Loose-leaf tea is believed to be the most beneficial form of green tea.
The form in which green tea comes changes the benefits you receive.
Brewing loose-leaf tea is quite simple and should be done with less leaf and more water. Put the leaves in a teapot and add boiling water. Leave it to steep, and pour your tea into a cup.
Of course, you should strain out the leaves. A tea maker with an in-built filter or a tea bag will do a great job of filtering out the leaves.
Different types of loose-leaf green tea have different recommended steeping times and water temperatures. But the procedure used in brewing them is generally the same.
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is a medicinal drink that contains different compounds that make it more beneficial for both internal and external use than black tea.
Both the green and black teas have their origins in the same plant species, called Camellia sinensis; the difference is in the processing methods.
Though it originated in China, green tea found its way to Japan and has become widespread in America and Europe. It is considered the healthiest beverage in the world today.
Note: In this article, I’m focusing on Japanese green tea, which is mainly steamed, as opposed to Chinese green tea, which is typically pan-fried.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Due to the medicinal properties of green tea, there has been a focus on its health benefits. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Green tea speeds up your metabolism, which results in weight loss. One cup contains less than 2 calories and a metabolism-boosting antioxidant that helps you lose weight quickly. It is purely natural, without colors or preservatives.
It strengthens your tooth enamel and prevents damage due to acidic drinks. The polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties, keep your gums in good shape, prevent periodontal disease, and eliminate bad breath.
One of the main health benefits of green tea is that it helps with detoxification. It removes toxins from the body and improves your overall health. This naturally improves your complexion.
The polyphenols present in green tea improve the appearance of your hair and stimulate additional growth. Research has shown that green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which binds with the keratin in your hair to make it healthier, thicker, and stronger.
Research from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center involving patients with prostate cancer shows that green tea fights the disease at an early stage before it spreads. It significantly reduces the growth rate of the tumor and has also been found to be effective in the early stages of both lung and breast cancer.
I have written an in-depth discussion of these benefits and several ways to use DIY techniques to get the most out of the health benefits of Japanese green tea. You can find all the details in my book, I Will Teach You How to Be Healthy by Using Japanese Green Tea.
Best Loose Leaf Green Tea
As I earlier mentioned, loose-leaf green tea is believed to be the most beneficial form of green tea. Here are our top 5 picks based on their quality and effectiveness.
1. Authentic Japanese Green Tea – Loose Leaf 3.5 oz – Premium Tea – Issaku Limited
This is a high-grade, authentic Japanese green tea that is rare and quite difficult to find. The quality of the tea requires a long and complex process to produce.
The leaves undergo a traditional cultivation technique known as Chagusaba, which involves mulching the soil for premium quality. This mulching adds more nutrients to the soil and gives the tea a much sweeter taste.
Due to the high quantity of nutrients in this tea, its health benefits outweigh those of most other variants. The complex technique required to produce this tea makes it only available in a limited quantity—even in Japan.
2. Matcha – 1.8 oz – Premium Ceremonial Matcha
Ceremonial matcha is made solely for the purpose of drinking. It has been processed in such a way that its natural sweetness is preserved.
It comes with a high level of purity and requires no sweetener. Adding ingredients to this drink is counterproductive.
The plant is cultivated and dried in the shade to preserve its premium taste and rich green color. This also helps to increase the level of amino acids in it for better health benefits.
The process of making ceremonial matcha is carried out using advanced technology while observing the fundamentals of old traditions to obtain maximum benefits. The tea is covered a few days before harvest, after which it is steamed and dried with special equipment.
Veins and stems are manually removed by trained farmers before the leaves are ground with stone mills to about 4 micrometers to produce the fine, tasty green tea powder.
3. Matcha – 1.8 oz – Premium Culinary Matcha
Culinary matcha is specially grown for cooking. It is meant to be added to other substances, unlike ceremonial matcha.
Though it can be used for other purposes, it is best enjoyed when used for its original purpose. You can add natural or artificial sweeteners and still get a pleasant aroma.
It is slightly bitter compared to the ceremonial matcha. This is not a problem because it gives a nutritious taste when combined with other ingredients or used in drinks containing milk. It is used with a wide variety of foods and beverages across the globe.
4. Gyokuro Japanese Premium Shaded Green Tea – Loose Leaf
Gyokuro-shaded green tea is one of the best types of green tea. It is considered a luxury, even in Japan.
It is sweeter and has a higher level of caffeine than most types of green tea due to the way it is cultivated. It is shaded with mats for at least 20 days before harvest.
This shading also causes it to be darker and have a high quantity of amino acids, which also translate to a unique taste and more sweetness.
It is important to brew this tea carefully to fully enjoy the flavor and aroma. Choose a proper teapot and stick to the right temperature range (ideally 50–60 °C). Clay teapots work well for most Japanese green tea, but for deep-steam green tea (Fukamushi-cha), it is recommended to use teapots with mesh or Fukamushi teapots, which have finer mesh inside the teapot, because deep-steamed green tea tends to have finer pieces of green tea due to how it is processed. This specific gyokuro is Fukamushi-type; therefore, we recommend a mesh-type teapot.
You won’t enjoy the sweetness and rich flavor if you brew it at a low.
5. Japanese Diet Pu-Erh Tea – Saryu Soso
Most people prefer Japanese diet Pu-Erh tea to Chinese diet Pu-Erh tea because of its superior taste and quality. It has two major benefits that make it a favorite drink for tea lovers: weight loss and skin repair.
The Japanese Pu-Erh tea is best for weight loss. The diet element in it is 1.7 times more than the diet element in Chinese tea. Polyphenols and gallic acids in this tea reduce absorption activities in your stomach, which leads to quick weight loss.
Research shows that it also contains tiadenol, which alters the pathogen suppression process in your body. This makes your skin smoother and more beautiful.
Preparing your Japanese Pu-Erh tea is easy. Just put your tea bag in a teapot containing boiling water and leave it to steep for 3–4 minutes. Remove the tea bag, and your tea is ready to be enjoyed. You can let it cool if you prefer.
What Is Not So Good About Green Tea?
According to research, 6–8 cups a day are sufficient to bring out its health benefits. Drinking an excess quantity per day may lead to caffeine-induced illnesses like insomnia, nausea, or headaches. This is because green tea contains caffeine, although at a low level compared to black tea and other beverages.
Green tea can also stain your teeth; this staining property is why green tea is also used as a dye.
An effective way to avoid this downside is to rinse your mouth with clean water after every cup. This will help you prevent stains from building up.
There is no doubt that the benefits of green tea far outweigh its downsides. Whether you want your green tea for weight loss, cancer treatment, or prevention, there are still many more benefits you get from it than from black tea and other beverages.
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