Hack Your Tea – How To Get 5 Times More Out Of A Cup Of Green Tea

By Seppo | Diet

146

In the previous post I talked about the health and acne-fighting benefits of green tea. In this article I’m going to show you how to hack your tea so that you can get 5 times more antioxidants from the same cup of tea.

This article we are going to get a little geeky. That is how to choose and prepare your tea for maximum flavonoid content. We are going to compare different varieties and types of teas for their ECGC content, and explore how brewing time and temperature affects the antioxidant potential. It’s gonna be geeky, but it’s also going to be fun J.

How much ECGC in a cup of green tea

In the previous post about green tea I talked about the catechin called ECGC. Many studies used therapeutic dosages of 300 to 1000mg per day. And that’s nice to know but not very practical. What we are interested is how many cups of green tea one should drink.

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The USDA in their 2007 report analyzed the flavonoid content of nearly 400 food items and they also reported EGCG content. I dug through the report and came up with the following figures of EGCG content in different teas per cup.

  • Brewed green tea: 180mg
  • Brewed green tea, decaffeinated: 60mg
  • Brewed green tea, flavored: 45mg
  • Ready-to-drink green tea: 10mg
  • Brewed oolong tea: 80mg
  • Brewed black tea: 20mg

The above figures are mean values from the report. There was a considerable variation for each of those groups, for example brewed green tea values varied from 5mg to 460mg per cup. Soil quality, growing condition, leaf age and other factors affect the flavonoid and ECGC content of teas, hence the large variation in measured levels. Similarly the type of brewed tea (tea bag, loose leaf or powder) affects ECGC content, as we’ll discuss a bit later.

We can also see this when we compare brewed green tea to flavored and ready-to-drink varieties. Those often use lower quality tea leaves and that’s reflected in their ECGC content. Decaffeination process removes some EGCG along with the caffeine, and that’s why decaffeinated varieties have 2/3 les ECGC.

Brewing conditions

How you brew the tea also makes a difference on the ECGC content and antioxidant potential of your cup of tea. In this bit we’ll focus on water temperature and brewing time.

Note that some of the figures in this chapter don’t quite match up with the figures reported by USDA. I don’t really know why. But don’t get hung up on the numbers, rather look at the trends and the overall picture.

Brewing temperature

This figure shows the effect brewing water temperature has to ECGC and polyphenol content of tea.

Chart on how brewing temperature affects cathechin content of green tea

Source: Total Phenol, Catechin, and Caffeine Contents of Teas Commonly Consumed in the United Kingdom. (PDF)

 

The take-away message is that the hotter the water the more antioxidant you can expect your tea to have. Note that the EGCG extraction is particularly sensitive to water temperature (the line with solid circle markers). Brewing in 80 degrees Celsius means you get only about 60% of the ECGC from the tea leaf.

Brewing time

The following chart is quite interesting. Let’s first focus on the brewing time and how it affects ECGC content.

Chart on the effect of brewing time on ECGC content in green tea

Source: Factors affecting the levels of catechins and caffeine in tea beverage: estimated daily intakes and antioxidant activity. (PDF)

 

To get to these figures researchers brewed tea at 100 degrees Celsius for 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 5 minutes. Tea was used at typical tea bag concentrations, i.e. 1g of tea leaves per 100ml of water.

As is plainly obvious the longer your brew the tea the more you get out of it. The optimal time seems to be about 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water. The only exception is powdered green tea where brewing time doesn’t matter so much. Powdered tea seems to give out it’s antioxidants much faster than other forms of tea.

Type of green tea

If you look at the previous chart again you’ll see three forms of green tea: Tea leaves (means loose leaf tea), powdered and tea bag. You’ll also see that when you make tea using tea bags you’ll get significantly less ECGC than from loose leaf and powdered teas. The authors speculated that this could be because the tea bag itself prevents some ECGC from being absorbed. Or, more likely, that tea bags contain lower quality leaves.

White vs. green tea

Some people claim that white tea is even healthier than green tea. Unfortunately there’s no good definition of what white tea means and most studies don’t even mention white tea as separate category. I did found a few studies that compared black, green and white. In this study white and green tea had very similar ECGC and flavonoid levels.

Interestingly one study noted that white tea had almost double the caffeine content of green tea.

To milk or not to milk

Some people like to add a touch of milk to their tea. Some papers noted that there’s debate in the scientific community about whether adding milk takes away some of the health benefits of tea. Some say that adding milk may reduce the antioxidant potential. Some say it has no effect.

Get 5 times more out of your tea

If you are anything like me you can get much more out of your tea by following these tips. Before I wrote this article I did everything exactly the worst way, the lazy way. I used tea bags (cos they are easy), and brewed my tea for no more than a minute in less than boiling water.

So let’s see what happens when we go from that to using high quality loose lead tea and brewing it in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes. A quick calculation from the charts above shows that the ECGC content and antioxidant potential of my cup of tea just multiplied by 3 to 5 times.

Take-home messages

Type and quality of tea and how you brew it affect the antioxidant potential of your cup of tea. Here’s how to get most out of your cup:

  • Choose a high quality tea. Avoid mass market brands and choose a specialist brand from Japan or China.
  • Choose either powdered or loose lead green tea.
  • Brew your tea in boiling hot water for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Whether you choose green or white tea doesn’t matter – they both have similar antioxidant potential and ECGC levels.
  • Don’t put milk into your tea as it potentially diminishes some of the antioxidant value.

Just by following these tips you can get 3 to 5 times more ECGC from the same amount of tea.

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(146) comments

Stella July 18, 2012

Interesting, I’ve always read you shouldn’t use boiling hot water for green tea, mainly because the tea’s supposed to taste bitter afterwards and/or “the good stuff” (vitamins etc.) would get destroyed.
However, I’m going to try it with boily water from now on.

Reply
    Seppo Puusa July 20, 2012

    Stella, that’s what I used to also think. I was quite surprised when those studies showed that higher temperatures lead to quite significantly higher antioxidant potential. I didn’t post that image, but one of the studies had a chart showing antioxidant potential of a cup of tea and how it varied based on extraction temperature, length and solvent. Higher temperature and longer time lead to higher antioxidant potential.

    Reply
Kim July 24, 2012

Hey Seppo,
Thanks for explaining this!
What type or bramd of green tea do you recommend? I have been doing the bag tea, so ill have to try the powder..
Also i had read that the caffeine in tea is not good for acne.? So i had stopped using it for a while and it will also keep me awake at night.. Do you have this problem with it
More than 3 cups serms a little harsh to me on the kidneys to filter all of this?

Reply
    Seppo July 25, 2012

    It’s hard for me to recommend any specific brands given that I live in Thailand. As a general guideline I would go with either looseleaf or powder teas from a speciality brand. So not Lipton or other big tea makers. Some speciality green tea brand from Japan is what I would go with (and what I have here). They are more expensive, but price per cup is still quite low.

