Today I’m going to share the proper way to brew green tea and why it should replace your coffee. I know we are all nuts about our coffee, but even with all the benefits of coffee it’s not ideal for everyone. Myself included!
I started everyday with my delicious latte for years. Over time I noticed that my health grew worse and worse. The main reason was that coffee makes me anxious. This anxiety turns into stress and that becomes evident in my mood and skin. After much sadness I decided that I had to cut out coffee and my daily consumption of milk with it (milk also messes with hormones even organic kinds). I’m also a migraine sufferer and while caffeine can be helpful with migraines, the anxiety can cause hormonal disruption and that leads to more migraines. If my migraines were rare and not hormonally related, perhaps coffee would be fine. However, since coffee starts a series of events that inevitably cause hormonal disruptions, the benefits were negated. Confusing, I know.
Long story short, I found better alternative…GREEN TEA! It’s got the benefits I loved from coffee – caffeine, makes you use the restroom, and can be made into a latte. Up until I learned how to properly select and consume green tea, I only had not so nice feels about it. After researching the health benefits, I discovered how to make the perfect cup. I was shocked to know that I haven’t had REAL properly brewed green tea (at least in the states). I was making it all wrong and frankly may have caused more harm than good. In Taiwan, where I lived for a few months, everyone drank green tea. Specifically, in cold plastic water bottles or with milk. I found them all tasty and amazing. Why didn’t the green tea I made at home or had at restaurants in the states taste this good? In the end I just assumed all the green tea we had in the states was either fake or spoiled and stopped trying to drink it. Turns out I was half right!
Most of the green tea in the states is past 6 months old, which means it’s spoiled and has lost it’s benefits. Not only that, but most people here use boiling water to brew their green tea which just burns the tea and turning it bitter while removing all the benefits. Yup, burning it can also create a reaction that makes it not only taste bad, but bad for you. Worst still we don’t commonly know when we should and should not have green tea. It can make you feel sick if you have it at the wrong time. Scary right?!
Here I am drinking nasty bitter burnt green tea for health and not only am I not getting all the benefits, but I could potentially be doing some harm. Double yuck!
Before you get sad and give up, just hang on a minute! I’m going to now tell you how not to consume green tea and how to properly consume it. You’ll never have to worry you’re doing it wrong or suffer from that way too bitter nasty taste again!
Top Mistakes People Make With Green Tea
Don’t drink on an empty stomach or when hungry – green tea aids in digestion and can lower blood sugar or make your stomach upset when taken this way. You may feel nausea, get cramping, or feel uneasy. It is only to be taken with or right after meals.
Don’t steep in boiling water! Use cold to warm water (warm water should be no more than 160-175 degrees F). Steep max 3 minutes in warm water and 8 minutes in cold water.
Don’t toss the tea leaves after steeping – you may eat them to enjoy added benefits. Just eat immediately.
Don’t continue to sip green tea after an hour – the benefits require the tea to be fresh and freshly steeped. After a while not only will the benefit go away, but it may become toxic. The faster you drink it the better it is for you. About 30 minutes for a cup is optimal. The longer you wait the less benefits the green tea will have. After an hour after steeping, toss it.
Don’t keep old green tea leaves – this product must be fresh. A month after opening a package the benefits will be gone and it may become spoiled and potentially toxic. Look for packed on dates over expiration dates. Six months after it was packaged it should be tossed.
Don’t steep or drink in paper or foam cups/containers. The chemicals in foam and paper will interact with those in green tea and you will lose benefits of green tea. Use glass, porcelain, or even plastic.
Don’t drink green tea close to bedtime. Drink at least 5 hours before you go to sleep. Green tea can give you energy which will interrupt sleeping if taken close to your bedtime.
Don’t use cheap green tea or green tea that isn’t organic. If you want the full benefits, make sure you are actually using FRESH and pure organic green tea. Do not skimp on price and quality. Good quality green tea doesn’t have a storage date past 6 months. Most grocery stores do not have fresh green tea. The likelihood that the tea in your local grocery store is too old to be beneficial is high. I suggest purchasing from a trusted direct supplier. Again after opening, try to consume your green tea in one month.
