Throughout history, green tea has been the dominating tea. Tannic and umami, green tea is non-fermented and cherished for its seasonality and freshness. While commercial green teas are abundant, true-origin green teas remain the most treasured among Chinese teas.
Chinese green teas are processed with high heat to destroy the enzymes and facilitate the chemical exchange of compounds within tea leaves to synthesize flavors. Depending on the desired flavor outcome, there are many ways to heat and dry the leaves. Knowing the four sub-categories of green tea will help you easily identify and evaluate a tea!
Hong Qing (Baked): These are baked dry, giving the tea a umami and mellow quality. Famous Hong Qing green teas are Gua Pian and Mao Feng.
Shai Qing (Sun-Dried): Did you know that Pu Er Sheng Cha (Puerh) is technically a green tea? This surprises a lot of tea lovers! But it's true. This style of green tea uses natural sunshine to dry. This method gives us savory and floral notes in the final tea.
Zheng Qing (Steamed): Steam drying the tea in this sub-category gives us a mild and grassy profile in the final tea. A famous example would be Yu Lu.