    What you want is tea that’s green after brewing. Like you see on this page. You’ll probably get very high quality tea from that site, but I don’t have any experience so I can’t recommend it.

    Another thing I discovered just recently. High quality green tea will oxidize and change color if you let it sit for too long. It will actually turn dark yellow to almost brown. I had this happen to me the first time I made my new loose leaf tea. I had powdered tea before and that never turned brown. So maybe the powdered tea was not so high quality and green came from food color, I don’t know. So you’ll have to drink the tea within 2 to 3 hours of brewing. Otherwise the antioxidants start to oxidize and you’ll lose the health benefits.

    As to caffeine. Green tea doesn’t have that much. When you look at actual medical research (not fear mongering from alt-med people) there’s no real harm from drinking moderate amounts of coffee. Green tea has even less caffeine. Caffeine is not a problem for me as I drink 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day. So I’m used to it.

    Reply
      Looper June 20, 2014

      Actually Lipton has a rather high EGCG content and is a very cost efficient source of it. Check out this article: http://www.bottomlinepublications.com/content/article/diet-a-exercise/warning-your-green-tea-isn-t-what-you-think-it-is

      Reply
        Seppo Puusa June 21, 2014

        Lipton probably sources their teas from all over the world. EGCG content of tea levels depends heavily on the soil and growing conditions. So I would expect there to be a lot of variation in EGCG content of Lipton teas (as well as any other mass market brands).

        Reply
      Mara October 23, 2014

      Hi Seppo,
      Can you tell me which Japanese brand you are using? I am in Asia so I am sure I can get a hold of that. What were your results while drinking the tea?

      Reply
        Seppo Puusa October 23, 2014

        Here’s a picture of the tea I’m using. Though I’m not sure there’s any point to look for the same brand. It’s just some fairly cheap Japanese loose leaf tea that I found on local supermarkets here in Bangkok. It makes nice tea so I like to drink it. I don’t think it gives me any acne-specific results since I don’t have hormonal type acne. I mainly drink it because I know it’s good for me.

        Green tea package

        Reply
          Coni January 12, 2015

          Dear Jeppo:
          I was looking which variety of green tea to buy, and found that the Bancha type is reduced in caffeine (it says it’s from the third harvest of the season, allowing the natural decreasing of caffeine), so it may have also less EGCG? I know you stated you don’t take it for acne reasons, but its an interesing point. Also I couldn’t find a reliable article about EGCG content according to the process given to the leaves (steamed, sun dried, etc).
          I think I’ll choose the gunpowder variety (loose leaf)
          Thank you so much for creating this website!

          Reply
          Beaker January 15, 2015

          Coni:
          See the article below, it studied the different steps in green tea manufacturing: fresh flush . . . pan-fired etc. Hope this helps. Factors Affecting the Caffeine and Polyphenol Contents of Black and Green Tea Infusions J. Agric. Food Chem. 2001, 49, 5340-5347

          Reply
          Seppo Puusa January 15, 2015

          According to the article Beaker mentioned, it seems that processing doesn’t affect catechin content of green tea leaves that much. So processed green tea leaves have more or less as much catechins than ‘raw’ leaves do. Anyway, my suggestion is not to worry too much about catechin content. Because, in reality, there’s so much variation depending on soil quality, growing conditions, weather conditions, etc. that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to know how much EGCG there is in the leaves you buy. Choose a good quality loose leaf tea and leave it at that. Much less to worry about :)

          Reply
          Coni January 15, 2015

          Ok then, thank you both for your answers! :)

          Reply
Patricia September 11, 2012

I’m trying to help my son, his acne is getting worst. HIs older brother is now at a point that it’s managable. What’s the best way to brew this tea without the tea bags? Any suggestions, I’m new at this.

Reply
    Seppo September 12, 2012

    Patricia, I normally just boil some water and pour it over loose leaf tea. You might get a bit better results if you dump the leaves into boiling water and keep the heat on for 3 minutes. The way I do it the water cools a bit during the time it takes for tea to brew.

    You probably know this already, but you can’t use tea bag tea for this. You need to buy loose leaf tea, it’s usually mentioned in the packaging.

    Reply
Petusha October 22, 2012

Thank you for a very interesting article, all the facts were very surprising to me. But it made me think, can an steel brewing sifter (sorry, probably not using the correct expression) harm the antioxidants in tea? Coz then it might be another point where I do wrong….?

Reply
    Seppo October 26, 2012

    Petusha, I’m sorry but I don’t know that. I really have no idea whether steel would cause more damage to antioxidants in tea.

    Reply
ramon February 11, 2013

HI, VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE ABOUT THE GREEN TEA.
I LOVE DRINKING HOT TEA, BUT I DONT DO IT OFTEN. I HAVE A VERY PRONE ACNE SKIN SINCE I WAS 15 I THINK, NO IM 26 IMAGINE HOW HARD ITS FOR ME TO DEAL WITH THIS ACNE THING. SOMETIMES IT GETS OK AND SOMETIMES ITS JUST OUT OF CONTROL AND MY SKY JUST BREAKS OUT LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW, IT REALLY AFFECTS ME.
THANKS BOUT THE ADVICE I WILL START BUYING THE GREEN TEA AND SEE HOW IT GOES. IM REALLY TIRED OF DOING ALL KINDS OF STUFF TO MAKE IT STOP BUT NOTHING HELP.
I HOPE THIS REMEDY HELPS ME, I HAVE. I THINK I FOUND THE BEST SITE AFTER SO MANY YEARS OF SUFFERING!!!

Reply

Great article. I love the study about brewing times and temperatures, there’s a lot of misinformation about that on the net. Thanks for clearing that up.

I would add one tip: add a squirt of ascorbic acid (vitamin C, probably from a lemon or lime). This will help with absorption of catechins.

Here’s the citation for that:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996909002634

I write more here:
http://www.loveandfreedomproject.com/how-green-tea-made-me-superhuman/

Reply
    Seppo March 28, 2013

    Interesting blog Andrew, especially like the clean design :)

    I covered catechin bioavailability and shelf-life in my other tea hacking post. In that post I mentioned the study you linked (and a few more). Unfortunately a squirt of lemon or lime won’t do much. You need about 50 mg of vit C per cup – far more than you would get from a lemon. For example a cup of lemon juice has about 112 mg of vit C. I use powdered vitamin C. Just a little tip of a teaspoon is enough. Powdered vit C is dirt cheap, I think I paid $10 for the bottle that lasts for 2 to 3 years :)

    Reply
Ricardo Caicedo April 23, 2013

Interesting article, Seppo.

You’re hacking tea for EGCG content but unfortunately, you’re casting taste aside. The reason some green teas aren’t brewed in boiling water is precisely to diminish catechin (includes EGCG) and caffeine content, so that it’s not so astringent and bitter.

Delicate Japanese green teas like shincha and gyokuro are brewed at even lower temperatures, with the goal of suppressing catechin and caffeine while maximizing amino acids (includes L-theanine) for a sweet, brothy flavor.

