The Effects and Uses of Green Tea
Recent studies have found that the antioxidants in green tea can prevent cancer, help fight heart disease, and even reduce your risk of developing type two diabetes. For some, this comes as no surprise, since cultures throughout Asia have been consuming green tea for thousands of years for its benefits of promoting good health throughout the body.
Health factors aren’t the only reasons for introducing green tea into your daily lifestyle. Consuming green tea can also add a therapeutic ritual into your everyday life. Even the process of steeping and enjoying green tea can be a relaxing touchstone for those looking to promote a more healthy lifestyle.
Chinese Origins of Green Tea
The origins of green tea date back to 2737 BC. By legend, the Emperor Shennong was resting from travel when leaves from a burning tea plant fell into his cup of hot water and steeped to delicious results. Green tea became a part of Chinese culture for its health benefits, where it is offered as a drink of respect, often carrying an interpersonal element with it to establish care between different people.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, green tea can relieve aches and pains throughout the body while also detoxing and aiding digestion. It is a staple in Chinese diets for its ability to enhance an individual’s quality of life.
While green tea is originally from China, smaller-scale green tea production has spread throughout many countries in Asia, with Japanese styles of green tea being almost as widely known in the western world as Chinese green tea. Producers throughout South-Asia and Africa primarily excel in mass-produced, lower green tea varieties that find their way into bottled products, diet tea blends, and other products where quality isn’t the focus. The vast majority of loose leaf or higher end green teas on the market will come from either China or Japan.
Types of Green Tea
While green tea comes from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis) as black tea, green tea leaves aren’t subject to the same withering and oxidation processes as black tea or oolong. Instead, the leaves are fixed. Fixing refers to the process of roasting the leaf, steaming it, or pan-frying it so that the leaf retains its green color. Since green tea is associated with being fresher than other varieties, it can be surprising to know that it is picked after black tea and oolong varieties have already been harvested.
Common Green Tea Flavor Profiles
The flavor profiles involved in green tea come from a few different aspects of its production. The first is where it’s grown, often referred to as terroir. Different locations impart different flavors to the tea plant. The second is whether it’s grown in sunlight or shade, with shaded plants having a sweeter flavor. The third is the processing method, which is used to halt the oxidation process while influencing the chemical and aromatic properties. Common methods are steaming or pan-frying.
Some green tea varieties, such as Genmaicha, which has puffed rice among the leaves, or a fruit-and-nuts sencha blend, derive flavor from additives and blended items. However, most of the flavor in a single-origin loose leaf green tea comes from just the leaves and the processing that they have undergone.
Common green tea flavor profiles include:
- Cooked Vegetables
- Charred Greens
- Seaweed (particularly with steamed green tea)
Chinese Green Tea
Chinese green tea comes in a very wide range of different varieties, so you’re likely to come across unfamiliar names when picking your tea. Here are a few of China’s most popular exported teas (All prices are approximate and will fluctuate with market value):
- Biluochun ($5.50 per ounce): This variety has distinctive leaves that are curled up like snails when dry. This tea is known for being fruity and mellow.
- Chun Mee (Precious Eyebrow): ($2.60 per ounce) This the among the most popular green teas outside of China. It is more sharp and full than many of the teas coming from China.
- Gunpowder ($2.30 per ounce): This strong and slightly smoky green tea is rolled into small pellets to resemble gunpowder. This is a great affordable daily tea.
- Huangshan Maofeng ($6.30 per ounce): This is a rare variety of wild tea that is harvested from the specific microclimate of Huangshan Mountain. It’s a sweet and mild brew that is popular among western tea drinkers.
- Longjing (Dragonwell) ($4 per ounce): Dragonwell is considered one of China’s top teas, treasured for its sweet taste and calming properties. It is a pan-fried green tea that’s popular outside of China.
- Xinyang Maojian ($5 per ounce): This variety has a fresh aroma and a slightly floral flavor. It has a stronger and more distinctive flavor than the average green tea, grassy, savory, and sweet all at once.
