If you’re looking to try something new or just want to stock up on the best green tea, check out our roundup below
If you’re looking to try a brew beyond your usual Earl Grey or breakfast tea, then look no further than our round-up of the best green tea. Originating in both China and Japan, green tea has steadily gained popularity in the UK in recent years, with various British companies debuting their own versions on supermarket shelves.
While many already love green tea for its herbaceous, earthy flavour, it can be hard for newcomers to find the right introduction to the drink. Low-quality or badly prepared green tea can have an unpleasant, bitter taste – miles away from the nutty, vegetal profile you should be getting. Beyond that, there are many forms green tea can take, as well as variations in taste and preparation method based on country and region.
Our handy buying guide simplifies all this, taking you through any questions you might have before diving into the world of green tea. Further down the page, you’ll find our best green tea list, complete with mini-reviews of each of our carefully selected picks.
Best green tea: At a glance
How to choose the best green tea for you
How is green tea different to black tea?
Black and green tea are actually made from the same plant. Their differences stem from where they’re grown, the way in which they’re processed and how they’re brewed.
Region: Black tea is primarily grown in India, China, Sri Lanka and Africa, whereas most green tea comes from China, Japan, Vietnam or Indonesia. While they are made from the same plant, green tea is made using a varietal more commonly found in southeast Asia, whereas black tea commonly uses one from India.
Processing: This is where the most significant difference comes into play. After harvesting, black tea is allowed to oxidise (i.e. come into contact with oxygen), which turns the naturally green leaves black and changes the flavour profile. Green tea is heated soon after harvesting to prevent oxidation, either being pan-fired (China) or steamed (Japan). This process preserves the leaves’ green colour and taste.
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Brewing: Black tea is usually made using boiling water and allowed to steep for three to five minutes. Most people’s unpleasant experiences with green tea come from trying to prepare it like black tea, which burns the more delicate green tea leaves. Green tea should usually be brewed with the water at 80°C, with some shade-grown varieties of Japanese green tea brewed at as low as 60°C, and steeped for 1-2 minutes.
What forms does green tea come in?
Green tea can be bought loose-leaf, in tea bags or as a powder. Across these different varieties, it can come in many flavours and be processed differently depending on where it was grown or manufactured. One common powdered form you might already be familiar with is matcha – which is shade-grown and made using specific parts of the tea plant before being ground into its powdered form using mill stones.
Is green tea healthy?
While it has a reputation for having many health-improving properties, clinical studies haven’t found any significant medical benefits to consuming green tea. It does, however, have a lower caffeine content than coffee, so it’s a viable option for those trying to cut down their caffeine intake. As well as that, it has a pleasant natural smell and taste and can be bought in less-processed, more organic forms than many mainstream teas.
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The best green tea to buy in 2024
1. Whittard Gyokuro Loose-leaf: Best premium green tea
Price when reviewed: £14 | Check price at Whittard
This luxury loose-leaf tea from historical tea-shop Whittard is best suited to general tea-lovers and green tea enthusiasts – with a pouch containing only highly quality Gyokuro tea leaves. A delicate shade-grown leaf, Gyokuro is considered by many to be the highest-grade variety of tea in its native Japan, standing head and shoulders above more standard varieties like sencha.
The leaves produce a deep coloured brew, with a smooth, almost creamy texture and a light, sweet flavour. Whittard likens the flavour to gently steamed peas topped with melted butter and suggests pairing a cup with a robust cheese such as Camembert.
One of the best reviewed products on Whittard’s site, this tea is available in a standard cardboard pouch, as well as in a stylish grey caddy, which is ideal for refilling or as an aesthetically pleasing addition to any kitchen countertop.
Key details – Size: 50g; Form: Loose-leaf; Variety: Gyokuro
2. Teapigs Mao Feng Green Tea: Best green tea bags
Price when reviewed: £11 | Check price at AmazonThis Mao Feng green tea from Teapigs is a great entry-point for those looking to try out green tea – it has a wonderful, deep flavour and is super simple to make. Teapigs have used highly-respected Mao Feng tea leaves to craft a strong brew with notes of peach and apricot.
Alongside high-quality leaves, Teapigs signature selling point is its “tea-temples” as it labels them, which are larger than standard tea bags allowing them to fit whole leaves and spices into the tea. These temples are designed to give you more the flavour and depth of loose-leaf tea, with the simplicity of a tea bag. The bags are also plastic-free and biodegradable, which is a big plus. One thing to note is that the larger leaves in this product will take a little longer to brew than a regular tea. Although they will, in turn, produce a more deep and satisfying flavour.
Key details – Size: 50pc ; Form: Tea bags Variety: Mao Feng
3. The Tea Makers of London Jasmine Green Tea: Best loose-leaf green tea
Price when reviwed: £9 | Check price at AmazonThe Teamakers of London is a family-run business based in England which places an emphasis on sourcing and variety. Founded by ex-Tea Planter Sam Sameen, the company has gone on to win several Great Taste awards in recent years – one being for its jasmine green tea.