Another alternative to get the full amount of EGCG is to drink powdered tea, that way you are consuming the leaf as a whole, as is the case with matcha.

Reply
    Seppo April 24, 2013

    Thanks for your comment, Ricardo.

    Yeah, I figured that this will affect the taste. I’m sure Japanese tea masters are turning in their grave for this (and the other tea hacking) article.

    I’m mostly interested in the health effects of green tea. The taste is acceptable to me. Yes, it’s a bit more bitter than normally, but I don’t find it unpleasant. I mostly drink iced green tea anyway.

    Reply
Dugen Urzaa July 13, 2013

After a bit of experimentation (and quite a few dollars), I’d like to recommend Harney & Sons tea out of New York. Their consistancy, and value for the dollar, is right up there. I only drink their Japanese Green, so I can’t comment on anything else they sell. For beginners, I’d recommend the Matcha iri Genmaicha. It is flavored with dried and popped rice (genmai) so the flavor is a bit different, I’ve found it is the most forgiving when it comes to brewing. A little too hot, okay. A little too long, okay.

For the experienced. I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve ever order (though I can’t afford their expensive stuff). If you can find 2 or 3 friends and order by the pound, the value is great.

Steep-on.

(and no, I have no affiliation with the company what-so-ever, I just love tea.)

Reply
    Seppo July 13, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    Reply
Dugen Urzaa July 13, 2013

Just to follow up. I hadn’t actually ordered from Harney & Sons in a few years (as I live in Japan). After my previous post, I went to their site to see what they currenty offer. Their prices have got up about 20 to 25% since I ordered from them regularly. That being said, their tea was always a good value, and it still may be compariatively, I’m just not as sure as I was.

Ganbatte

Reply
Angie August 19, 2013

I have had great results with tea tree topical treatments from The Body Shop so I am excited how drinking several cups of green tea will fare on my acne prone skin. Tea tree has helped a lot but noticed that I am not obtaining the same results as before so I want to work from the inside out instead of just outwardly. I realize that tea tree oil is not green tea but perhaps tea is what works for me so I am willing to digest it while using tea tree topically. I wanted help in choosing a brand of green tea. I’m looking at two brands: DoMatcha Green Tea (http://www.amazon.com/DoMatcha-Green-Organic-Matcha-1-0-Ounce/dp/B0019FOZC4/ref=pd_sim_gro_3) and Matcha from Teavana (http://www.teavana.com/the-teas/green-teas/p/matcha-japanese-green-tea-40g). These are powdered so must I also purchase the whisk, strainer, and bowl?

Reply
    Seppo August 20, 2013

    I’m not really an expert on green tea, so I can’t say which would be better. As far as health benefits go, there’s probably no difference. These seem to be matcha grade. So they need to be prepared little bit differently. Just search online how to brew matcha.

    Reply
Jason August 25, 2013

I heard that lemon juice will increase green tea absorption.

Anyone else hear that before?

Reply
    Seppo August 25, 2013

    I wrote about this in the other tea hacking post, which is a members-only post. In short, yes, lemon juice can increase EGCG absorption but you need to add so much lemon juice that the tea becomes unpalatable. Adding just a few drops of lemon juice to a cup of tea does nothing.

    Reply
Caitlin Klein September 11, 2013

Can you take green tea extract instead ofdrinking tea?

Reply
    Seppo September 12, 2013

    Yes, but that kinda defeats the purpose of using food and diet to heal your acne.

    Reply
Adel-Alexander Aldilemi September 11, 2013

Do you recommend any brands?

Reply
    Seppo September 12, 2013

    No sorry, I’m not an expert on tea. That said, any decent quality loose leaf tea should work.

    Reply
Chris September 23, 2013

According to one manufacturer of Chun Mee (Precious eyebrow tea) the tea is destroyed if its steeped for more than 2 mins. And they also say that 100 degrees is too hot for green tea and recommend water at 80 degrees. This confuses me because the only reason I’m drinking the tea is to get the antioxidant benefits but the guidelines here are wrong according to the manufacturer. I’m not saying that this method is wrong, maybe the manufacturer is wrong. But there’s no way for us normal consumers to know which works best.

Reply
    Seppo September 25, 2013

    Chris, I can’t speak for the manufacturer. But all the studies I looked at didn’t show any destruction of catechins – even when exposed to boiling water for 30 minutes. The fact that those catechins are present in tea brewed with boiling water is pretty strong evidence that they are not destroyed :)

    Adding to my earlier comment, I did some PubMed searches and found another study that wasn’t available when I wrote this post. The study came to somewhat different results as the studies I used as reference to this post. The new study showed best results with 80 degrees water, thought the advantage over 90 or 100 degrees water was minimal. Furthermore, this new study used 30 minutes extraction time, which makes it very impractical for daily use. What the study shows is that even 90 to 100 degrees water doesn’t harm the catechins. Here’s the link to the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21905216

    Reply
Mariah October 4, 2013

Your blog posts have helped me a lot in my decision to add green tea to my lifestyle. I just quit smoking last week and I want to be much more healthy so that hopefully my skin will look better!

Thank you for helping to bring research studies to the light.

Reply
    Seppo October 5, 2013

    Happy to help, and glad to hear you found the site useful.

    Reply
Liora A November 10, 2013

Hi Seppo.. can you please tell me which brand… and from where you ordered the vitamin c powder.. a link from amazon or iherb would be great…

also how much of it should we put into our tea?

Reply
    Seppo November 10, 2013

    You can use any vitamin C powder you want, but I’m using Now Foods, Vitamin C Crystals

    http://www.iherb.com/now-foods-vitamin-c-crystals-8-oz-227-g/413?ic=5&flt=0000&rcode=kmd933

    You only need a minute quantities of it. You can do the math yourself, but 1/2 tea spoon of that powder contains 2250mg of vitamin A and you only need 50 to 60mg per cup to improve bioavailability. So we are talking about a minuscule amount. I just get little bit of the powder on the tip of a teaspoon and mix it in.

    Reply
Brendan November 13, 2013

When it comes to EGCG content, matcha is the king. A similar study by the University of Colorado showed that drinking a cup of matcha provides the same EGCG content as 137 cups of regular green tea, and at least 3 times more than any other comparable beverage source.

If you want to try out matcha, skip the cheap stuff. I recommend premium organic matcha for two reasons:
1. Regular grade matcha tastes rather bitter. Genuine premium grade matcha is derived from only the best leaves from first flush of leaves produced by the tea plant and produces a noticeably sweeter, more pleasant flavour.
2. Because the whole leaf is being consumed in the case of matcha, a certified organic product ensures you’re not injecting any unwanted chemicals hitchhiking their way into your system via the ground up leaves. In fact this goes for all teas for me!

Since making matcha a part of my daily routine I’ve honestly turned back the clock. I feel more energetic, more focused and more positive. And on the odd occasion I’ve enjoyed a night out a little too much, I’m still up the next day and ready to get stuck into whatever needs to get done. I feel like I’m in my early 20s again.