Japanese Green Tea
While green tea production in Japan is more recent than its origins in China, it does still date back to the 12th century when the elite would drink the tea for its health reasons. To this day, green tea is the only tea variety commercially produced by Japan. Production of tea in Japan is heavily mechanized, using modern technology and processes. Most varieties are also produced by steaming, which is said to create a sweeter and more grassy flavor profile.
- Bancha ($2.5 per ounce) Bancha is produced by roasting sencha leaves with high heat. This tea comes out brown and has a nutty flavor.
- Sencha ($3 per ounce) Sencha is a standard Japanese green tea that brews yellowish in color and can range from mellow to very strong in flavor.
- Kukicha ($4 per ounce) Kukicha is a blend of sencha leaves and stems. This allows for little waste in the tea harvest. Sencha and kukicha appeal to black tea drinkers, since they offer a woody, sometimes smoky flavor.
- Hojicha ($4.60 per ounce) This variety is made with sencha and kukicha twigs. It is different from most steamed Japanese teas because it is roasted in porcelain over charcoal. It offers a toasty and nutty flavor that is more earthy than most Japanese green teas.
- Genmaicha ($1.50 per ounce) Genmaicha is an interesting and toasty blend of grassy sencha and toasted rice puffs.
- Kabusecha ($5.50) Kabusecha is a shaded mid-range tea, considered just a step below gyokuro in quality.
- Gyokuro ($7.50 per ounce) This variety is at the highest grade of Japanese green tea. It is shaded before harvesting, giving it a sweet and rich flavor.
- Tencha and Matcha ($8.60 per ounce) This variety is a high-grade shaded tea that is most often ground into a fine powder known as matcha. Matcha is the tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies, where it is whisked using a special bamboo tool with hot water in a bowl.
- Culinary Grade Matcha ($2.60 per ounce) Culinary grade matcha often has a lower price point as it features a blend of teas from lower grade harvests. For faster production, it is often subject to high-temperature baking. It is meant for cooking or drinking with sweeteners.
- Shincha (fluctuates with market price) This is a first flush, or in other words, a first round of harvest, young tea that is highly prized within Japan.
Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Benefits of green tea range from helping individuals meet their weight loss goals to helping prevent cancer, heart disease, lowering blood pressure and diabetes. All of these studies have a correlation percentage, meaning that the green tea does not always help everybody fight these diseases. However, many people find green tea to have so few side effects that it is worth trying it out for the possible preventative and good health measures.
These beneficial properties come from polyphenols and catechins which act as antioxidants. Particularly important is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Alkaloids including caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline allow the tea to have stimulant effects. Additionally, amino-acid compounds, including L-theomine, give the tea calming effects.
But let us break all that down for you.
Studies have looked into green tea’s effect on the body’s markers of oxidative stress. This refers to those time your body might not be able to neutralize free radicals with antioxidants. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause illness and aging in our bodies.
These studies have shown a strong correlation between the polyphenols in green tea and the reduction of several chronic illnesses. In other words, although green tea isn’t a cure for disease, it may help to prevent illnesses like cancer and heart disease while improving the body’s quality of life with antioxidants. You can recognize the polyphenols in your tea because they are responsible for giving the brew its slightly bitter flavor.
Caffeine enhances mental alertness. One of the benefits of green tea over other caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, is its more moderate caffeine content, which is enough to stimulate without causing a lot of the negative side effects of caffeine, such as jitteriness and decreased attention spans. Green tea offers 24-40 mg of caffeine per cup, which is less than coffee (95-200 mg) or black teas (14-61 mg). The average adult can safely consume 300 to 400 mg of caffeine a day, check out this calculator if you’re wondering about your own limits.
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Studies have shown that drinking green tea daily speeds the burning of LDL cholesterol. Additionally, the antioxidants in green tea strengthen vascular health, including that of the heart and lungs. Studies show a correlation between daily consumption of green tea and a five percent reduced risk of death from heart disease.
