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From its beginnings as a staple in ancient Chinese mythology, medicine, and agriculture, to its rich history as a ceremonial symbol of prosperity and respect, green tea is a fascinating beverage category that continues to evolve. Loaded with powerful antioxidants, essential nutrients, and anti-inflammatory polyphenols, green tea now has a prominent place in Western wellness, and it's praised for its many potent health benefits.
Although both green and black tea come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), the difference in color is the result of very different processing techniques and oxidation. Unlike black tea leaves, which are allowed to oxidize and ferment over time after being picked (but before drying), raw green tea leaves are harvested, withered, and then immediately heated through either steaming or roasting, a process that helps halt oxidation, so the leaves retain their natural green color.
Typically lower in caffeine than black tea, green tea has a fresh, more delicate flavor — and is, of course, verdant green in color. Although growing methods, timing of the leaves' harvest, and processing methods create many different varieties and styles of green tea, most green teas we drink here in the United States are still sourced from Asia.
Whether you're a green tea devotee or a newcomer, there are countless brands and varieties on the market — so many, in fact, that choosing the perfect blend can be a bit of a challenge. To help guide you toward freshly steeped bliss, we've rounded up the most highly rated, sustainably sourced, and best-tasting green tea varieties to help you reach your happy place.
Pukka Herbs makes a number of amazing organic teas, and one of the most delicious varieties is their potent new Clean Green blend. This fresh blend of organic green tea gets a citrusy lift from lemon essential oil, while nettle leaf, dandelion root, and lemon myrtle add cleansing and detoxifying properties.
Made with green tea leaves verified by the Non-GMO Project, and packaged in natural, unbleached satchels, this People's Green Tea from The Republic of Tea is a sustainable and delicious option.
Milder in taste than some other options on this list, we'd recommend this green tea for beginners or for those who love to add ingredients like a squeeze of lemon to their tea.
Whether you're replacing your afternoon cup of coffee or are simply looking for a straightforward and flavorful green tea, this Pure Green variety from Yogi is highly rated and beloved by both tea-drinking newbies and experts alike.
Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO-Project-Verified, Yogi's Pure Green Tea is made from a blend of leaves sourced from India, China, and Sri Lanka. The taste is light, smooth, and refreshing — making it an ideal choice for a morning cup of tea or a healthy afternoon pick-me-up.
$16.93 for pack of three
For a fuller-bodied, fragrant, and earthy green tea, look no further than Numi's Gunpowder Green Full Leaf Tea. Certified USDA Organic and fair-trade certified, we especially love that this eco-friendly brand uses non-GMO, biodegradable teabags.
Gunpowder green tea (also called pearl tea) is a form of Chinese tea in which each leaf has been gently steamed and then rolled into a small round pellet. Its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder, though it has nothing to do with taste. When steeped, these tea pearls unfurl beautifully, releasing a full-bodied flavor and aroma that reminds many reviewers of a mossy forest hike or fresh ocean seaweed.
This medium-caffeine tea is smooth, well-balanced, and (for lack of a better description) intensely green. Drink it during the afternoon to awaken your senses.
This light and citrusy green tea is perfect for those trying green tea for the first time or who are looking for a clean, less intense green tea to start their day.
A Connecticut-based fine tea brand, Harney & Sons participates in the 1% for the Planet program, which means that they directly donate 1% of total sales to environmental organizations through various nonprofits.
With an ingredient list consisting of green teas, marigold petals, and natural orange oil, Harney & Sons Citron Green Tea is a beautifully aromatic yet mellow green tea that turns an everyday cup of tea into a sensory ritual. Serve this citron green tea alongside brunch or when you have visitors over — we guarantee your guests will be asking for the name of this special blend.
Jasmine green tea is green tea that has been flavored with jasmine flowers, and it's another great choice for those just starting to drink green tea or who are looking for a flavorful and fragrant blend.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Steven Smith Teamakers blend their teas in small batches, and the brand has made a true science out of their precise and thoughtful ingredient pairings. Smith sources their teas and botanicals from growers, exporters, and tea brokers based in India, China, Sri Lanka, and Africa. This Jasmine Silver Tip tea is grown in the Fujian Province of China, and it goes through a lengthy production process that revolves around jasmine flowers' blooming season.
Clean, refreshing, and with a delicate yet mesmerizing floral aroma, Smith's No. 96 jasmine green variety makes for an uplifting cup of afternoon tea.
If you're not already enticed by the name of this sweet and lush green tea, we think you'll be hooked after your first sip. This tea gets its name from the ancient Chinese green tea known as wulu, or "Jade Cloud."
Certified USDA Organic and packaged in non-GMO, biodegradable sachets, Jade Cloud green tea leaves are hand-harvested from the high mountains of Hubei, China, in early spring when the leaves are most tender and sweet.
Even sweeter: Proceeds from this fair-trade certified green tea provides healthcare support, access to education, and other improvements to the livelihoods of tea-farming families in the same Chinese province in which it's harvested.
This tea has a full and grassy flavor, a deep aroma, and a rich body. Best for more seasoned green tea lovers who are accustomed to earthy and potent brews, Jade Cloud is a dreamy and savory green tea that we think tastes best first thing in the morning.
$22.80 for pack of six
These spring-harvested green tea tips are harvested from China and yield a rich, earthy flavor with slightly floral notes. This versatile tea works beautifully hot or iced, making it a great choice to keep in the cupboard year-round.
$22.46 for pack of six
Slightly spicy ginger and earthy green tea play quite nicely together in this organic blend from Traditional Medicinals. From anti-inflammatory properties to assisting in nausea and digestion, ginger root has a long list of health benefits.
Drinking a cup of ginger tea is an easy way to incorporate this superfood into your daily regimen, and we especially love this particular blend.
This Japanese-style Sencha Green tea from STASH has an herbaceous and slightly nutty flavor, and it's highly rated by former coffee drinkers as a refreshing breakfast tea to kickstart the day. If you prefer loose-leaf over tea sachets, STASH Tea makes a delicious option.