If you are a tea enthusiast or just curious about green tea, in this post I unpack the best types of green tea that you should be drinking.
Green teas are packed with antioxidants that can help your body fight off infection by fight disease causing free radicals. However, not all green teas are created equal.
Before we get into the best types of green teas you should be drinking, there are few things we need to consider when to comes choosing the best type of green tea
Bottled green teas have a lower antioxidant content as compare those that are brewed. This is mainly due to the pressing process used when making bottled green tea.
Consumer Labs released a report whereby they compared the levels of catching and ECCG in several branded bottled green teas. They found great discrepancies with brands such as Diet Snapple Green Tea and Honest Tea’s Green tea content of catachins. None of brands contained nearly as much antioxidants as they had advertised. However, they all contained high amounts of sugar.
Another report was released by the Linus Ponting Institue based at Oregon State University regarding the polyphenol levels found in bottled green teas. They research results showed that the bottled green teas contained 10 -100 times less polyphenol than that of brewed green tea.
This is mainly due to the steeping process, which refers to the amount time the tea remains in contact with the water. Their research also attributed the actual amount of tea and also present on non-tea ingredients, such as sugar, to the lower levels of polyphenol in bottled green teas.
Freshly brewed tea has the most health benefits and should always the first choice wen it comes to picking a green tea.
The tea’s country of origin also plays a significant part when choosing the best green tea to drink. Where the tea originated from will, to some extent, determine the content of the tea. Some teas will contain heavy metals. In 2013, the Journal of Toxicology published a study which found that most teas contained heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and aluminium.
Teas from China, including organic and standard green teas, were seen to contain elevated levels of aluminium and lead. It would advisable to choose green tea from a country other than China. When it come this, teas originating from Japan and Sri Lanka are far better choices when choosing the best type of green tea.
Teas from Sri Lanka were seen to contain low levels of all 4 heavy metals whereas organic green teas from Japan contained only moderate levels. It is also advisable to brew the tea for the shortest possible time as brewing for longer will release greater amounts of heavy metals.
With all the world wanting to buy organically grown produce, it would be wise examine how this impacts our choice of the best type of green tea. Certified organic teas are from producers that do not use synthetic fertilizers, herbicides nor pesticides. However, it is interesting to note that The Journal of AOAC published study stating that none of the teas tested in US had higher levels than that of those in Japan or the European Union.
In either case the best types of green tea would tick the following checkboxes:
1. It should be freshly brewed (not bottled)
2. It should originate from Japan or Sri Lanka and
3. It should be organic.
So having gone through the foundation of what we are looking for in a green tea, let’s list some of the best green types you should be looking out for:
Matcha originates from Japan where it is a ceremonial green tea. It has some of the highest health benefits of all the green teas. It usually comes in powder form. It is added to hot water and stirred with a bamboo which to dissolve the powder. There are wonderful match green tea recipes available that include lattes, cookies and ice cream. The health benefits of Matcha Tea have been highly advertised in recent times
Bancha is the most consumed green eta in Japan. It is a low to moderately priced green tea and has stronger taste than that of it’s more expensive counterparts. It is one of the green teas that has the lowest caffeine content which makes it suitable for those that are sensitive to caffeine. Eventhough its caffeine content is low it retains polyphenols well
Gemmaicha is a branch of Bancha green tea. It is made by blending bancha green tea and toasted rice. Another subset of Bancha tea is Hojicha green tea which made by roasting green tea leaves. Both Genmaicha and Hojicha have a distibnctive nutty flavour
Sencha green tea has a more of a refined flavour due to it being made from smaller leaves than that of teas such Bancha. It has a naturally sweet taste. It is the preferred choice of tea for the Japanese when serving guests. It also has very high content of polyphenols.