Type 2 Diabetes
This study shows daily green tea consumption to allow a 33 percent reduced risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
Studies support green tea’s antimutagenic qualities, or in plainer words, the ability to protect normal cells from turning cancerous. In-vitro studies have supported green tea’s ability to inhibit carcinogenesis that causes skin and breast cancer, lung cancer, mouth and throat cancer, as well as stomach, liver, and prostate cancer.
Anti-inflammatory benefits could provide you with a nice calming effect, as well as some extremely minor pain relief.
Additionally, green tea is anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and it contains antioxidants as well as astringent properties. Green tea is commonly used as an ingredient in facial masks to clear the skin of blackheads and acne.
Green tea’s greatest strength when it comes to changing your life’s rhythms comes from its ability to offer an enjoyable experience. Among the real benefits of green tea is that it is enjoyable, can lift moods, and enable a healthy lifestyle. Healthy rituals can empower you to disrupt bad eating habits and help you introduce a better diet and more exercise into a daily routine. Tea can add a nutritional energy boost and some therapeutic relaxation to an early-morning routine.
The Truth About Green Tea and Fat Burning
Aside from its caffeine content, green tea does not have any direct weight loss benefits. This may come as a shock considering how often green tea extract (GTE) supplements are marketed as weight loss products.
Green tea is caffeinated, meaning that it can raise your metabolic rate. Caffeine stimulates the body’s mechanism to start burning calories. This does not mean that green tea burns calories just by drinking it, but it does mean that it could help to make calorie-burning exercise sessions more effective.
Green tea also makes for a better source of caffeine than many alternatives such as sugary sodas, overly caffeinated coffee, and bottled iced teas with unknown additives.
Other considerations for tea’s weight loss benefits include its ability to enable good lifestyle choices. Drinking green tea throughout the day could replace the urge to snack, therefore reducing calorie intake. Increasing the volume of your liquid intake overall could decrease your appetite. In this way, green tea could allow for a healthy disruption to your diet, changing the way that you eat as well as allowing you to reexamine other unhealthy daily rhythms. True weight loss, however, still requires proper dieting and exercise.
Green Tea and Green Tea Extract Side Effects
Green tea’s antioxidants make it the perfect balance of healthy and appetizing, but what happens when you consume too much of it?
Fortunately, it takes a lot of green tea before most people feel negative side effects, and many people don’t encounter these effects at all when they drink green tea. For those experiencing negative side effects, it’s best to limit your green tea intake to five cups a day or less.
Green Tea Extract
On the other hand, the consumption of green tea extract makes it much more likely for individuals to encounter negative side effects, since this extract means consuming concentrated doses of green tea, often with unknown additives and other supplements.
Rather than directly affecting weight loss, green tea extract can actually pose significant health risks. The American Heart Association warns that supplements, such as green tea extract can pose a danger to heart patients to the point of weakening heart muscles and increasing fluid and sodium retention. When taken as a supplement, high doses can cause liver toxicity.
Rarely, certain medical conditions could experience worsening symptoms from drinking green tea. These conditions include anemia, glaucoma, heart conditions, or bleeding disorders.
The first side effect that you’re likely to feel from green tea consumption is over-caffeination. Drinking too many caffeinated beverages has been known to interfere with sleeping. This might also cause you to experience a raised heart rate and an unsettled stomach. Consuming high doses of caffeine also leads to caffeine addiction, which could cause headaches, exhaustion, anxiety, and irritability, when someone who is addicted experiences a disruption in their caffeine habit.
Decreased Iron Absorption During Meals
Flavonoids are an antioxidant found in green tea that is responsible for strengthening the body against disease. However, having too many flavonoids in your system could reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron from the food you eat. This could cause iron deficiencies and exacerbate anemia.
For this reason, it’s best to drink green tea between meals. Additionally, the effects of flavonoids, both good and bad, can be partially neutralized by using a squeeze of lemon in your green tea.
How Much Green Tea Should You Drink
Studies have shown that when it comes to cancer prevention, drinking three to five cups of tea a day is better than drinking a single cup a day. Many studies on cancer prevention, including the prevention of prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer were based on five or more cups of green tea a day.
