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Green tea is a broad category of tea that’s often categorized by an earthy, grassy, and nutty flavor profile and an impressive roster of health benefits. But like coffee and other beverages, green tea's taste and quality can vary wildly across types and brands.
People have been enjoying green tea for centuries — and it’s no secret why. Not only is green tea a delicious drink, but it’s packed with health benefits, too.
For example, green tea has tons of antioxidants that help protect cells from damage by free radicals. This helps with fat loss, reduced risk of heart disease, cancer prevention, and even improved brain function.
Green tea also has positively bioactive compounds. This means green tea may help protect the brain as it ages and maybe even help reduce the risk of dementia.
The earthy tea may help prolong the lifespan, too. According to a study that followed over 40,000 adults for about a decade, those who drank the greenest tea were more likely to live longer than those who didn’t. In addition, the study found that green tea drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease and stroke.
Even though green tea has many health benefits, some teas may have higher levels of toxic heavy metals like cadmium and lead. And over-exposure to these two heavy metals may damage important enzymes and critical systems in the body.
However, according to research published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “consumption of green tea … is not associated with health hazards related to exposure to heavy metals … “
On average, an eight-ounce cup of green tea has between 30 and 50 milligrams of caffeine. It has less caffeine than black tea and coffee and more than white tea. This makes it a great choice for tea lovers who want a little caffeine boost (but without the jitters). Plus, a little caffeine may help with weight loss, improve memory, and increase alertness.
Some factors may impact green tea caffeine content. For example, longer steep times allow more caffeine to be released from the tea leaves. And matcha typically has slightly more caffeine than other types of green tea.
Tea lovers can find tasty brews online, at local markets, grocery stores, and specialty stores. But no matter where you buy, you must know how to buy.
For example, loose-leaf tea may be more expensive and take longer to steep, but it’s often higher quality. This delivers nuanced flavors and a more authentic tea experience. However, tea bags often cost less and are easier to find in stores.
Either way, store green tea in a cool, dry, and dark place. Doing so keeps tea fresher for longer and preserves its taste.
One of the best things about green tea is that it’s versatile, with so many flavors to explore. Here’s a snapshot of some popular green tea types:
Jasmine green tea blends earthy green tea flavors with soft, sweet jasmine flowers. It’s often delicate, smooth, and gentle with a mild scent and refreshing taste. Sometimes jasmine green tea is made with jasmine oil, or the green tea leaves are scented with jasmine flowers.
Types of jasmine green tea
Mint green tea delivers a refreshing blend of mint and green tea leaves. These teas are uplifting, soothing, and bright — often made with peppermint or spearmint. Try to mint green tea to relax an upset stomach or calm inflamed sinuses.
Types of mint green tea
Ginger green tea is a little sweet, a little spicy, and best served warm. They’re fragrant, delicious, and packed with antioxidants. Plus, some ginger green teas are mixed with other natural ingredients like pear or lemongrass for an even more complex flavor.
Types of ginger green tea
Matcha is a special type of green tea made from finely ground green tea leaves grown in the shade just before harvest. This gives matcha a higher caffeine content and a higher nutritional value.
Matcha is known for its bright green color and thick, powdery consistency. It also has a slightly sweet and bitter flavor profile, often nutty and vegetal as well.
Types of matcha
Gunpowder tea is a type of tea made from tightly rolled leaves of dried tea. Both oolong and green tea can be rolled into a gunpowder shape, preserving the flavor. Gunpowder green tea also usually has a slightly higher caffeine content than traditional green tea.
Types of gunpowder green tea
True tea is made from the leaves of a tea plant. Black, green, oolong, pu-erh, and white teas are all examples of true teas.
Herbal tea is made from edible parts of non-tea plants like spices, flowers, and bark. Chamomile, peppermint, and rooibos teas are all herbal teas.
Both true teas and herbal teas offer health advantages and exciting flavor profiles. Plus, many tea makers create interesting blends with both types of tea so you can enjoy all the benefits in a single cup.