Chinese green tea has an enviable reputation as a generally healthful and palatable drink. At some point, a tea sophisticate surely asks himself, which is the best green tea?
That is a perfectly natural question to be asked by anyone who seeks excellence in the different facets of his life. Tea drinking is a big part of some lives so it makes great sense to seek after the best green tea. The problem comes in narrowing down the huge variety of green drinking teas to just one and proclaiming it, “The Best.”
There are several types of tea—of which green drinking tea is one—as well as literally thousands of different blends of tea. The Chinese, who gave us tea, have an encyclopedic catalog of tea and tell us that there are 138 green tea varieties and more than 10,000 subcategories. Good luck tasting each one. If a person sipped a different variety, blend or subcategory of tea every day, it would take years to sample them all.
Chinese green tea is crafted individually by artisans or by commercial processors and each is unique in flavor, aroma, appearance, and so on. So which green tea is the best? One can only answer that subjectively. Different palates and sipping desires favor different teas. The best organic green tea is the one that brings a drinker the most pleasure, or that brings to his lips the combination of healthful properties that most benefits him.
That is not a weasel answer. Rather, it is a boast. Green tea is of such variety that individuals have many choices for a “best” tea. Furthermore, brewing techniques can alter the chemical composition of a tea and their impact on a human body—and bodies are so individual that teas will have somewhat different impacts. Experimentation is the true answer to finding the “best.”
Consider just a handful of Chinese green tea choices that illustrate the variety:
• Pi Lo Chun tea is grown around peach, apricot, and plum orchards in Zhejiang Province, the fragrances of which are absorbed by the tea. Fruity flavors can be delicious.
• Hou Kui tea grown in Anhui Province conveys to a sipper an orchid flavor, which is an appealing trait.
• Longjing is another Zhejiang Province favorite—including the Handmade Imperial Zhu Feng Longjing offered by online Chinese store Wild & Bare Co. (wildandbare.com) The tea exudes a chestnut aroma and has a thick sweet taste.
• Snowy Mountain Jian is grown in higher elevations of Yunnan Province and has a flavor similar to black teas—a good choice for sippers wanting black tea taste and green tea antioxidants.
So, green drinking tea is a wonderful habit for individualists wanting a steady diet of different taste experiences. Green tea can tease taste buds week after week. Most other drinks serve up pretty much the same flavor and aroma every time they are brewed or uncapped. While familiarity can be a good thing, bored taste buds do not a happy drinker make.