Studies found that six or more cups of green tea a day lowered the risk of type two diabetes by thirty-three percent. One to three cups of green tea a day were found to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
When it comes to battling disease, drinking three to five cups of green tea daily introduces enough antioxidants into the body to help prevent many forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Drinking tea more often should not cause you to decrease your water intake. Water is still more important than tea when it comes to keeping your body functioning properly and even elevating your mood.
When Should You Drink Green Tea (and Why)
A good rule of thumb is to drink your green tea between your meals. This gives you the added benefits of decreasing your appetite for weight loss, while also preventing the antioxidants in green tea from blocking your iron absorption during meals. In this case, it’s recommended to drink your green tea two hours before or after you eat.
For those with a sensitive stomach, it’s best not to drink your green tea first thing in the morning, since it can be rough on an empty stomach.
If you’re drinking green tea for its potential weight loss benefits, then it’s best to drink it before you go to exercise, so that the caffeine can aid your fat burning routine.
It’s best not to drink caffeinated beverages right before bed since caffeine can cause sleeplessness and insomnia.
How to Brew Green Tea
Three Ways to Make the Perfect Cup of Green Tea
To get the truest flavor out of your tea, it’s best to use fresh, cold-filtered water.
The ideal tea is brewed in short infusions at 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, for reference, that is about 30+ degrees under boiling (around 212 degrees).
Scorched green tea will taste bitter and more astringent. An electric kettle can help you control your water heat to get the perfect temperature for brewing your tea. If you do not have an electric kettle available, you can also boil water for the tea, and then allow it to sit a cool a bit before pouring it over the leaves.
The standard measurement of how much tea to use is two grams per eight ounces of water. Delicate teas may steep for short periods of time such as 2 to 3 minutes. Special early harvest teas, such as Shincha, should only steep for about thirty seconds.
Most tea leaves will be able to steep multiple times before they become too weak to impart a refreshing flavor. Most mid- to high-quality loose leaf green tea leaves will be able to steep 2-3 times. If you steep them too hot initially, it will produce a weaker flavor on the second steep. To steep them multiple times, add water again on top until the leaves are too weak to provide a good flavor.
1. Tea Ball
Some individuals prefer to use tea balls when they don’t intend to make a whole pot of tea or for easy removal and cleanup. Tea balls are handy for use at work or in situations when the full teapot process would be too cumbersome.
Tea balls do have a downside, however, when it comes to enjoying the full flavor or nuance of your tea. They do not allow the tea leaves to spread out as far as they would in the bottom of your teapot. This could lead to a weaker flavor when the tea ball is so tightly packed it has difficulty fully permeating the tea leaves. In some cases it could lead to the opposite problem, giving you a more bitter flavor.
To get the best flavor from using a tea ball, use the proper steeping container for the size of beverage you intend to steep. In other words, don’t use a tea ball that can hold 2 grams of tea to steep for 32 ounces of water, or a very large tea ball meant to steep a whole pitcher of iced tea in your 8 oz cup. Additionally, only fill the tea ball halfway, so that the leaves have room to spread out.
2. Steeping in a Teapot
Talking about temperature and steeping time can make the idea of brewing loose leaf tea seem intimidating to someone just giving it a try. Brewing loose leaf tea in a teapot is actually the recommended way of steeping tea while also being really easy.
- Begin with heating your water.
- Pour a little bit of hot water into the teapot and swirl it around. Then pour it out. This warms the steeping container ahead of time so that the tea doesn’t immediately cool while you’re steeping it.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of tea leaves over the bottom of the teapot. Remember that these leaves will expand quite a bit as they steep, so you don’t want to add too much. A good rule, to begin with, is to have them cover the bottom without mounding up.
- Pour your hot water over the tea in the teapot and allow to steep for a few minutes. Your tea should steep without the lid of the teapot on since the trapped warmth from the lid can overcook the tea. You will see that the tea sinks to the bottom of the pot as it steeps.
- Give it a little shake before you pour, as this will help the leaves settle, then pour it into your teacup. Cover the teapot to trap the warmth.