I’ve found the matcha from Qurious Blends to be the best quality I can source here in Australia. It’s not the cheapest, but you have to pay for quality. This is their site: http://www.quriousblends.com

I hope this info helps someone out there!

B

Reply
    Seppo November 13, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Brendan.

    When you said that a study showed that matcha has 137 times more EGCG than regular green tea, my skeptical radar went into overdrive. I tracked down the study, and while the claim is technically correct, it’s not the whole story.

    The 137 figure comes from comparing methanol extracted matcha to water extracted green tea leaves. Immersing tea leaves into boiling methanol extracts pretty much all the catechins from them, whereas there are still catechins left in the leaves after water extraction. Comparing water extraction to water extraction we find that tea brewed from leaves had more EGCG than matcha.

    Methanol extraction is useful for determining the total catechin content of tea, but obviously is not that suitable for making tea at home.

    The researchers make the argument that since you also consume the matcha powder you get all the catechins from the tea powder and hence the 137 times figure is justified. I do, however, have several problems with that statement. 1) you never consume all the powder as most of it settles to the bottom of the cup. 2) Even if you do consume all the powder, how much of the EGCG you absorb and how much just passes through the stomach.

    Anyway, I’m sure drinking matcha will give you more EGCG than loose leaf tea.

    Reply
    Beaker March 23, 2014

    An issue with this study is the distressingly low numbers it found for both Matcha and the Tazo China Green Tips. The study found only 0.32mg EGCG/g for Matcha and 0.42mg EGCG/g for the Tazo tea when brewed with water. Other studies have found between 19-47mg EGCG/g tea when brewed with water. The methanol extracted Matcha number of 57.4mg EGCG/g is in the same order of magnitude as the other studies. I don’t know how good of a model methanol extraction is for what takes place during digestion, but I think the real issue is this studies’ low water extract numbers. If you believe the other studies, 2 that I looked at, then the EGCG levels are comparable. The jury is still out for me on consuming the whole leaf due to heavy metals concerns and I have not found a study that tested for total metals in green tea only the water extracts.

    Reply
      Seppo March 25, 2014

      Good point, I didn’t think to compare the water extracted numbers to other studies. If that indeed is the case then this study smells very sensationalist to me. Perhaps the ‘Bit Matcha’ had their fingers in the pie.

      Reply
        Beaker March 25, 2014

        Yea the conclusions of this study are even dubious ” . . . drinking matcha will result in dramatically greater intake of EGCG . . .[than] green tea”. The authors seem to ignore the low water number for matcha. I do wish that green tea manufacturers and green tea beverage manufacturers would publish on their websites at a minimum the expected EGCG levels for their products accounting for inventory turnover rates, but as we all know that’s not the only factor in our purchase decisions (perceived quality, name recognition, etc.). The more I study this subject the more sense it makes to include this in your daily routine.

        Reply
Brendan November 13, 2013

Thanks Seppo. I forgot to compliment you on the great article in my first post by the way. great work and thanks for publishing.

You may be right about how much EGCG is actually absorbed but two things from my point of view:
1. If 137 times more is available that’s 137 times more chance of any making into my system; and
2. If you leave a bunch in the bottom of the cup: a) you are making it wrong; and b) you can always add a splash more warm water when you’re done to finish it up.

I’ve been an and green tea drinker since I can remember but drinking matcha has taken my total feeling of wellness to a while new level.

B

Reply
    Seppo November 14, 2013

    You are of course right on both points, and I’m sure you will absorb more EGCG from matcha than from loose leaf or bagged tea.

    Reply
Bilal November 23, 2013

Very nice article. I was kinda worried about whether I was using good quality green tea. Here in Pakistan we have lipton but we buy from our local brand called TAPAL. You mentioned that a good quality green tea turns brown if left for 2 -3 hours, so it was kind of happy feeling cause TAPAL’s Jasmine green tea leaves alwasy turned dark browny whenever i had lft it in a cup for a couple of hours. Still, will search local supermarkets for any Japanese Green Tea brand. Though TAPAL’s one box of Jasmine Green Tea costs Rs.150, almost $1.5! Cheap and awesome!

Reply
    Seppo November 23, 2013

    I’m sure you’ll do just fine even with the local brand. There’s no need to pay a lot of money for green tea. Better qualities do have somewhat more EGCG, but I’m not sure how much of a difference in your health that makes.

    Reply
Mary Biemer November 26, 2013

Hi Seppo, Was wondering why flavored green tea has less EGCG? Also i get my looae leaf green tea from Wegmen’s grocery store in the USA. Not sure how it compares in quality but it’s convenient.

Reply
    Seppo November 27, 2013

    Flavored green tea is probably made of lower quality tea leaves.

    Reply
      Looper June 20, 2014

      Maybe flavored green tea just contains less tea per bag/serving?

      Reply
Swine November 30, 2013

Great post, but how many grams of tea should we boil in water and how much water?

Reply
    Seppo November 30, 2013

    If I remember correctly, the normal ‘dose’ is 2g of tea leaves per cup of water.

    Reply
Mary November 30, 2013

BTW i boiled it as stated for 4 mimutes- really awful tasting. Too bad it tastes so bad but is so good for you.

Reply
    Seppo November 30, 2013

    Yeah, this is very unfortunate. I think exposure to hot water extracts not only the good stuff but also tannins that make the tea bitter. I’ve reached a sort of a compromise with my tea. I don’t boil the tea leaves, partly because I use water heater for this. I just pour boiling water on the leaves and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. That way I still get tea that tastes acceptable.

    I also noticed that adding a bit of vitamin C powder to the tea somewhat neutralizes the bitter taste.

    Reply
Mary December 1, 2013

Will try the vit.C

Reply
andrew wu December 8, 2013

I noticed that you said that you don’t boil the tea leaves in water, rather you just pour the boiling water over the tea leaves. Do you feel like you are probably getting less antioxidants this way?

I notice when I put the leaves in a filter, and then place that filter over the boiling water, sometimes the boiling water will end up evaporating when I leave it for a little too long. I wonder if the good stuff taht was already in the boiling water, gets evaporated as well.

Also, do you eat the leaves osmetimes as well? If they are sitting at the bottom of your cup, inevitbly some left overs will get in your mouth when you sip on the tea. I wonder what kind of nurtitional content is in the leaves.

Reply
    Seppo December 9, 2013

    Yes, I’m probably getting somewhat fewer antioxidants this way, but it’s far easier to use water heater to boil water and pour over leaves. I don’t really feel like taking out the kettle, putting on stove, etc. just to make tea.

    I don’t know if evaporating water picks up any antioxidants from tea.

    The leaves (after boiling) will still have some antioxidants, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to eat them. If you absolutely want to maximize your antioxidant intake, then you should look into matcha or other powdered teas.

    Reply
      Looper June 20, 2014

      It’s a bad idea to eat them. Green tea may contain quite a bit of lead. Especially if it was grown in China. Luckily it doesn’t end up in the water.