This loose-leaf jasmine tea is a great-tasting, highly aromatic blend and one perfectly suited to green tea newbies. Its vegetal, yet subtly sweet flavour, is achieved by mixing green tea leaves with jasmine flowers, allowing them to absorb their perfume. It’s then gently baked several times to seal in the flavour. Teamakers suggest adding a dash of honey to the brew if you want to really relish its sweeter notes. The overall result is a delightfully refreshing and aromatic jasmine tea appreciable by aficionados and newcomers alike.
Key details – Size: 125g; Form: Loose-leaf; Variety: Jasmine
4. HeapWell Superfoods Matcha: Best everyday matcha powder
Price when reviewed: £6.79 | Check price at Amazon
This matcha powder from Heapwell Superfoods is a well-sourced tea product with a solid range of options when it comes to quality – it is available in culinary, ceremonial, and high-grade ceremonial varieties and Heapwell can trace its stone-ground matcha to tea growers in Kyoto and Nara, Japan.
People enjoy matcha for the complexity of its flavour and this product is a great example of that. It has the classic vegetal and nutty notes of green tea, as well as some mild bitterness. But what keeps people coming back is the strong umami finish – if you’re not familiar with umami, it describes a deep, savoury flavour note. Matcha powder is made using the same shade-grown tea leaves as Gyokuro tea and produces a drink with a smooth, silky mouthfeel.
If you’ve been curious about this bright green, foamy drink, this matcha powder is a great place to kick things off.
Key details – Size: 50g; Form: Powder; Variety: Matcha
5. OMGTea AAA+ Organic Matcha powder: Best luxury matcha powder
Price when reviewed: £31 | Check price at AmazonFor green tea aficionados, there’s nothing quite like a truly traditional, deeply-flavoured, luxurious cup of matcha. While it may be on the pricier side, this organic matcha powder from OMGTea is both shade-grown and carefully stone-ground using traditional methods, ensuring that it is of the highest quality.
Green tea lovers enjoy this matcha powder for its vivid green colour and classic aroma, as well as its well-balanced flavours. Sweet, floral, earthy and umami, this powder is a fine showcase of the complexity and enjoyable range of tastes that matcha has to offer. If you’d like to fully kit yourself out for matcha making, the OMGTea Gift Set bundles this powder with an engraved tea scoop and a traditional bamboo whisk, also known as a chasen.
Key details – Size: 30g; Form: Powder; Variety: Matcha
6. English Tea Shop Ceylon Green Tea: Best budget green tea
Price when reviewed: £1.81 | Check price at Amazon
With black tea’s popularity and widespread availability, it can sometimes be hard to find a high-quality green tea that fits into the same budget space as your usual cuppa. This box of 20 tea bags from the English Tea Shop is perhaps the best balance of price and quality that you’ll come across.
It’s made with Ceylon tea leaves from Sri Lanka and unlike other varieties, Ceylon is named for where its grown rather than the variety of tea plant used to make it. It can therefore describe a green, black or white tea. Ceylon green tea is strong and nutty, compared to its more subtle black and white counterparts.
These organic Ceylon tea bags come in fully compostable packaging – apart from the sachets, which are recyclable – and produce a solid, clean cup of green tea that is pleasant to drink at any time of the day.
Key details – Size: 20pc; Form: Tea bags; Variety: Green Ceylon
7. Clipper Decaf Green Tea Bags: Best decaf green tea
Price when reviewed: £2.48 | Check price at Amazon
Even though green tea is a good option for a lower-caffeine drink than coffee, some of us would rather avoid caffeine altogether, or would just like to enjoy green tea in the evening without the worry of a sleepless night. In these instances, a decaf green tea is a welcome addition to your tea press and this offering from Clipper is the best we’ve found.
We like Clipper for decaffeinated products because of its more natural decaffeination process. Clipper uses carbon dioxide and water to extract the caffeine from its green tea, which helps to prevent the loss of its pleasant, light flavour. This organic offering should satisfy any green tea lover who is trying to unwind and relax without the added jolt of caffeine.
Key details – Size: 80g; Form: Tea bags; Variety: Blend
8. Ito En Oi Oicha Green Tea: Best bottled green tea
Price when reviewed: £2.29 | Check price at Japan Centre
While we might usually associate green tea with a contemplative brewing process and a reflective sip by the window, bottled and canned green teas have actually become common and well-loved products.
Ito En’s Oi Oicha bottled green tea is something of a phenomenon in Japan – made using real tea leaves, it’s a reliable option for green tea on the go. It has a distinct green tea aroma and flavour, which other pre-packaged options tend to lack. Despite this, it still goes down easy, with a light, clean taste. It’s best served chilled or over ice and is a great option on days when it’s too hot to think about boiling the kettle for a standard cuppa.
Key details – Size: 500ml; Form: Liquid; Variety: Sencha