As you do this more you will get a feel for how you enjoy your tea and how much you want to add to make the perfect steep.
Tea bags are convenient for brewing your tea away from home, on the go, or while traveling. They are quick, approachable, and easy to offer to guests. However, most mass produced tea bags are made from low-quality tea. This means you will most likely not get the best flavor from a green tea bag.
Lower quality green tea can be steeped in water that is hotter for a longer period of time, whereas, higher quality green tea should be steeped in cooler water for a shorter period of time.
To make the convenience of a tea bag work for you while using a higher quality tea, you can create your own tea bags by purchasing empty tea bags and filling them with your favorite variety of green tea. This makes it easy to take your tea on the go and giving you the chance to steep it multiple times.
Similarly, high-end tea companies have begun offering tea bags of their excellent tea varieties. If you’re interested in drinking nuanced green tea varieties with convenience, these might be a good option for you. Brewing quality tea in a tea bag follows the same method as the tea ball above.
Ways to Drink Green Tea
Grandpa Style Sipping for Low-Maintenance Tea Drinking
Grandpa style refers to brewing your loose leaf tea right in your mug or teacup. Chinese green teas are the most appropriate for grandpa style, since they tend to become saturated and sink to the bottom of a cup more quickly and firmly than Japanese tea varieties. This is because steamed teas are less dense than pan-fried teas.
Pan-fried teas are roasted in a large wok on high heat. When it comes to drinking tea grandpa style, the dragonwell variety is the classic choice, but you can also have success with other varieties such as gunpowder.
To drink a tea grandpa style, put 2g of leaves in the bottom of a small to medium-size mug. Pour hot water over top. The leaves will settle to the bottom as the tea steeps.
As your current brew starts to get low, you can pour more water overtop. This might cause the leaves to float again, but they will settle as the tea steeps. To help the strength of your new brew, leave a little tea in the bottom before refilling.
Traditional Matcha Preparation (and Variations)
Ceremonial-grade matcha is produced exclusively for whisking into hot water and serving alone, as in without sugar or milk additives. It will have a delicate and naturally sweet flavor that would be masked by any additional sweetener.
The traditional preparation has you add 1/2 teaspoon of high-grade matcha into a cup or bowl of hot, but not boiling, water. The matcha is then incorporated into the water using a bamboo whisk.
Matcha Latte (Culinary Grade Matcha Variation)
Culinary matcha is the matcha that you’ll frequently find in larger bags and in coffee houses throughout the western world. This matcha has the antioxidant benefits and caffeine content of strong, concentrated green tea with a flavor many have learned to love when mixed with some form of milk.
While culinary matcha can be steeped in water to make tea, it will be more bitter than ceremonial-grade matcha. This is why culinary grade matcha is commonly made into lattes, using dairy, almond, or soy milk. Matcha lattes are often sweetened to belie some of their bitter characteristics.
The ratios of this beverage depend on individual preferences, but experimentation with culinary grade matcha is easy and relatively risk-free since this form of matcha can come in such a large volume.
Heat milk or milk-substitute, and whisk matcha powder into it. It’s a good idea to add your sweetener at this point as well so that it incorporates fully with the latte. Steamers and electric frothers make this an easy process.
Storing Green Tea
Your green tea won’t go bad, but it will get stale over time. Stale teas give you a less nuanced, dull, and often more astringent flavor. To keep your tea fresh, it’s important to know that you’re buying from a good source that won’t send you stale tea in the first place.
Green tea can go stale within six months to a year after purchase. It’s best to store it in a cool, dark place. It will have a longer shelf life is you can keep it away from light, airtight, meaning oxygen and moisture-free, as well as away from any overly fragrant ingredients. In other words, you don’t want to store it in the same container as your super robust chai spices. When it comes to high-quality teas, many recommend using an airtight tin or glass jar for storage, since many plastics can leave odors behind on the tea.
