- Created on Thursday, 17 September 2009 11:26
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After you read my last post, did you go look for some green tea? You figured it must be like drinking black tea, right? Just put a tea bag in a tea cup and pour boiling water over it. Maybe add sugar and lemon...
Well, if you have been reading my posts and remember that I am a Master Herbalist, you probably can guess what I think about adding sugar. Many green tea bags include lemongrass (check the label) which will sweeten the tea some. (Unfortunately I am allergic to lemongrass. I say unfortunately because lemongrass is a wonderful medicinal herb in its own right.) Or add a little honey, if you must have it sweeter. At least you would get some additional nutrition. Or have you heard of stevia - a wonderful herb for sweetness? Personally I enjoy green tea without adding any sweetner.
But, lemon? ABSOLUTELY. Squeezing some fresh lemon or lime juice (or orange or grapefruit juice) into your tea cup will actually INCREASE the level of catechins - the naturally occuring antioxidants found in green tea - that the body will absorb.
Unlike black tea, where boiling water is used, green tea is brewed with lower temperature water. Let the water barely reach the boiling point, then let it cool slightly before pouring it over the tea. Then cover the tea cup and let it steep for only one or two minutes. You can reuse the tea leaves several times, depending on the type of green tea. With Chinese gunpowder green tea (my favorite), I can actually make five cups of tea by reusing that initial teaspoon of loose tea each time.
Green tea has a third to half the amount of caffeine than that in a cup of coffee. Most (80%) of the caffeine will be extracted from the leaves in the first cup within 45 seconds. So if you want decaffeinated tea, just pour off the liquid after steeping for 45 seconds and add more hot water and steep again. However the impact of caffeine in green tea, compared to coffee or cocoa, is lessened by at least two of the beneficial components - the catechins I mentioned earlier and the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine directly stimulates the production of alpha brainwaves, thus calming the body while promoting a state of relaxed awareness. Guess that is why, as I sip my green tea, I feel like I am going through a Zen moment...
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