1/7 Jonathan Kantor
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, but the final aromas and tastes differ depending on where the leaves are grown and how theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re produced,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Mary Lou Heiss, coauthor of The Tea EnthusiastÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Handbook: A Guide to the WorldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Best Teas.
More surprising? In Asia, green tea is a common recipe ingredient, which is a greatÃ¢â‚¬”and sneaky!Ã¢â‚¬”way to incorporate this nutritional powerhouse into your diet. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a quick primer on six different varieties, plus ideas for how to cook with each.
*WHY GO GREEN?
Green tea doesn't oxidize (which is how black and oolong teas are made), so it contains more health-boosting antioxidants called catechinsÃ¢â‚¬”especially the cancer fighter epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). (Source: Lisa Boalt Richardson, author of Tea with a Twist: Entertaining & Cooking with Tea)
2/7 Jonathan Kantor
Leaves are ground into a fine powder, which you can whisk into water for tea. Since you consume the actual leaves, you get more antioxidants than from other green teas.
Flavor: Strong and grassy
Creative Use: Stir one teaspoon into a smoothie or dust it over vanilla ice cream or a bar of dark chocolate. The tea's earthiness is a pleasant contrast to the food's sweetness.
3/7 Jonathan Kantor
This yellowish-green flat leaf tea is one of the most popular drinking teas in China.
Flavor: Soft chestnut notes, toasty
Creative Use: Chop the tea leaves, combine with spices, and use them to coat chicken or steak before cooking.
4/7 Jonathan Kantor
This Chinese tea is pan-fired before being tightly rolled into small pellet shapes.
Flavor: Robust with a sweet finish
Creative Use: Substitute a cup of gunpowder tea for a cup of broth in vegetable-based soups. Throw steeped chopped leaves into soup while it simmers to add extra greens.
5/7 Jonathan Kantor
The most popular green tea in Japan, sencha leaves are steamed, producing a bright green color, then rolled into needle form.
Flavor: Mild and slightly sweet
Creative Use: After mixing the dough or batter for cookies, muffins, or scones, fold two tablespoons of dried sencha tea leaves directly into it, then bake as usual.
6/7 Jonathan Kantor
Called "twig tea," kukicha is derived from thinly cut stalks of sencha and gyokuro leaves.
Flavor: Light and smooth with roasted, woody notes
Creative Use: Add a few tablespoons to a marinade for fish or shellfish. Kukicha balances out sweeter varieties, like halibut or scallops.
7/7 Jonathan Kantor
It's made from leaves that are roasted until they're dark brown. Because it's picked at the end of the season and roasted at a higher heat than other teas, hojicha contains lower levels of caffeine.
Flavor: Roasted and nutty
Creative Use: Ladle a cup of steeped hojicha tea over a mixture of brown rice and roasted fall veggies, like squash. Garnish with a sprinkle of chestnuts.