The question of whether or not to refrigerate or freeze your tea is met with many different opinions and perspectives. The biggest concern when it comes to refrigeration is if your tea will come into contact with too much moisture. Airtight storage, such as that made with vacuum sealers is the ideal if you want to store your tea long term in a freezer. Try to use high-quality plastics which won’t impart their odors on the tea itself.
Other Uses for Green Tea
- Relieve the dark circles around your eyes. Use two tea bags to brew a small pot of green tea. Drink the tea or set it aside in the fridge as a refreshing iced tea. Take the two cooled tea bags and put them directly over your closed eyes. Allow them to sit this way for a few minutes. The tannins and caffeine will help to tighten your skin and restrict the capillaries for a brighter, less discolored complexion.
- Use the antioxidants in green tea to chase away your acne. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, green tea extract is a great ingredient to find in facial cleansers or body wash. It can also help to regulate insulin and sex hormone production in the skin. These hormones are the culprits of many of our worst breakouts. Brewed green tea can also be used as a facial astringent in your skincare routine.
- Soothe your sunburn. A rag soaked in green tea can help to soothe sunburnt skin.
- Absorb odors around the house. Make a sachet of green tea leaves in a small cloth bag. Then put it in areas where odors are known to occur to help absorb them. You can put them in your dresser drawers, a pair of shoes, or inside the fridge.
Which Green Tea is Best for You
If you’re looking for an authentic brewing experience, avoid tea bags and pick up loose leaf teas from specialty stores. Allow yourself to explore without expecting yourself to be an expert at first sip or liking everything immediately.
Bottled green tea is unlikely to give you as many antioxidant benefits as fresh brewed green tea. This is because bottle processing lowers the antioxidant content to merely five percent of its original amount. Additionally, most bottled teas contain added sugar as well as other dubious added flavors, which can negate a lot of the health benefits of drinking green tea.
Choosing decaffeinated tea also lowers the number of beneficial antioxidants that you’ll get from your brew. The extra-processing involved in decaffeinating tea eliminates about sixty percent of the antioxidants in green tea.
Green teas, especially those of lower quality like many found in mass-produced tea bags often have heavy metal contaminants due to their production, growth, and processing. Metals found include lead, aluminum, arsenic, and cadmium. This may even be true of those teas labeled organic.
While Chinese green teas have been the most common in the market for centuries, they have recently exhibited the highest degree of heavy metal contamination. Green tea varieties from Japan and Sri Lanka show less heavy metal contamination than Chinese varieties.
If you’re concerned about metal contaminants, brew your tea for shorter periods of time to make it less likely that heavy metals will leach into your brewed tea.
Drinking organic teas limits the number of pesticide residues that can get into your brew. Teas labeled as organic are not grown with the use of pesticides. Nonetheless, non-organic teas do not generally register high pesticide residues either.
5 Quick and Easy Recipes
1. Winter Spiced Green Tea
For those who are looking to make green tea ritual feel even cozier in the winter, a simple spiced brew can make the light grassy flavor a little deeper and warmer. The addition of cinnamon and ginger in this recipe also add digestive aid to the list of green tea’s benefits.
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 green tea bags (or 4 tablespoons of loose leaf tea in a mesh strainer)
- ½ teaspoon of minced ginger root
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 4 cardamom pods, crushed
- 4 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons of honey
Since this is a mulling recipe, missing one or two ingredients or using dried equivalents isn’t a deal breaker. Or if you know you can’t stand the taste of a certain ingredient, feel free to omit it. Just make sure to do what tastes great to you!
- Steep first five ingredients in boiling water. To easily remove spices and tea, you can use a large mesh strainer to immerse them in the water. Allow it to steep for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove spices and tea, stir in the honey until it is dissolved.
- Serve while still warm.
2. Summer Green Tea Limeade
Green tea is an often overlooked option for refreshing iced tea in the summer months. This is unfortunate since most green tea has a light flavor that’s great for the summer holidays. This green tea limeade offers delicious inspiration for an iced green tea beverage.
- 2 green tea bags (or 2 tablespoons of looseleaf green tea)
- Juice from half a lime
- 1 tablespoon of agave syrup or honey
- 1 and a half cups of water
- Ice to cool
- Mint leaves, lime wedges, or cucumber slices
- Boil water and steep green tea for about five minutes.
