If you are a heavy green tea drinker (like me!) you should really know a little bit more about your green tea. Where does your green tea come from? What type of green tea is it? How has it been processed? These are just some of the factors that can affect the quality of your green tea.
Also if you only drink green tea occasionally, do you really want to drink green tea which may be contaminated with heavy metals? If you are one of those people who just buy any green tea that can find and think they are going to be healthier, this is the post which will open your eyes.
In this guide, you will learn what things you should consider when buying green tea and how to buy the best quality. It’s especially important to read this if you drink green tea for its health benefits (cancer prevention, heart health, brain health, etc.) and want to get the most out of it.
Green tea origin
One of the most important aspects to consider if you want to buy the best quality green tea is its origin and where it’s been grown.
Although green tea originates from China and China is still the biggest producer of green tea, this doesn’t mean that Chinese green tea is the best.
China is one of the most polluted countries in the world and many tea plantations grow close to motorways, factories and industrialised towns.
Green tea plants easily absorb toxins from their environment and one of the most common ones is lead. Lead is absorbed from the soil via the roots, or lands on the leaves from the local environment (learn more about lead contamination here).
For this reason, it’s best to avoid green tea from China and rather choose green tea from Japan as Japan is less polluted and produces cleaner green teas.
However, that is not to say that all Chinese green teas are bad, not at all. There are some tea producing regions in China which are not that polluted and much cleaner – this is something for you to investigate if you want to buy Chinese green tea.
Pesticides are commonly used to grow green tea and if you are looking to buy the best quality green tea, make sure it’s organic. Like this, you at least have one thing less to worry about. You don’t want to drink green tea with an addition of pesticides, do you? But make sure that the organic green tea you buy is certified organic as otherwise, you may not be getting genuine organic green tea.
When buying organic green tea also pay attention to its origins – if it comes from a polluted region in China, it can still be contaminated with various toxins.
A good quality organic green tea may be difficult to find in supermarkets and local shops so the best is to buy it online. One of the websites you can buy it from is The Tea Makers of London (you can also find them on Amazon). I had a pleasure of sampling some of their green teas and what I really like about their website is that they explain everything about each tea, how it’s made and where it comes from.
Types of green tea
Not many people are aware that there are several different types of green tea and each type has its own unique properties and taste. These teas are also not exactly the same when it comes to the amount of antioxidants they contain – this depends on how mature the leaves were at the harvest and how they were processed afterwards. More mature tea leaves generally have more antioxidants (catechins) than budding leaves.
If you like drinking green tea because of the antioxidants it contains (so you can get all the health benefits), then be sure to select green tea with the highest concentration of them – Sencha green tea is the one to go for in this case.
It’s only recently that I’ve tried Sencha green tea and I must say it’s quite different from other types of green tea. Just to be precise, I’ve tried Organic Premium Japanese Sencha from The Tea Makers of London. The taste is different, not too strong but quite grassy. It’s actually like a mild version of matcha, which is a powdered green tea. I can definitely get used to it!
I didn’t know that but Sencha is the most popular green tea in Japan which is quite interesting as somehow I never tried it before. Anyway, the bottom line is: Go for sencha green tea if you want to consume more antioxidants.
Green tea bags vs. loose green tea
When you are looking for the best quality green tea, forget about green tea bags. That’s just because in general, loose green tea leaves have more antioxidants than green tea bags.
Also, another reason why you would want to go for loose green tea is because the tea bags may release additional chemicals into your tea which may not be all that good for you. Some tea bags are even made of plastic and some plastic chemicals can actually leach out of the bag into your tea. Avoid, if you can!
I hope by now you have a good idea of what green tea you should go for if you want to buy the best quality. But just to summarise:
- It’s best to avoid Chinese green tea (although organic versions will be much better for you)
- Japanese green tea is one of the cleanest you can find (and the best)
- Go for certified organic green tea to avoid any pesticides
- Go for Sencha green tea as it has the highest concentration of polyphenols (antioxidants)
- Always buy loose green tea to avoid drinking additional toxins
Do you drink green tea and what types have you tried so far? Have you ever heard of sencha green tea?
* This is a collaborative post