How To Drink Green Tea for Beginners


The following recipe addresses the special diet considerations for: dairy-free; gluten-free; low fat; low glycemic index; vegan; vegetarian; anti-cancer; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; inflammatory bowel diseases


What Japanese and Chinese people have known for centuries – that green
tea is not only a delicacy, when brewed correctly, but also an easy
way to augment one’s health and well-being – is now being verified and
accepted by the medical profession in the Western world. Green tea
contains extremely powerful antioxidants, a range of catechins in
particular, which protect against health problems such as cancer and
cardiovascular disease. It also contains varying amounts of caffeine
bound to tannins; the caffeine content depends on where the tea is
grown. For some types of tea, the caffeine content is comparable to
that of coffee. However, even the green teas with the highest
caffeine content are much gentler on the body and the adrenals than
coffee, the reason being that the caffeine is bound to the tannins in
the tea, which ensures a somewhat slower rush of caffeine into the
blood. The result is a much gentler and more sustained energy boost,
compared to coffee and black tea. Also, you won’t experience the
energy downs you get from coffee, when the rush of caffeine suddenly
stops as abruptly as it started. So for those having trouble getting
through the day without coffee, which stresses the body’s
biochemistry, green tea is not merely an alternative, but an
improvement. It can do what you want from coffee, but it has none of
the negative effects.

Green tea also seems to increase fat oxidation
to a level greater than what can be explained by its caffeine content
alone. So green tea might also be good for weight loss when combined
with a proper diet. The tannins in green tea have a beneficial effect
on the GI flora; they inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the
GI tract. One Japanese study showed antibacterial and even
bactericidal effect against some types of pathogenic bacteria, which
might attack the GI tract1.

Green tea might also be a possible agent
for maintaining remission in patients with an inflammatory bowel
disease2, because of its powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant
properties. Quite a few people have a horrible experience the first
time they drink green tea and thus shun it from then on. For them, it
is yet another affirmation that healthy and tasty are incompatible
opposites when it comes to food and drink.

The secret is to blanch the
tea for about one minute and discard the water to steep out some of the
bittertasting compounds in the leaves. Once the water is discarded,
you can start brewing real green tea. A general guideline is to use 1
tsp of green tea for each cup brewed. If you’re making a whole pot,
then add an extra tsp of green tea “for the pot”, as they say in
China. Do not use a tea filter or anything like that. The tealeaves
should simply lie in the cup or pot, so that they can unfold
completely when water is added. That way, the largest possible
surface area of the leaves is exposed to the hot water, which ensures
optimum extraction of all the healthy and great tasting compounds
inside the tealeaves.

In Japan, the time the tea is left to steep
depends on what time of the day the tea is consumed. From morning
until early afternoon, the tea should be left to steep for only 3
minutes. Such a short time ensures a higher ratio of caffeine and
other energizing compounds to calming compounds, which purportedly
makes ones thinking more focused and intense. Just what you need
while working. From late afternoon and until bedtime, green tea
should be left to steep for 5 minutes. This purportedly ensures a
lower ratio of caffeine and other energizing compounds to calming
compounds, which is perfect for reflecting upon the day that has
passed.

How to brew green tea

Each recipe makes one large pot of green tea, which serves 4 people.
If you want to sweeten the tea, use small amounts of either high
quality organic honey or stevia.

Basic green tea

  • 5 tsp green tea (1 tsp for each cup of water and an extra tsp for the pot)
  • 5 cups of boiling water

1) Put the tea leaves in a pot and add 1 cup of boiling water, which
should be enough to cover the leaves. Leave for one minute and then
discard the water while keeping the leaves in the pot.
2) Add 4 cups of boiling water and leave the tea to steep for 3 to 5
minutes depending on the time of day, before pouring the green tea
into 4 cups and serving.

Green tea with peppermint

Peppermint has a long use as a digestive tonic and goes extremely well
together with green tea, both in terms of taste and beneficial health
effects. Quite a few people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome
have found relief using peppermint, so green tea with peppermint ought
the have a good effect as well. Especially when considering how
beneficial green tea is for the digestive system on its own.

  • 5 tsp green tea
  • 5 cups of boiling water
  • 3 tsp dried peppermint leaves or 1 packed cup of fresh leaves

1) Put the green tea leaves in a pot and add 1 cup of boiling water,
which should be enough to cover the leaves. Leave for one minute and
discard the water while keeping the leaves in the pot.
2) Add peppermint and 4 cups of boiling water. Leave the tea to steep
for 3-5 minutes, depending on the time of the day, before pouring the
green tea with peppermint into 4 cups.

Green tea with licorice root and cinnamon

Licorice and cinnamon are both known for – apart from their great
taste – their antimicrobial properties and balancing properties upon
the female hormonal cycle. Thus, green tea with licorice root and
cinnamon might be used to relieve the problems of menopause, if drunk
several times a day, for digestive problems, and also for the flu;
licorice root has antiviral properties.

  • 5 tsp green tea
  • 5 cups of boiling water
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 licorice root
  • honey or stevia to taste

1) Put the green tea leaves in a pot and add 1 cup of boiling water,
which should be enough to cover the leaves. Leave for one minute and
discard the water while keeping the leaves in the pot.
2) Add cinnamon, licorice root, and 4 cups of boiling water and leave
the tea to steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on the time of day, before
pouring into 4 cups and serving.

Green tea with ginger

Ginger, like green tea, is essentially a medical food. It can inhibit
inflammation, has antimicrobial properties, relieves constipation and
nausea, and purportedly increases fertility. It also tastes great
added to green tea. Fresh ginger is to prepare over the dried
variety, which tends to taste slightly of soap.

  • 5 tsp green tea
  • 5 cups of boiling water
  • 3/4 oz fresh ginger, cut into thin slices or thin threads

1) Put the green tea leaves in a pot and add 1 cup of boiling water,
which should be enough to cover the leaves. Leave for one minute and
discard the water while keeping the leaves in the pot.
2) Add ginger and 4 cups of boiling water and leave the tea to steep
for 3-5 minutes, depending on the time of day, before pouring into 4
cups and serving.

1 Toda M et. al. Antibacterial and bactericidal activities of Japanese
green tea. Nippon Saikingaku Zasshi 1989; 44: 669-72.
2 Alic M. Green tea for remission in Crohn’s disease? American Journal
of Gastroenterology 1999; 94: 1710-1.

Chef Oscar Umahro Cadogan Written by Chef Oscar Umahro Cadogan

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