With one in eight Brits now drinking Green Tea on a weekly basis, this on-trend but traditional blend is back on the menus of cafés, restaurants and bars around the country, driving sales that grew by 19% in 2013, according to Kantar World Panel.
This will come as no surprise to those familiar with the history of the tea. Legend has it that the Chinese emperor, Shennong was tending a caldron of water while tea leaves floated into the pot. These brewed to a drink that the emperor found delicious and invigorating. He shared it with his court, which was filled with a buzz, having enjoyed the world’s first caffeinated beverage.
Up until the eighteenth century, Green Tea was in fact the main blend consumed in Great Britain, although it remained the preserve of the upper echelons due to its high price tag. Black teas then came to the fore once it was discovered they kept their flavour better when transported on ships that could be at sea for more than a year.
Green Tea is less oxidised than Black Tea, making it more delicate. Both come from the same plant – Camellia Sinensis – but Green Tea is heated after being only partially withered, preventing it from fermenting, which would turn it black. Processing the tea leaves in this way gives it a smooth, mellow and slightly smoky taste.
Tetley blenders opt for a mix of African and Asian leaves, which eliminates the slightly bitter taste found in low quality blends. In addition to its pure Green Tea, Tetley has also created Green Tea with Lemon for the foodservice market, so operators can give their offer a refreshing point of difference.
Thanks to speedier travel and better storage conditions, Green Tea is now firmly back on hot beverage menus. Operators can make the most of their offer by serving it in Asian-inspired teaware. Traditionally, Green Tea was served in a black pot, highlighting the white foam that would form on the drink. Delicate glassware is now fashionable in the West as it shows off the beautiful shades of the tea, creating a premium, modern feel. When serving in pots, giving customers a tea timer helps them to know how long the tea has already been brewing, allowing them to remove the tea bag according to taste.
To optimise serving, operators can also create links between their tea and food menu, upselling their products. Lee Maycock, vice chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs, suggests pairing Green Tea with a fresh and light dish such as Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. It also suits sharp, citrusy dessert like Lemongrass Ice Cream, which complements its refreshing qualities. According to Lee, Green Tea with Lemon goes best with tangy and full flavoured foods like Smoked Chicken and Mango Salsa Flatbread or a Mediterranean Tuna Wrap.
Creative operators are using it as an ingredient too. Japanese Green Tea Cake and Lime and Green Tea Chocolate Truffles are surprisingly achievable additions to café menus, while Jason Atherton’s Lime-Cured Mackerel, Japanese Radish and Green Tea recipe is a more challenging but high-impact dish for restaurant chefs, fusing Asian and British cuisine.
Are you serving Green Tea? Tweet us @TetleyTeaOOH to tell us how.
In February, Tetley Tea Academy will also offer ten lucky followers who RT our sampling tweets a free box of Green Tea: make sure you’ve joined in the conversation!