March 28 2012
You may have noticed a lot of hubbub about green tea lately… numerous studies coming to light, not to mention all manner of endorsements and health benefits. Right now is a rather exciting time for the green tea leaf.
We’re talking about big, beautiful juicy green and white loose leaves packed full of the things that are so good for us. How often is it that we find out that something we love actually does us good… hoorah!
These stunning large leaved beauties naturally contain substances that are rather helpful for us – numerous studies are now finding links between green tea helping us with all kinds of things:
- Improving our complexion, especially white tea
- Can help boost our ability to burn fat
- Can help strengthen tooth enamel and fight decay
- Loose leaf green and white teas naturally contain high amounts of antioxidants (and taste wonderful)
Loose leaf green and white teas naturally contain high amounts of antioxidants (and taste wonderful). When brewed for about three minutes, you’ll meet the perfect combination of flavour and goodness. Whereas, if you were to brew a green teabag for that time, it would taste downright awful and not have anywhere near as much of the good stuff. What’s most important to us is that you can drink high quality teas that suit your tastes and are absolutely delicious.
What sets green and white tea apart from other teas is that they are unfermented. This means that the leaves have little time to oxidise – or break down – before being dried. (think of it as when you slice a fresh apple – the colour is fresh and vibrant to begin, then slowly turns darker as it reacts with the air around it). This preserves our new best friends known as the plant-based catechin polyphenols and flavanoids, the antioxidants that can help combat free radicals. They are anti-carcinogenic, help boost our ability to burn fat, and not only that – they’re also excellent for your complexion, may help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and can lower cholesterol. Two or more cups a day should help, and because you can re-infuse loose tea leaves several times, one teaspoonful will last all day.
But what about caffeine? Is it in green tea? It sure is. But what about white tea? Its in there, too. All teas made from the tea plant will naturally contain some caffeine in varying degrees – but cup for cup it is a lot lower than coffee, and thanks to a substance called Theanine, the caffeine is released slowly over time giving you sustained energy with a calm clarity, rather than the buzziness of coffee.
And we can take it one step further – there is a tea from Japan that you may have heard of… the fabled Matcha. This is how Matcha is made:
The rare high grade Matchas come from Gyokuro grown leaves. This means that the tea plants are shaded with bamboo mats before the leaves are picked. Because its shielded from the sun, the plant works double-time to get up to the light, encouraging the production of the elements that we talked about earlier. These fresh tender leaves are then steamed, and the purest part from between the vein and the stalk is removed. Bear with me! So now we have only the finest part of the leaf without any stalk. This is then placed between granite blocks and ground for hours until our pieces of leaf are now an incredibly fine powder.
So when you drink Matcha, you’re drinking everything that the leaf can provide. This gives it over 100 times more antioxidants than your usual loose green tea, and is rich in vitamins E, A and C. Its wonderful for lifting your mood and is said to give a helpful boost to your metabolism!
The traditional way to drink Matcha in the Japanese Tea Ceremony is to whisk it into hot (but not boiling) water using a bamboo tea whisk – beautiful. Another way we love to drink Matcha is in a Matcha Manuka Latte. Wholesome and utterly divine!
So there we have it, a crash course in green tea and health. Until next time, tea lovers!