positive impact on inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema and rosacea can be noted. The ingredients found in green tea can improve inflammation, reduce irritation and redness, and help the skin repair itself.

Acne remedy 

According to a study, consuming green tea may help reduce acne. The antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) in green tea is said to be the reason for this, renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, its high tannic acid content is excellent for skin swelling and inflammation. That is why green tea is highly recommended against acne.

Benefits for the hair 

Green tea, which contains caffeine and antioxidants, is particularly valued for its cleansing and restorative properties. Green tea even makes hair shine. Its components make hair stronger, stimulate hair growth, act effectively against itchy scalp and reduce dandruff significantly.

Acts against sunburn 

Green tea also helps against sunburn. The soothing tannins and polyphenols in the skin reduce irritation and make red spots disappear. To do this, simply soak a cloth in cooled green tea and place it on your skin. After 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll feel much better.

It is anti-aging 

Its antioxidant, reparative and anti-inflammatory properties protect your skin from premature aging and wrinkles. Above all, it has been observed to have a preventive and smoothing effect on the skin; pre-existing wrinkles could be reduced in many cases. When used, the skin complexion appeared generally smoother, younger, and firmer thanks to the active ingredients contained in green tea. Better skin hydration has also been observed.

History and origin of green tea 

In the early Kamakura period (1191), Eisai (1141-1215), the founder of Rinzai Zen, returned from China to Japan and introduced the Sung style of brewing and drinking ground tea, matcha. Matcha is called Tencha before being ground. Eisai also brought seeds of the tea plant and gave them to his well-educated monk Myoe and commissioned him to plant them in his temple. The name of his temple was Kozanji and it was located in the Toganoo region northwest of Kyoto. Subsequently, Eisai ‘Kissa Yojo Ki’ wrote a book on the virtue of tea and its cultivation. Tencha became the basis of green tea culture in Japan, which has evolved to the present day. At the same time, in China, due to a Mongol invasion, the consumption of ground green tea ended with violent turbulence.

Creation of Uji tea 

The monk Myoe began to cultivate tea in Toganoo, but also looked for an area with a better-suited climate. He finally chose the misty place of Uji. Soon the fame of Uji tea spread and from that time, it became known as the best tea-growing area in the country. Uji is the home of Marukyu-Koyamaen.

The shogun (army commander) Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) may have been the one who tasked some of his generals to create the so-called Ujirokuen, six tea gardens in Uji. He had the famous golden pavilion “Kinkakuji” (1397) erected.

Matcha and Tea Ceremony 

In the Muromachi period (1392-1568), the tea ceremony (Cha-no-yu) took a new direction under the influence of tea masters Murata Shuko (1423-1502) and Takeno Joo (1502-1555) who introduced the “tea house” and Japanese paraphernalia and made tea drinking very popular in a short time.

In the following Momoyama period (1568-1615), the mature aesthetic sense of Sen Rikyu(1522-1591)determined the style of tea, which became Cha-no-yu or “way of tea” Chado and became known in the West when the so-called “Tea Ceremony” was made known. Around this time, the technique of shading young tea buds was developed and the quality of tea was continuously improved through careful processes. Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) supported the Uji tea growers, who continued the shoguns of the Tokugawa period. Every year they organized the ‘Chasubo-Dochu’ teapot parade. Thus, Uji tea was continuously supported and promoted by the rulers of the country in the spirit of the ‘Chanoyu’ tea way.

Global green tea industry 

Meet the top exporters and importers of green tea in the world.   

Top exporters of green tea in the world in 2020

In the following graph, you can see the 10 countries that exported more green tea for the year 2020 according to FAO. It also contains information on the monetary volume of exports of these countries, specifically in U.S. dollars in the year 2020. Let’s see what they are:

Top importers of green tea in the world in 2020

Find the top importers of green tea in 202 according to FAO in the following chart. Also, see the information on the monetary volume of imports from these countries, specifically in U.S. dollars in the year 2020. Let’s see what they are:

How is green tea cultivated? 

There are several requirements to be met in order to cultivate this plant. Next, we show you which they are:


The soil has to be slightly acidic and, above all, free of calcium since Camellia Sinensis cannot tolerate this mineral. Caution is needed; the crops must be lightly covered, creating an aerated substrate, and the soil must always be kept slightly moist in order to recreate the tropical environment in which they grow naturally.


It must be considered that the tea plant is cultivated mainly in tropical and subtropical climate zones. For successful cultivation, in fact, it is essential to analyze the rainfall rate; the territories where the largest tea plantations are usually located receive over 2 meters of rainfall per year. In addition, the tea plant thrives in luminous conditions. Sun and humidity are therefore the first essential elements to start growing your Camellia sinensis seedlings.

The ideal temperature for growing green tea ranges from 10°C to 30°C. If, on the contrary, temperatures drop below -5°C, there is a risk that the plant dies.

Green tea planting method 


First of all, having very fresh seeds is essential: tea seeds lose their ability to germinate very rapidly. Tea seeds (camellia Sinensis) are spherical and should be soaked for about 2-3 days; however, this doesn’t mean watering until the seeds float in the water. Indeed, they must be thrown away if they reach the surface. After this time, it is necessary to crack the seeds slightly, with the help of a hammer and sow them immediately in suitable soil.


