Besides chamomile and peppermint, which I now know to actually be tisanes, green tea was my first introduction to tea long ago. It has been my go-to when I’ve been sick, along with some lemon juice and honey. There have been longstanding claims of the health benefits of green tea.
Studies suggest that regular consumption of green tea can help with weight loss, maintaining heart health, protecting against DNA damage and dementia, and even with depression. It is safe even at 3-4 cups a day; however, you can cause liver damage if you overdo it in supplement form. I’ve accumulated several brands of green tea, so today I tried three.
Brand 1: Triple Leaf Tea’s Green Tea
This tea as a very pleasing mild flavour that was sweet even before I added honey. It’s a very floral green tea that both Kenton and I enjoyed the best. In the ranking for ease of drinking, this one definitely takes first place. It isn’t bitter at all, even at its maximum brewing time. The San Francisco-based company seems to be one of the smaller outfits, but a cool thing about them is that their tea bags are oxygen bleached instead of chlorine bleached, their boxes use biodegradable inks and are made of recycled materials, and some of their envelopes, like the one pictured, are made of paper and fully recyclable.
Brand 2: Numi Organic Tea’s “Gunpowder Green” Tea
While the color of this tea is more delicate after the same brewing time, this green tea has a much bolder and sharper flavour than Triple Leaf Tea’s green tea. It has a more pronounced woodiness that lingers afterward but isn’t altogether unpleasant.
The last version of green tea we tried was definitely unlike the others in terms of taste, look, and preparation requirements. Matcha consists of hand-picked, shade-grown green tea that has been ground into a fine powder after it has been steamed and air dried then de-veined and de-stemmed. It has a distinctly grassy flavour and is often used in Japanese Tea Ceremonies.
These ceremonies have a very long history, and if you ever get the chance to experience a tea ceremony live, I highly recommend that you do. They often perform the ceremony at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens during the annual Cherry Blossom festivals.
Anyway, I don’t have the knowledge or appropriate equipment for a proper brew, let alone a traditional tea ceremony. Amazon does have affordable kits, though, if you’re interested in going about it the classic way. I’m thinking the whisk in particular offers more foam potential than the whisk we own.
Because this tea is so different from the others, I can’t rank it compared to the other two, but I can say that it is worth a try, especially if you prepare it correctly (which I did not). It is usually prepared in a bowl (maybe the one part I could comply with–I do have bowls), and then whisked in a zig-zag motion until dissolved and frothy.
I did whisk it until it was as foamy as I could manage and then sweetened with honey, but my process definitely missed the mark of the beautiful art of the matcha tea ceremony you can see for yourself. I also think because I bought it some time ago, it’s likely not as fresh as it should be. That said, it didn’t taste rancid or stale or anything, and I think it will still work nicely in some baked treats. I got this 8 oz bag for $14 on Amazon, but you can also get 4 oz bags or 1 lb bags. From what I’ve been able to tell, it can keep in the refrigerator for awhile, but most folks encourage you to use up your stash relatively quickly. I”m not even going to tell you when I bought this.
I’m going to play with matcha a bit more tomorrow!