If you haven’t yet been wowed by green tea, then maybe you’re still to find the blend for you. Take a moment to discover the health benefits of this tasty brew that’s rich in antioxidants. We also explore the delicious blends of organic green tea grown here in New Zealand and reveal how to avoid a bitter taste when brewing a cup of the green stuff.
It’s safe to say that green tea is a firm staple in many household kitchens. The last few decades have seen this bittersweet beverage’s surge in popularity, with health-conscious tea drinkers opting for a milk-free hot drink instead – and one that boasts a healthier low dose of caffeine.
Chinese and Japanese cultures have been enjoying green tea for centuries, not only for the refreshing taste but for the medicinal use of the beverage in traditional and herbal medicine.
Stacked with antioxidants, a delicious cup of green-leafed tea is said to naturally boost energy levels, improve cognition, aid in weight loss and improve the functioning of our immune systems.
We’ll cover the evidence-based benefits of drinking green tea in a moment. First, let’s find out where this popular wellness drink comes from and why it has such a distinctive taste and colour.
What exactly is green tea?
Whether you are drinking a black tea, green tea or white tea, the tea leaves used in these drinks are all grown from the same plant, the camellia sinensis.
So why is there such a stark difference between each of these beverages – in taste, colour and the amount of caffeine they contain?
What determines whether a tea is black, green or white all boils down to (excuse the pun!) when the leaves are picked and how they are processed afterwards.
Green tea leaves are not oxidised
When allowed to fully oxidise after harvesting, tea leaves will naturally turn brown or black and into the gumboot tea we all know and love here in NZ (that’s breakfast tea or black tea for those non-Kiwi readers!).
To achieve the refreshing taste of green tea, the tea leaves are immediately heated after harvesting to stop the oxidation process. The leaves are usually steamed or toasted.
The result is a much milder taste with noticeably less caffeine than a standard black tea.
Where does green tea come from?
Certain varieties of the camellia sinensis plant are cultivated for their distinct flavours and characteristics. Crops are grown in China and Japan, as well as in other parts of Asia, such as India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Korea and Taiwan. Even farmers in Hawaii and South Carolina are now cultivating green tea.
Lucky for us in New Zealand, we have the right conditions to cultivate and harvest a delicious flavour of leaves for green tea.
Read on to discover two homegrown organic green teas blended with a selection of health-boosting herbs for some extra get up and go.
Health benefits of drinking green tea
Green tea has long been heralded as a natural remedy for many symptoms and health issues.
For starters, the drink contains an abundance of plant-based antioxidants that help protect the body from harmful free radicals. These free radicals can damage cells and lead to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Research has revealed that the antioxidants found in green tea help to prevent cell damage and come with plenty of other benefits to support your overall health.
Here are a few of the most significant health benefits of drinking green tea, each supported by research and studies.
#1 Cognition, mood and brain function
A healthy dose of caffeine is not a bad thing (more on that in a moment).
In fact, the caffeine and L-theanine present in green tea were shown to improve brain function, increase focus and reduce stress in a 2017 review of previous research studies.
These compounds work together to improve mental alertness and cognitive function, making green tea a great option for those who need a natural boost of energy and focus.
#2 Weight loss
A review in 2022 found that, when combined with exercise, green tea can improve your metabolism and how your body breaks down fat.
In addition, green tea also contains an antioxidant called EGCG, which has been shown to boost metabolism even further.
#3 Support your immune system
Green tea has been shown to help boost the immune system and improve overall health. The antioxidants and catechins in green tea help to protect the body from harmful pathogens and improve the body’s ability to fight off infection and disease.
While evidence is inconsistent, research in 2020 linked drinking green tea to reducing the chance of developing some types of cancer, specifically lung cancer and ovarian cancer.
Is the caffeine found in green tea healthy?
Green tea contains considerably less caffeine than other caffeinated beverages.
Depending on the leaf variety, a cup of green tea (230ml) will contain 30–50 mg of caffeine, much less than a black tea (up to 110 mg of caffeine) and considerably less than a coffee (up to 200 mg).
The caffeine in green tea is naturally occurring and can help to boost alertness and fight fatigue.
Delicious green tea blends
If in the past you’ve been put-off by a bitter ‘grassy’ taste of green tea, then it’s time to try a green tea that will really get your taste buds firing.
These organic green teas have been carefully combined with medicinal herbs, flowers and/or oils to beautifully complement the taste and texture of the leaves.
Remember, when making a cup of green tea, never pour boiling water onto the delicate leaves. Let the kettle cool for a few moments. Green teas prefer to be steeped in water temperatures of 65–80ºC.
Made with Certified Organic tea leaves, this refreshing green tea is combined with a healthy dose of lemongrass and ginger to make a deliciously zesty blend. Charity Tea lovers class this tea as a ‘pantry staple’.
Along with the powerful antioxidants in the green tea leaves themselves, lemongrass is a medicinal plant often used to regulate blood pressure, ease premenstrual symptoms and – like green tea – flush away toxins.
The added ginger can help to ease digestive upsets, support the liver and promote weight loss.
Wanting to ditch the coffee? Energy green tea offers an natural energy boost and contains six additional healthy herbs, all organically grown in New Zealand.
Carefully selected for wellness and taste, the blend contains the medicinal herbs Siberian ginseng, lemongrass, oregano and ashwagandha, together with a delightful sprinkle of calendula and viola flowers.
Along with offering a lively dose of energy, this tantalising blend includes herbs that are known to ease digestion, support the liver, reduce inflammation and promote weight loss.
For an exquisite green tea, our certified organic jasmine green tea – called Jazz – is a delectable fusion of Darjeeling green tea leaves and fragrant jasmine oil. It is sourced from ethically run tea plantations in India for a real heavenly taste.
Premium-grade jasmine green tea is available in small and large refill packs, in either plastic-free tea bags or as a loose leaf tea.