Great Benefits of Green Tea
If you wake up in the morning with a full stomach and need help with your digestion, you may drink green tea first thing in the morning. It will aid digestion and usually offer relief in 5-10 minutes. This is a special circumstance, but otherwise never drink green tea without eating during or right before.
Drink 30 minutes before exercising or when you need to think clearly. Before a test, interview, or physical activity. Any time you need to be at peak performance.
Chew green tea leaves and eat while driving. It will keep you alert and a good way to consume green tea for all it’s benefits.
Add raw green tea to food to aid digestion. Another great way to get all the digestion benefits of green tea when you don’t want to drink it.
Use green tea to aid in weight loss. Green tea will help you lose more weight because it will give you more energy to EXERCISE (you knew there was a catch, right!). Use that energy along with cleaner eating habits to get the full benefits of green tea. The more fat on your body the more it can help. It aids in burning fat (if you are working out). This is a great tool to add with a healthy diet and exercise routine. If you don’t have a lot of excess fat you may not see much weight loss, but it’s still healthy to maintain weight so keep drinking!
It’s great for colds! Green tea just happens to be antiviral, so next time you’re suffering from a viral cold or illness, don’t forget about this benefit.
Drink green tea regularly to keep you healthy and to help your body fight off illness. Green tea is great for high blood pressure, cancer, rehydrates better than water, bad breath, protects your liver from alcohol, good for your lungs, lowers stress, increases brain function, a great anti-oxidant, preserves and builds bone, kills bacteria and improves dental health, helps reduce inflammation in the body, helps your skin and acne, and lowers risk of heart disease. It’s really great for those suffering from MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart, cardiovascular diseases, and my personal favorite…migraines. It’s a long life drink (when you drink it properly)!
Hopefully now that you know how to properly consume this amazing tea, you’ll be able to add it as your daily beverage. Now that you’re sold on having green tea let’s go over all the kinds of green tea and which ones you might prefer.
Basic Types of Green Tea
Long Jing (Dragonwell Green Tea) – one of the most popular green teas in the world produced from the Zhejian Province of China. Once processed, the leaves tend to be flat and have a jade color.
Sencha Green Tea – Japanese Sencha is a common green tea for everyday in Japan and the world.
Matcha – is a powder Japanese tea with a special process that has various qualities from cooking quality to tea ceremony quality. (stay turned for a WHOLE post on Matcha because it’s that awesome!!!)
Gunpowder This is one of the most popular types of chinese green teas. This tea is still primarily grown in the Zhejian Province of China, although plantations for this tea are spreading elsewhere in China. One of the characteristics of this tea is that, once processed, the tea looks like tiny pellets. These pellets open up during the brewing process.
Pi Lo Chun (Green Snail Spring) Another very unique and somewhat rare Chinese Green Tea. This tea, also grown in the Zhejian Province, is grown among plum, apricot and peach trees. This allows the tea leaves to pick up the fragrance of the fruit blossoms from these trees. As this tea is rolled, it has a “snail like” appearance.
Snowy Mountain Jian This tea is grown at high altitudes in the Yunnan Province of China. The leaves of this tea are quite long. Although a green tea, this tea is processed a bit differently than other green teas – giving it a more full body flavor somewhat similar to black teas.
Genmaicha Also known as the “popcorn tea.” This is actually a sencha tea that is pan fired and then blended with toasted hulled rice. During the toasting of the hulled rice, it is not unusual for the rice to “pop,” leading to the name of “popcorn tea.”
Kukicha A tea made from white stalks produced by harvesting one bud and three leaves. A very unusual tea, with a taste of chestnut due to the twigs in the tea.
Gyokuro Gyukoro is considered the very best of Japanese green teas. The leaves are flat and pointed, that provide a smooth taste with a light fragrance. During the final weeks before harvesting, these leaves are moved to the shade…out of direct sunlight.
Yes there are even more types, but these are a good place to start and choose a green tea. My favorites are Genmaich and Matcha. I’m not a fan of Gunpowder. But I suggest you pick up some organic green teas and try them out until you find your favorites.
Check back for my post on MATCHA and how to make the most awesome Matcha Green Tea Latte you’ll turn your nose up at coffee….forever!