Unlike black and oolong teas, leaves destined to be green tea, once plucked, are not subject to bruising and the subsequent oxidation of the exposed plant sap. Thus the leaves tend to remain closer to their living green color. While green tea is not oxidized, it may still be withered, heated, fired, steamed, dried, chopped, or shaped depending on the type of tea desired, local traditions, and the objective of the maker. The green teas available today come in a wide range of hues, shapes, and flavor profiles.
It has become a commonplace of folk wisdom that green tea is low in caffeine and has a light flavor. While this is true for some greens, many green tea aficionados would disagree. Premium greens, properly prepared, can have as big a flavor and as much caffeine wallop as any blacks or oolongs. The fact is that most people have never tasted a good quality green correctly prepared. Certainly this is the only explanation for the stereotype of greens as tasting like water into which someone has tossed a few blades of grass.
Chinese green teas are most easily catalogued by their place of origin since many names reflect the town, county, or mountain from which the tea derives. The following includes only a very cursory list of a few of the hundreds of named green teas that come from China. The tea shopper will also see a few English names under which Chinese greens are sold, for example Young Hyson and Gunpowder. Such names may indicate more generic teas. For help with Chinese tea names, see Lew Perin's great dictionary of Chinese tea terms, Babelcarp.
Chinese Greens Listed Alphabetically
The full list of Chinese greens is too extensive to be included here. Please see this alphabetical listing of Chinese Greens, or navigate by province.