- Dissolve agave syrup or honey into the tea. Then cool with ice.
- Juice lime either by hand or using a juicer, and add this into the green tea.
- Allow to chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. Then garnish and enjoy!
Green tea smoothies are an energizing way to start the morning, as they combine nutrients, natural sugars, and caffeine to start your tasks feeling bright. Smoothies are quick and easy since all they require is dropping ingredients into a blender. In fact, one of the best things about the green tea smoothie is its ability to coat your stomach so that strong amounts of green tea and antioxidants don’t hurt it early in the morning.
3. Green Tea Mixed Berry Smoothie
- I cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup spinach or kale (fresh or frozen)
- Chilled green tea (1 tsp loose leaf green tea or one tea bag and 8oz of water)
- Honey to taste
- 2 tablespoons almond milk (for a looser blend) or coconut oil (for a thicker mixture)
- 1 teaspoon flax seeds
- Ground ginger root
- Brew your tea ahead of time. If you’re someone who drinks smoothies every morning, then you’ll want to do this in bulk and keep your pre-brewed tea in the fridge.
- Add everything into the blender and drink immediately.
- Tweak the recipe according to your taste.
4. Matcha Green Tea Smoothie
- ½ teaspoon matcha powder (culinary grade)
- ¾ cup of the milk of your choice (dairy, almond, soy)
- 1 banana
- 5 ice cubes
- 1 teaspoon of honey
Many people will find this smoothie to be sweet enough with just the banana, but if you need a little more sweetness, honey harmonizes nicely with the matcha.
- ½ avocado
The avocado is a nice addition, full of nutrition but not completely necessary to make this recipe work.
- Grind ice cubes with the banana (and avocado) in the blender until smooth.
- Add in milk, matcha, and honey. Then continue blending until the matcha is fully mixed in. Enjoy immediately!
Since matcha is a powdered and highly concentrated form of green tea, it is easily incorporated into baked goods, ice creams and similar products as a dry ingredient or concentrate bloomed in water.
5. Green Tea and Black Sesame Shortbread
For a cookie with an earthier sweetness, this recipe uses matcha and black sesame seeds to put a new twist on more traditional Scottish shortbread. Recipe inspired by Aida Mollenkamp.
If this looks like a simple shortbread recipe with matcha powder added into, that’s exactly what it is. In fact, many baked goods can easily be made into matcha variations with the addition of matcha powder. Try it out the next time you make a cake or banana bread for those edible antioxidants.
- 1 ¾ c flour
- ⅓ c. culinary grade matcha powder
- ¾ c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 8 oz. cold butter
- Black sesame seeds and your other favorite garnishes
- Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish or traditional tart tin.
- Sift together matcha, flour, powdered sugar, and salt.
- Chop the cold butter into cubes and add them into the flour mixture with the vanilla.
- Using a pastry cutter or the two knives method, blend the butter into the dry ingredients making a crumbly dough. While you can use your fingers in this step, your cookies will have their nicest, flakiest texture if your try not to use your hands much.
- Once the butter is fairly evenly incorporated, but the texture is by no means smooth, pour it into your greased pan and press it down using a flat cold surface, such as the bottom of a glass.
- Heat your oven to 350, and set your shortbread in the freezer until you’re ready to bake.
- When the oven is heated, take the shortbread out of the freezer and sprinkle your sesame garnish over it. You can also score it at this point using a long knife. For a tart tin, it’s common to score the shortbread into wedges. For your pan, you can score it in squares according to your idea portion size.
- Bake for about 45 minutes. The shortbread should appear set and will be lightly browning on the edges.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. Then remove from the baking dish, or pop out of the tart tin, and cut along your score marks.
Drinking green tea daily is a low-risk way of giving your body antioxidants with the potential of preventing diseases and promoting good health across the board. For those who enjoy green tea, it creates a relaxing ritual and produces a calming effect that can easily improve one’s quality of life.