      Reply
Jeff December 13, 2013

I hope you didn’t already answer this question, but I am wondering about the amount of water. i know a cup is 8 oz, but I have a 16 oz cup. Does this amount of water cut in half the amount of ecgc assuming the same amount of tea is used?

Reply
    Seppo December 15, 2013

    Depends on what do you mean by cut in half? Yes, if you talk about EGCG per any given tea volume, but the total amount of EGCG should remain the same.

    Reply
Martha December 30, 2013

Thank you very much for your research and sharing the details for all. I was wondering, is there anything to be gained by chewing the remaining tealeaves after drinking the tea? Would it be harmful? I for one would be perfectly happy to chew and then swallow them!

Reply
    Seppo December 31, 2013

    I for one think they would probably taste quite awful :) There are antioxidants left in tea leaves after brewing, so you will get some extra antioxidants from eating the, but I seriously doubt it would have any real effect on your skin. Better option would be to make another cup of tea from the same leaves.

    Reply
Martha December 30, 2013

Just read all the posts. Found my question regarding chewing the remaining tealeaves and swallowing had already been asked and replied to. Thank you again for sharing your research with all.

Reply
Beaker February 3, 2014

The study that looked at brewing methods and compared tea leaves to powder to tea bag only contained a single tea sample to represent the tea bag result. This lower result most likely is due to the type of tea, but many studies remove the tea from the bag so it can be weighed before steeping. I did find a second study, International Journal of Food Science and Technology 2013, 48, 163–171, that also noted lower phenolic/flavonoid contents but the manufacturer was not identified for the bag tea obtained from US suppliers. The variation in catechin concentration is highly brand dependent, see NUTRITION AND CANCER, 45(2), 226–235. If your purchase decision is based solely on catechin content, based on the above study: Celestial Seasoning Green Tea, Lipton Green Tea, Bigelow Darjeeling Blend (Black Tea) have the most. The brewing instructions above will also maximize the amount of anti-oxidants you get from the tea. If you plan to store brewed tea, add lemon to reduce the pH which stabilizes the anti-oxidants, see above study, but remove the leaves or bags first to minimize the heavy metals extracted. If you are pregnant avoid tea consumption due to its addition to daily heavy metals load, Journal of Toxicology Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 370460.

Reply
    Seppo February 3, 2014

    Thanks for your detailed comment, Beaker. Yes, you are absolutely correct and my point that bagged tea has the least amount of antioxidants is not necessarily correct. It depends more on the cultivar used and growing conditions.

    I do think that it’s a useful rule of thumb to guide as mass market brands probably use somewhat lower quality leaves as compared to brands that target tea enthusiastics. I have also seen other studies were bagged teas from big brands did very well.

    Reply
      beaker February 3, 2014

      The sad thing is I used to drink bottled green tea and I don’t believe it has much if any antioxidants. I gave it up due to the amount of sugar, but I’ll never go back – it’s too easy to brew a cup yourself. Also, someone above suggested chewing or eating the leaves, I wouldn’t do that due to the possible heavy metals contamination which may be due to the nature of the anti-oxidants themselves, chelating with metals. The anti-cancer human studies out there are survey based and don’t go into detail with regard to which actual amount of anti-oxidants the subjects ingested but some suggest that multiple cups / day of green tea (mainly) does affect relative cancer risk for some cancers, NUTRITION AND CANCER, 45(2), 226–235. The half-life of the anti-oxidants in blood is ~2-5 hrs, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002;11:1025-1032. From this I plan to spread my tea drinking across the day and not multiple cups back to back. Keep up the good work informing people about this simple diet change that likely has complex rewards.

      Reply
        Seppo February 4, 2014

        Thanks again for the detailed comment. Good point on the half life of antioxidants on blood. I have seen some papers mention that they get metabolized fairly quickly, but I had not need a concrete number before.

        Reply
isabel March 6, 2014

hi seppo
as per ur advice im adding 50 mg vit c in my green tea which i drink to also take in my “micheals naturopatic blend for teen n adult skin”.since it also has 150 mg vit c in it ,im wondering if im consuming too much vit c PLUS im taking the tablet twice a day with green tea

please advice
thanks as always!

Reply
    Seppo March 6, 2014

    No, I don’t think you have to worry about vitamin C overdose. There are people who take hundreds of times more than you do.

    Reply
    Tree Flower March 7, 2014

    If you take too much vitamin C you may end up with some problems such as blood from your anus, diarrhoea, painful bowel movements, etc. I know this from experience and it seems to be described in scientific literature as well. If you don’t experience any digestion problems, you’ll be OK.

    Reply
      Seppo March 7, 2014

      Yep, but too much is probably going to be far more than what the person is currently taking. If I understood it correctly, he/she is taking about 200mg per day.

      Reply
isabel March 9, 2014

hi,
thanks tree flower n seppo for the replies .
im taking 300mg vit c from the tablets n 50 mg per glass of green tea x 4 glasses a day =200mg so in total 500 mg vit c per day.is it ok?

Reply
    Seppo March 10, 2014

    I don’t think 500mg per day is too much. It’s more than the RDA but it’s still not that much. I personally wouldn’t worry about it.

    Reply
    Tree Flower March 10, 2014

    As far as I know, vitamin C doesn’t accumulate in the body so if you don’t experience some immediate effects (you can’t really miss them, trust me), I think you will be fine.

    Reply
Beaker March 10, 2014

Vitamin C is also supposed to help iron absorption. I have since read other studies where the amount of antioxidants were controlled. One double blind controlled study did find less prostate cancer when 600mg of green tea catechin was taken each day for a year, but two other uncontrolled studies did not find this result. Many animal studies have seen positive results on certain tumor types so I’m planning to keep it as part of my diet. Many preprepared or bottled teas don’t have many catechins but I did find some do: http://www.green-tea-guide.com/bottled-tea.html, my choice of these is Sweet Leaf due to the lower caffeine but I’m not a fan of the sugar or calories so I’ll keep brewing my own.

Reply
    Seppo March 11, 2014

    Yep, there’s some encouraging research on green tea and cancers. I don’t expect green tea to make a massive difference (since cancer is very complicated and it’s unlikely that any single intervention makes a huge difference), but every little bit helps. Maybe you can consider cold brewed tea? Since I tried I’ve been totally hooked on it. So simple to make. Just dump some tea leaves into a bottle of water and put it to fridge for 8 to 12 hours. It’s not quite as potent as properly hacked green tea but it’s very convenient and very handy in hot climates (like here in Thailand).

    Reply
      Beaker March 23, 2014

      I went and bought an iced tea maker yesterday. It uses hot water for the extraction and this pours into an ice filled receiver. Because the tea is more dilute than in a cup, its very mild and it’s nice to drink chilled tea esp. like you say when it’s hot outside. I add 3-4 teaspoons of lemon juice to the 2.5 qt. receiver to acidify the tea which makes the catechins more stable. If you dont the EGCG doesn’t last 1 day.

