More of us than ever before are on a quest to improve our health. Whether it’s through diet, exercise, quitting smoking, or meditating more often, we’re all searching for a little more physical and mental peace.
This is just one reason why green tea has become one of the most popular drinks in the world.
This unique tea is known for its distinctive color, flavor, and nutritional profile. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to your morning coffee, green tea may be the answer!
Want to learn more about green tea? Stick with us to discover its benefits, what it tastes like, how to make it, and more.
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in Asia, and it’s famous for its unique health benefits and distinct taste. Green tea is a form of tea that’s been harvested and preserved much quicker than other forms of tea.
Green tea is made from entirely unoxidized leaves, and it’s one of the least processed forms of tea out there. This means it also contains far more antioxidants and polyphenols than other teas.
Although all teas come from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis), it’s the processing of the leaves that makes them different.
Green tea (see also: How To Make Green Tea)is thought to have originated in China, and it can be traced back to 2737 B.C.
It was discovered accidentally by the Chinese Emperor Shennong, when he accidentally drank water made with a boiled dead tea leaf.
From here on out, China, Japan, and the rest of Asia fell in love with Green Tea, and the rest of the world shortly followed.
The Benefits Of Drinking Green Tea
There’s so much to love about green tea, but arguably, one of its most impressive qualities is its health benefits.
One mug (approximately 8 fluid ounces) of green tea contains:
- 0 Calories
- 0 grams of Protein
- 0 grams of Fat
- 0 grams of Carbohydrates
- 0 grams of Fiber
- 0 grams of Sugar
Green tea also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, and potassium.
Although Green tea doesn’t pack as much of a punch as coffee, it still contains around a fourth of the amount you’d find in your traditional cup of joe, which is enough to keep you alert and powering through the day.
We know what you’re thinking – if green tea contains, well, almost nothing, how can it be so good for you?
Well, green tea is extremely rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that has led green tea to be used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries.
Here are some of the reported health benefits of drinking green tea:
May Reduce Cancer Risk
Populations that consume large amounts of green tea also have lower cancer rates. In 2020, one review found that when applied topically, polyphenol extracts from green tea could protect the skin from UVB radiation.
Additional animal and test tube studies have also reported positive impacts on certain cancers from green tea, including breast cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel and throat cancer.
May Help With Weight Loss
There’s also evidence to suggest that green tea may help with weight loss. One review found that the catechins found in green tea and caffeine may increase metabolism and kick-start weight loss.
Could Improve Heart Health
One study found that participants who drank at least five cups of green tea per day had a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Separate reviews have also found links between the polyphenols in green tea and reduced blood pressure and inflammation.
Other reported health benefits of green tea include:
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduced presence of inflammatory skin conditions
- Lower risk of strokes and diabetes
What Does Green Tea Taste Like?
The climate, processing techniques, and harvesting methods can all influence the taste of your green tea(see also: What Does Thai Tea Taste Like?).
If your green tea is high quality, it will have sweet, vegetal, buttery, floral, fruity, and even oceanic notes. If your green tea is steamed, it may have a bittersweet aftertaste.
How you brew your tea will also influence its flavor. However, most quality green teas have a blend between bitter and sour flavors and aromas, which some liken to apple blossom.
How To Make Green Tea
If you don’t like green tea, there’s a good chance you’ve never tried quality green tea, or you’ve been preparing it incorrectly.
To make the most of your green tea drinking experience, here are a few tips and tricks for you to follow:
- Don’t Use Boiling Water: Never use boiling water to brew your green tea. Although boiling water is fine for black tea, it can turn your green tea leaves bitter. Green tea should be brewed with water between 150-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Don’t Steep It For Too Long: Avoid steeping your green tea for too long, as this can make it extremely bitter. The infusion temperatures and times for green tea can vary, so check your packaging for more accurate instructions.
Although you might be tempted to add milk and sugar to your green tea, we wouldn’t advise it. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t taste as good as it does with black tea, (see also: What Does Chamomile Tea Taste Like?)and you’ll be negating some of its unique health benefits by doing so.
How To Pick The Best Green Tea
When you start shopping for green tea, you’ll soon find that you have plenty of options to choose from.
However, if you want the highest-quality green tea possible, we’d recommend avoiding the options available at your local grocery store, as these are often not fresh and heavily processed.
Instead, visit a reputable tea store or a high-end, healthy food store for fresher options. Quality green tea is an investment, but it’s definitely worth it!
The Bottom Line
Although green tea first rose to fame in Asia, the Western world has recently come to realize its power.
As more of us continue our quest to improve our health and well-being, we seek nutrient-rich foods and drinks like green tea, (see also: 15 Best Green Tea Drink Recipes To Try Today)to nourish our bodies and put our minds at ease.
The truth is, no two green teas taste the same. Flavors can vary, so we’d recommend sampling a few brands before you find the right one for you.
Green tea has a pretty distinctive flavor, but once you start replacing your regular coffee with it, you’ll never look back!