Looking for a sweet tasting unsweetened green tea
August 10, 2019 4:21 PM   Subscribe

I’ve been to restaurants where I was served green tea that had a vaguely sweet taste, without any sweetener added. I’m trying to find some online but am primarily getting Southern style sweet tea results, not at all what I want. Can you recommend a brand, style, or favorite blend? I prefer less astringency if possible, and greatly enjoy jasmine teas.
posted by gilsonal to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tea that has twigs in it in addition to the leaves of the plant is naturally sweet. Kukicha is a type of Japanese tea made of roasted tea twigs and can range from nutty (if it's roasted) to quite green tasting (if it's not roasted), always a bit sweet from the twigs. This Vietnamese jasmine green tea also has twigs in it and is quite sweet and floral compared to the kind of jasmine tea commonly served in Chinese restaurants in the US.
posted by asphericalcow at 4:41 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Some Japanese green teas seem quite sweet and grassy in flavour to me. This website has a useful-looking flavour profile guide for the different kinds. I tend to find blends of sencha and matcha taste particularly fresh and delicious.

You might also, as per this website, be noticing a difference in how different places prepare the tea - the temperature of the water, or how long the tea is left to brew. Maybe worth some experimentation at home?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:12 PM on August 10


Since regional factors have been brought up, I should mention my experiences were in Vancouver Canada. If I remember correctly one was at a Korean restaurant, the second a “Hong Kong” style restaurant.
posted by gilsonal at 5:26 PM on August 10


Could it have been a sweet aftertaste, a characteristic sought after in oolongs?
posted by batter_my_heart at 5:40 PM on August 10


A maybe on the aftertaste, it did definitely finish sweeter than at first.
posted by gilsonal at 7:16 PM on August 10


OP, not sure if you're still Lansing based, but if so you might try stopping by Tea Haus next time you're in Ann Arbor. I'm actually from Ann Arbor, but didn't know them until just recently while living in Japan and helping translate for some tea farms who are setting up distribution with them. But they have already been over here to visit the farms, and seem to know their stuff and stock a wide variety.

Also, regarding brewing temperature, I was just translating a speech for a tea brewing workshop this week and the instructor says 80C (175F) is best for brewing green tea, hotter makes it more bitter, and you can cool down boiling water by pouring it back and forth between cups until it's hot, but not unbearable, to the touch.
posted by p3t3 at 7:19 PM on August 10


Maybe try hojicha or genmaicha. Those brown roasted flavors taste sweet to many people.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:18 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Not a straight green tea but fits the request for any sweeter flavored green tea without sweetener added, smooth and more on the floral side because of the fruit flavors: Tetley Super Green Tea Metabolism (Tropical). It tastes sweeter because of the fruit flavors but in my opinion it isn't overly fruity. Really a pleasure to drink.
posted by belau at 8:52 PM on August 10


I've had Japanese sakura tea, made with a mix of tea leaves and cherry blossoms (or maybe just some cherry flavor added) which might be considered to have a sweet taste. Don't have any brands to suggest, however.
posted by Rash at 9:21 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


If you're into herbal teas, green rooibos. It's not technically tea, so it doesn't get the bitter tannins and remains a bit smoother and sweeter on its own.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:55 PM on August 10


I find genmaicha slightly sweet compared to other green teas. There's also a stronger smokey tone, which seems different from what you've described.

I often use a few chips of liquorice root to sweeten teas. Not overwhelming a subtle green tea might be tough, but it's worth a try.

Do come back and it us know what you find.
posted by eotvos at 2:04 AM on August 11


I'm not sure if this is what you had, but I think you would like Good Earth's Matcha Maker. It has licorice root which adds a light natural sweetness (so even if this isn't the right tea, I bet licorice root is the ingredient that you're looking for).
posted by Empidonax at 9:19 AM on August 11


Was it served hot or cold? Did it taste floral?

Occasionally Hong Kong restaurants serve chrysanthemum tea with big chunks of rock sugar in it; because of how the sugar dissolves it gets sweeter as you drink more of it when it's served hot. Even without the sugar it's a little bit sweet, very floral, and not astringent.

Korean restaurants often serve chilled barley tea, which is a little bit sweet and very easy drinking.

Neither chrysanthemum nor barley tea typically have any actual tea leaves in them.
posted by asphericalcow at 10:44 AM on August 11


Not green tea but milk oolong is amazingly sweet.
posted by Jesse the K at 2:11 PM on August 11


I am drinking a peach green tea right now that is really good. It is from Japan but if you're in Vancouver you might be able to find locally. This is the tea I think. Also, you can go to any David's Tea and they will let you try different varieties, they have lots of fruity teas.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:32 PM on August 11


My go-to tea is Republic of Tea's Honey Ginseng Green Tea. It comes across as slightly sweet to me without adding sweetner. I use it in my morning smoothies and sometimes throw a bag in my water bottle for a cold-brewed tea taste. About $10 for 50 bags, so not too expensive.
posted by cross_impact at 11:18 AM on August 12


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