      Reply
Roberto Gonzalez March 17, 2014

What’s your opinion on Macha Green Tea?

Studies behind it too, can’t source them since I am in a hurry…

Check this out: http://www.matchatea.co.uk/Matcha-Green-Tea-Antioxidants-s/1831.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Matcha-Green-Tea-Powder-Antioxidant/dp/B00DDT116M

Offtopic: Have you ever done research on gelatin? A member on acne.org just recently posted this, seems promising: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/topic/339665-acne-disappeared-with-use-of-gelatin-supplement/

Where can I post offtopic questions?

Thanks Seppo for replies!

Reply
    Roberto Gonzalez March 17, 2014

    By the way, do you know where I can find a antioxidant chart of foods, preferably one comparing fruits and teas?

    Reply
    Seppo March 19, 2014

    I wrote about the claim that matcha has 137 times more antioxidants somewhere before, but can’t remember where now. In a nutshell, the claim is true but somewhat misleading. To reach the 137 times figure they compared the antioxidant content of liquid tea brewed from normal tea leaves to the total antioxidant content of matcha powder, basically apples to oranges. There’s not much difference in the antioxidant content of liquid tea brewed from tea leaves to that of matcha. You could make the argument that since drinking matcha you also eat the tea powder that you would therefore get all the antioxidants. Whether that happens or not, I’m not sure. I don’t know if the body can digest the tea powder and get the antioxidants from it.

    No, I haven’t looked into gelatin as a possible cure. Note that just because someone posts they got good results with some treatment doesn’t mean it actually happened. People often make many changes at one time and it’s impossible to say which of them, if any, caused the change. It’s also possible that some change in environmental conditions (like change of seasons, stress, etc.) did the trick. It’s very common for people to credit the wrong thing. That’s why you have to be very skeptical of stories like these.

    Feel free to post off-topic questions to the Q&A section:

    http://www.acneeinstein.com/qa/

    Reply
Roberto Gonzalez March 17, 2014

Reply
    Seppo March 19, 2014

    Interesting, thanks for posting this!

    Reply
Nicole April 27, 2014

Do you think water temp has an effect on matcha egcg availability since you’re consuming the whole leaf?

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    Seppo Puusa April 28, 2014

    Probably less than for tea brewed from leaves. Nobody has actually studied whether humans even absorb EGCG from matcha powder, and if so, how much. My guess is humans absorb some but not as much as from liquid tea.

    Reply
Martha April 28, 2014

Are there any health benefits for Jasmine tea, freshly brewed from whole leaves?

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    Seppo Puusa April 30, 2014

    I don’t know. I would assume it’s good for you, but I haven’t looked at any research on it.

    Reply
isabel May 17, 2014

hi seppo ,
can i put the vit c pasted below as i cant get “only vit c “alone
thank u ,ur the best! ( i really really mean it)

Supplement Facts
Serving Size 1 Scoop (1 gram)

Vitamin C (as magnesium ascorbate) 830 mg 1,383%
Magnesium (from magnesium ascorbate) 65 mg 16%

Reply
Alastair Phillips May 26, 2014

Hey, amazing blog. Love it! I leave my green tea and jasmine tea bags in the mug to brew and dont remove them is that ok? I want to maximize the amount of ecgc. What if you double the tea bags? Is that going to double the amount? Sorry if the questions are dumb.

Thanks

Ally

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    Seppo Puusa May 27, 2014

    Yes to both. Leaving the bags in to the cup will increase the amount of EGCG and doubling tea bags will give you more EGCG. It may not double the amount og EGCG since at some point you’ll run into saturation and limits of how much water can extract EGCG from the tea leaves. I have no idea where the saturation point is, but 2 bags per cup is probably ok.

    Reply
    larry July 4, 2014

    Lately have been using two tea bags at a time, but mixing a green tea with an herbal tea, or occasionally two herbal teas. Herbal tea is supposed to have strong alkalizing properties in your body, which may help to neutralize (or at least tone down) very acidic foods.

    Wonder if herbal teas have any ECGC? Will have to look into it.

    Reply
Alastair Phillips May 27, 2014

Thanks Seppo, that is really helpful. I will keep drinking it with the tea bag in! I heard that Matcha tea contains more ECGC in it, by about 3x than commercially available green teas so I think I might switch to this variety. Been reading so much about the health benefits of green tea of late. Hopefully some more research will come out soon about the health benefits of ECGC.

Thanks again.

Alastair

Reply
Beaker May 29, 2014

EGCG is soluble >1250mg / 250mL water so no worries. Most teas have 30-100mg EGCG / bag (or approx. 2g).

Reply
    Seppo Puusa May 30, 2014

    Awesome. Thanks for digging up and sharing that factoid!

    Reply
Alastair Phillips May 30, 2014

Just wondering about Green tea with Jasmine, will that have any less EGCG than green tea alone? If so how much by? Referring to the information earlier The USDA in their 2007 report analyzed the flavonoid content of nearly 400 food items and they also reported EGCG content. I dug through the report and came up with the following figures of EGCG content in different teas per cup.

Brewed green tea: 180mg
Brewed green tea, decaffeinated: 60mg
Brewed green tea, flavored: 45mg
Ready-to-drink green tea: 10mg
Brewed oolong tea: 80mg
Brewed black tea: 20mg

Twinnings do a green tea with jasmine which I like alot more than drinking green tea alone as I find it a bit rank to be honest.

Thanks

Alastair

Reply
Eric June 21, 2014

What are your thoughts on Pu-erh tea? Guys like Tim Ferris love it and I drink it often because it never gets bitter and I love the taste.

I usually drink this stuff from Numi:

http://www.iherb.com/Numi-Tea-Organic-Emperor-s-Pu-erh-16-Tea-Bags/41757

Reply
    Seppo Puusa June 21, 2014

    I haven’t looked into it specifically. If my memory serves me correctly, a few of the papers mentioned Pe-erh tea and it’s EGCG content was similar to green tea.

    Reply
Larry June 30, 2014

Great article. Been using a coffee K-cup brewing system that brews at 90 degrees C, and read that the brewing temperature goes down when the water hits the room temp cup. Pouring boiling water on a tea bag would seem to be the better procedure based on your article, even after consideration of temp loss due to contact with the cup. Learned so much, thanks..

Reply
larry June 30, 2014

Read a Chinese study summary indicating that dunking a tea bag tripled to quadrupled the amount of good things in the brew, as opposed to a stationary bag sitting in the mixture. Since then I’ve not only dunked but dragged the bag from side to side, trying to drag out every bit of goodness I can. Dunking and/or dragging appear to “activate” more tea bits by moving things around in the bag and dispersing the tea-in-water concentration at the bag boundary so more leaves the bag.

Noticed that pouring water over the tea bag appears to generate more tea spread than gently placing a bag in the sitting water.

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    Seppo Puusa July 2, 2014

    Yep, it makes sense. Since you are forcing more water to pass through/near the leaves.

