In our quest for the best green tea brand, we must lay out the foundation for this search, meaning “what really defines the best green tea brand?” Is it the color? is it the taste? is it how hot it is? or maybe the level of benefits it provides?
Personally, I would take on benefits over taste, color, or hotness (of course i’m kidding about how hot it is, but then again, you might find out there who really considers this…what do you know!) So as we are basing this quest on the benefits, the essential item that poses the health benefits of green tea would be the essential component of green tea, being catechins. The more abundant these are, the happier we will be. One of the reasons is that catechins contain the most active antioxidant, epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG). So what is the brand that provides the most levels of catechins with these EGCGs?
- Bottled Green Tea: the first alternative we are looking at would be green tea provided in bottles. Even though it is promoted as “The Green Tea”, yet it lacks most of the benefits of the green tea since it contains very low levels of catechins according to several studies conducted on them. Also on another end they are very much sweetened and contain a lot of calories, so they do not help in our main theme which is green tea weight loss. And if that is the case for normal bottled green tea, let us not talk about the energy drinks which are themed as green tea, as they can contain harmful products which might weaken the bones and the teeth, and sometimes cause cancer.
- Decaffeinated Green Tea: the second option for the best green tea brand would be the decaffeinated green tea. In this case, the tea should have lost 98% of the caffeine to be considered decaffeinated. And the most efficient way of decaffeination is through the natural way through the use of a chemical called ethyl acetate. The issue with the use of this chemical is that, while it almost wipes out caffeine, it also as you guessed takes along with it the catechins, hence causing green tea to be much less effective. In fact, there will only be around one third of catechins left, a total of 5 to 50 milligrams at most will be left, from an initial 21 to 103 milligrams of catechins available.
- Instant Mix Green Tea: This is similar to gatorade and other instant mix solvants for preparing iced and cold drinks. As it is the easiest to prepare, yet the good thing is some of them come without sweeteners, which avoids the problems found with the bottled green tea listed above. Yet according to a study in 2007, they also contain only around 10% of the catechins, so they lose most of their health benefits, but also the process of making them as powders according to another study in 2005 adds to their hazards with the possibility of prolonged use to cause skeletal fluorosis.
- Tea Bags or Lose Tea? This is a very important question that is often asked by green tea lovers. Well to give it straight to you, all studies on the benefits of green tea are based in countries (Asian) where tea is drank as lose leaves, not as bags. In fact, there are no studies based on benefits of bagged green tea. And the problem with bagged tea is that it is based on a concept called CTC for Crush, Tear, and Curl, a process usually applied on low quality leaves, which also causes rapid deterioration as leaves are chopped to very small particles of 0.2 to 1.5 mm large, which might cause catechins to lose freshness fast and also lose taste (for all taste lovers out there).
- Flavored Tea: While it contains around 43 milligrams, which is often better than other brands we have mentioned before, yet this still is much lower than what the normal green tea would contain. To add to that, and since we were talking at the beginning as to the criteria which gives the best green tea brand, we discussed the taste, well this is where we tell you that the flavor of the original green tea is an indicator of how good it is, since the levels of theanins, another good constituant, also indicate how much good it tastes and how good it is. You can always add lemon of honey to enhance the taste, but by itself it should be tasty!
- Not all Tea Leaves are Equal: When was the green tea harvested is an essential indicator of its health benefits. In fact, if you harvest tea in April or May, you are having the best quality green tea. The reason behind that is that at this stage, the leaves are still young and are fresh. The older the leaf is, the less levels of catechins and theanine it has.
So as a summary, what type of green tea should you go for? Young Lose Green Tea Leaves harvested in the spring would be our choice for best green tea brand. If you can’t reach out to such a type, you can always check the alternatives we spoke of above.
Enjoy your tea!
Photo Credit by Rob Ireton