At a temperature of about 20°C-25°C, the seeds will germinate in 2 to 4 weeks. In this way, you will have cuttings that, in a sunny and warm environment, will grow fast enough to be pruned after about 6 months. Moreover, by pruning regularly, you can obtain a beautiful leafy plant, which will therefore bear many leaves ensuring satisfactory tea production. To be fair, it must be said that the quality of tea produced at home will not be comparable to that of tea grown in tropical areas, but the satisfaction of making it yourself is priceless! Camellia Sinensis is a long-lasting leaf plant and, as such, can be planted at any time of the year; however, the best time for planting is the end of winter.

Tips for keeping green tea healthy 

The green tea plant needs a lot of light, though it is preferable not to put it under direct sunlight, especially during the hottest months and the hottest hours of the day. In summer, therefore, it is advisable to keep the plant outside, in the garden or on the balcony, taking care to water it frequently and abundantly. In winter, however, it will be necessary to keep it indoors, placing it near a window through which it can have the light it needs. However, in winter, precisely because the plant cannot receive the amount of sunlight it needs, the Camellia Sinensis may lose some leaves, which, thanks to Mother Nature, will grow luxuriantly again with the arrival of spring.

Green tea harvesting 

This plant has different harvest cycles depending on the variety. The tea plant itself is a long-lasting leaf plant but in spring it bears tender buds. This is what tea growers are particularly looking for because the buds produce the so-called Shincha (meaning “new tea”) and mark the beginning of the new tea year. The buds are harvested at the end of April and are sold out within a few weeks despite the high price since Shincha is considered particularly tasty and healthy.

Sencha (“steamed tea”), characterized by a mild, grassy taste, is also harvested in spring – after shincha. It is considered the daily green tea in Japan and is the most popular due to its mild taste and lower price compared to the common varieties. Of course, there are also expensive Sencha varieties, but in general, it is less complicated to grow and therefore more affordable.

In spring, some tea plants are covered with large canvases as they need shade to form the distinctive features of some varieties. These include, for example, Matcha or Gyokuro (“round dewdrop tea”): a particularly fine green tea. The tea plant only develops more chlorophyll when it is in the shade, giving Matcha and Gyokuro their intense green color and typical flavor.

In summer, green tea is picked in the form of bancha (“common tea”): once in June and once in July. This is called Ni-Bancha, the second harvest of the year. The middle part of the tea plant, the strongest leaves and stems, as well as the newest shoots are harvested. The final harvest generally follows in the autumn before the tea plant is ready for the winter. Fresh Bancha is the second most popular green tea in Japan, it has relatively little caffeine, but many trace elements and tannins. Before preparing the tea plant for winter, the third annual harvest takes place in August (San-Bancha) and an autumn harvest (Aki-Bancha) in October. Both produce cheaper bancha teas.

Green tea post-harvest 

After harvesting, the tea leaves need special processing, varying according to the obtained tea. In the case of green tea, the freshly cut leaves must be left to dry in the sun and then treated under special precautions that inhibit fermentation. The leaves, therefore, keep their green color unchanged and transmit it to the infusion, hence the name green tea. Made with your own hands, it gives you the certainty of having a better tea than the one you could buy in sachets, and above all, free of pesticides and other harmful substances that are usually used in large crops.

Uses and products made from green tea 

Green tea is commonly used in beverages so it is usually consumed this way. However, other industrial products are made from this plant as well, so it can be said that it is used fresh or processed. Some products made from green tea have also been launched in the market, such as the ones we’ll show you below.

Industrial products made from green tea 

Cold Brew Prickly Pear Natural – Green Tea 

It is an infusion of green tea with flowers and pieces of fruit, naturally flavored for cold brewing. These new cold teas are simply poured with cold water and that’s it! Prickly pear flavored, now cold, fast, and convenient. Perfect at home, for sports, or on the go. Preservative-free and vegan.

In need of a boost? This green tea will awaken you and refresh you with its sweet and sour taste. In order for you to enjoy the cold-brewed tea, it undergoes a germ-reduction process during production. The aromas of this tea are present even in cold infusions, so the volatile components are better preserved than in hot water infusions. This results in a different taste experience than hot tea infusion.

Sweet mango green tea 

This tea is brewed based on the popular and best-selling “Mango and Friends” tea.

A fruity flavor can be experienced as soon as this tea is poured. In combination with safflower and marigold flowers, the green tea unfolds its slightly acidic flavor nuances in perfect proportion to the fruity and fresh aroma of pineapple, mango, orange, mandarin oranges, and strawberries – a sweet and exotic delight!

Caramel orange green tea 

This green tea has orange and caramel bits, flavored with orange-caramel flavor. It is so sweet and harmonious; it sounds like passion, intimacy and love, doesn’t it? – Its full-bodied flavor and fruity character ensure a moment of passion – especially if you enjoy it cold or iced!

Emperor’s dragon flower – Green tea with flowers and fruit pieces 

This is a naturally flavored tea with flowers, fruit pieces, and a mild peach and papaya finish. As soon as you pour it in, this blend will spoil you with its floral and fruity aroma. The flavor remains incredibly delicate and naughty when the fine green tea meets the summery aromas of peach and papaya. Enjoy a moment of Chinese peace and serenity.

OstroVit VEGE Green Tea 

OstroVit VEGE Green Tea is a dietary supplement in vegan capsules suitable for people who are interested in the origin of a particular ingredient. Created not only for vegetarians and vegans but especially for people who want to add very important polyphenols, which are obtained from green tea extract to their meals.


Green tea is such an important plant and is widely consumed for its many benefits, including the fact that it is an all-natural beverage and for the variety of uses it has. We hope that this blog has given you the opportunity to learn more about green tea and that you don’t hesitate to consume it in all its presentations to enjoy its benefits firsthand.