    Reply
larry July 1, 2014

Using a cooking thermometer, sampled the temp in my tea cup. Poured boiling water from pot into cup without tea bag, measured 195 degrees F (91 C) in middle of water volume right after pour. After pouring boiling water onto a tea bag and moving bag around in water for a minute or two, measured 165 degrees F (74 C). Looks like moving the water around may have lead to heat loss, plus the cup may have absorbed quite a bit of heat in a relatively short period as evidenced by touching cup exterior.

Reply
Beaker July 3, 2014

Alastair:

I looked through the updated 2014 USDA report on EGCG in green tea and found average data for 2g of tea ( their data is based on 1g but most bags and leaves in the US are brewed with approx. 2g tea).

Green Tea Brewed 140mg
Green Tea Brewed decaf. 52mg
Green Tea Brewed Flavored 40mg
Green Tea Ready to Drink 8mg
Black Tea Brewed 18mg

The interesting thing to note is the range for brewed Green Tea is 4 to 406mg (/2g dry tea). I also like my tea with added flavor most times. I cut up ginger root and add this while brewing or lemongrass. I don’t buy mixed teas as I don’t know how much green tea I’m actually getting, which I like to keep at 2g/cup.

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Eric July 3, 2014

Do you need to mix in the vitamin c powder into the green tea or can you just take 500mg of C as a capsule before drinking the tea? The powder definitely affects the taste profile in a bad way.

Also, what do you think of adding some fat like grass fed ghee to help with absorption of the EGCG? It seems like polyphenols would also need some fat to absorb well.

Reply
    Seppo Puusa July 6, 2014

    If you use powdered vitamin C the amount you need to mix in is so small it has no effect on the taste – at least none that I have noticed. I just dip the tip of a teaspoon into the powder and mix it into my tea.

    I suspect taking a vitamin C capsule at the same time could also help, but I can’t say for sure.

    I have not seen any studies on how fat affects absorption of EGCG. I suspect it would hinder as it could make EGCG sit longer into intestines. And the longer it sits there the more it gets degraded.

    Reply
Beaker July 3, 2014

I add vitamin C which is in liquid form (300mg/1tsp) as this is easier to measure small amounts. Since I make ~2.2L at a time I add the equivalent of 25% of the USRDA for vitamin C per 12oz serving. This adjusts the pH to just above 4 and then I add 10 drops of lemon juice (concentrate from yellow plastic lemon) to bring the pH to between 3.5-4. Studies show that the polyphenols are the most stable between 3-4 pH. Measuring sub gram amounts of powder didn’t seem practical in a standard kitchen.

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    larry July 4, 2014

    A study showed that mixing some citrus fruit in green tea could significantly boost the anti-oxidant levels absorbed by the body (lemon was specifically named, along with a few others). Don’t know if the study was based on human tests or theoretical analysis.. This study would be consistent with the results you mentioned on phenol stability.

    Lemon is an interesting food, very acidic going in so one gains with great regard to phenol absorption, and one of the most alkaline after digestion so it is a major body chemistry aid. I guess all of those people who have been adding lemon to teas through the centuries got it right, lemon and tea combine to increase the powerhouse properties of tea..

    Reply
      Beaker July 5, 2014

      Haven’t seen that study, but that’s good to know. Hibiscus tea is another good antioxidant tea and is good with lime juice and sweetener.

      Reply
      Beaker July 5, 2014

      Apparently, according to a Purdue study, it’s the ascorbic acid that helps the polyphenols get absorbed. The Ohsaki Cohort study found citrus and green tea together to enhance cancer risk reduction. It’s unclear why this is so, possibly the acid(s) cause less stomach acid to be produced which in turn keeps the blood less alkaline which is a more stable environment for polyphenols. In any case citrus and green tea are synergistic like vitamin D and calcium.

      Reply
      Seppo Puusa July 6, 2014

      I don’t think herbal teas have EGCG. The substance comes from the tea leaves. That said, herbs have their own antioxidants and beneficial substances.

      Yes, I have also seen studies that show mixing lemon with tea would affect absorption. The problem with those, as far as I remember, is that you have to mix so much lemon to the tea that it becomes more or less unpalatable. Adding as dash of lemon does give the tea a nice taste though.

      Reply
Beaker July 6, 2014

The vitamin C doesn’t mess up the taste and you’re correct just using lemon juice you’d end up with sour green tea or have to add piles of sugar. There have not been many studies done on Hibiscus tea, but it does contain high levels of phenolics / antioxidants. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these make their way past digestion and is the misleading part of just looking at antioxidant levels in food. It does make for a nice change from your green tea regimen though.

Reply
    Seppo Puusa July 7, 2014

    Very good points! Though, I do assume that the antioxidants from hibiscus tea do get absorbed. It’s certainly a legit alternative to green tea. I do want to point out that EGCG likely has also other than antioxidant effects in the body. Whether the substances in hibiscus tea have, I can’t say.

    Reply
    Seppo Puusa July 27, 2014

    It’s not really possible to comment anything useful based on the label. If the products contains what the labels says they do, then both should be ok. However, I would go with a capsule form. Green tea is fairly perishable and you want to protect the powder from light and oxygen. So loose powder is not such a good idea.

    Reply
Alaina August 14, 2014

Hi Seppo, quick question: does zero calorie iced green tea from a can have similar acne benefits to the brewed variety?

Reply
    Seppo Puusa August 16, 2014

    Probably not. The report I referenced in this post shows ready to drink green tea beverages have much less catechins than freshly brewed green tea.

    Reply
MtrHkr August 29, 2014

“Probably the worst way to drink is to drink medicinally. Certainly the safest way to drink is to drink carelessly; that is, without caring much for anything, and especially not caring for the drink.”
-G.K. Chesterton (about alcohol)

Green tea is disgusting when brewed either near boiling or for more than a minute, and you suggest doing both. If you can tolerate your method, that’s fine, but why “tolerate” something that’s meant to be enjoyed? In the time it takes to make your throat-constricting concoction, you could reap better health benefits with a second infusion. Better because you’re getting as many health-benefitial chemicals, but also because you’re not stressing to gulp down mugfulls of bitter yellow leaf-sludge every day.

Reply
    Seppo Puusa August 30, 2014

    Yes, I agree that brewing green tea for maximum catechin content makes it bitter. I did mention this in the post.

    Reply
Beaker August 30, 2014

Seppo’s statements are based on studies not aimed at aesthetics but maximum catechin extraction. In two minutes you will get 75-90% extraction (Shishikura J Sci Food Agric 85:2125-2133 (2005)). This is still pretty good efficiency and a reasonable total time for two shorter extractions to keep down bitterness.

Reply
Rashad Sattaur September 26, 2014

Hey Seppo,

Is there a link between caffeine and acne? I always thought there might have been, thats why I buy decaffeinated green tea? Would the decaf green tea still be a good option? I was looking in to buying this one:
http://www.republicoftea.com/the-people's-green-decaf-green-tea/p/V00658/

Is this product a good one?

Reply
    Seppo Puusa September 29, 2014

    Caffeine causes temporary insulin resistance. So it might be a problem for people with hormonal-type acne. It can also increase stress hormones. Not sure if these would be enough to cause acne, but I wouldn’t say it’s impossible that caffeine affect acne. Decaf green tea usually has much less antioxidants, so it would be much less beneficial than unprocessed green tea.

    Reply
      Rashad Sattaur September 29, 2014

      So what do you think I should do ultimately?

      Reply
        Seppo Puusa October 2, 2014

        Don’t drink green tea if you are concerned about caffeine. It can be helpful for some people with acne, but it’s by no means a magical acne cure. Green tea is not required for getting clear.

        Reply
Derrick Li October 20, 2014

Is there any difference between using powdered green tea and loose leaf green tea? Which is better?

Reply
JP December 1, 2014

What are your thoughts on green tea extract supplements? I can’t stand the taste of green tea, and it’s difficult for me to even get through 1 cup per day, let alone 5.

Plus, I’ve been trying to cut out all caffeine, which I suspect was triggering my acne. I was a HEAVY coffee drinker, to the point where I felt physically stressed most of the day, which I suspect had a huge impact on my androgen levels. I worry about the caffeine in that many cups of green tea.

Lastly, I’ve looked into buying the green tea product your recommended, but the ingredient list is somewhat worrisome to me. I prefer products that have ingredients which I can pronounce. Are you aware of anyone who makes a pure green tea topical serum?

Reply
    Seppo Puusa December 3, 2014

    If you can’t stand green tea and can’t tolerate caffeine, then it’s probably better to skip green tea altogether. It’s not like it’s a magic remedy for acne. It can help the skin, but I don’t think it’s required for getting clear and probably won’t deliver benefits you couldn’t get otherwise.

    Look, I understand where you are coming from with wanting to avoid ingredients you can’t pronounce. Coming from someone who has been there, and I say this with utmost sincerity, that attitude is both quite naive and not really helpful. The safety of a chemical has nothing to do with how well a layperson can pronounce it. Nor has it anything to do with whether that chemical is ‘natural’ or not. In fact, essential oils and natural fragrances are among the most irritating and dangerous ingredients in skin care products.

    Furthermore, sometimes companies use scientific names for ingredients. Many people wouldn’t be able to pronounce the scientific name of water; dihydrogen monoxide.

    Paradoxically, the pure green tea serum you ask is probably far less effective and more dangerous than the chemicals people want to avoid. Less effective because for EGCG to be effective it needs to be suspended into a carrier medium (usually some lotion) that ‘carries’ it through the top layer of the skin where it can have a positive effect. And it needs preservatives to prevent microbial contamination.

    Without those two, the ‘pure serum’ will just sit on the skin and evaporate before it has a chance to do any good. And most likely it will spoil in the bottle and possibly cause skin infections.

    Reply
vanilladreamcream December 4, 2014

Thanks for explaining that when milk was added, some studies show there’s a decrease in antioxidant and some with no effect. This post was helpful in explaining everything that affects green tea’s antioxidant level while keeping it succinct.

Reply
James Berhanu December 6, 2014

Hi Seppo, I was wondering with lose leaf green tea do you remove the leaves after brewing or do you drink them along with the water? Currently I strain the leaves with steel strainer.

Also I noticed that blending the loose leaf green tea I have makes it significantly greener. I was thinking its possibly a sign of a higher antioxidant level , would you agree? The leaves are much finer in size so would it be plausible to say that this should allow more egcg to be released due to a larger surface area?

Thank you.

Reply
    Seppo Puusa December 10, 2014

    Yes, you have to remove the leaves. I don’t recommend eating them. They probably taste very bitter anyway. Yes, blending the leaves would increase surface area and the moving water probably extracts much more antioxidants from the leaves.

    Reply
Mickey December 13, 2014

Hiya Seppo. Well researched article. I just have one question.. the green tea(tea bag, japanese) that I’m using isn’t really color green after boiling for 3 minutes.. it’s dark yellow. What’s your say about this?

Reply
    Seppo Puusa December 13, 2014

    It could also be that boiling extracts too much tannins from the leaves. Try steeping the tea ‘normal way’ and see what happens. If it’s still yellow then get some other brand. If normal steeping makes ok tea then it’s better to either reduce temperature or steeping time.

    Reply
Mickey December 13, 2014

Also.. I couldn’t find vitamin c powder. So I bought this instead:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-f3iF3Cv6HDY/UGh4AjUwvSI/AAAAAAAADv8/vWDYS0o86kQ/s1600/Berocca+Performance+%25283%2529.JPG

It has vitamin C but not just that..

I’m thinking of crushing the tablet & just take a small amount of it to mix w/ the tea. Would that be ok?

Reply
    Seppo Puusa December 13, 2014

    That should work just fine.

    Reply
      Mickey December 23, 2014

      Aside from vit.C, I also add honey. Hope that mixture’s fine. Thank you for the Nth time, Seppo. :)

      Reply
Thomas Brandstetter January 20, 2015

What do you think about mixing green tea leaves in smoothies? Have seen a video of a guy who said that this values up the bioavailibility sooo much …

Reply
    Seppo Puusa January 21, 2015

    I think it would probably taste quite bad. There’s a sort of a myth circulating online that eating tea leaves gives you much more antioxidants. It’s based on the fact that steeping leaves in water doesn’t extract ALL the antioxidants from them and assuming that eating them you would absorb all. The problem with tea antioxidants is that they are very fragile, and subjecting them to full digestion probably destroys most of them. That’s why you absorb far more antioxidants from tea when you take to empty stomach.

    If you want to go with eating tea leaves, might I suggest powdered tea. I often add matcha powder into my homemade yogurt. Tastes pretty good.

    Reply
andalite4412 January 20, 2015

Yeah.. you CAN steep Japanese green teas for 3-5 minutes in boiling water for max ecgc levels… but then it’ll taste like shit lol. If the “good stuff” in the tea is what you primarily want, then you’re probably better off just buying a green tea supplement or ecgc drops or something.

Reply
    Seppo Puusa January 21, 2015

    This. Unfortunately this is true. So you have to find a good balance between the two.

    Reply
KiwiDave January 27, 2015

Hi Seppo, thank you for your excellent article and your replies to the many comments, all of which I have read and will probably need to read through again.

I have been suddenly launched into the benefits of green tea and EGCG after my lady friend was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, a rare and very serious disease where amyloid proteins are deposited in organs, in this case, her heart, causing heart failure.

EGCG has been shown to prevent amyloids from forming and to reduce the thickness of the left ventricular wall, which is thickened by amyloid deposits.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3254632/

My lady friend is now drinking lots of green tea and I am doing further research to find out the best teas and best ways to get the most EGCG so your article has been very helpful.

There has been a lot of discussion under your article and a lot of good advice given.

Are you able to make any recommendations for us on the best green teas to use? I notice that Matcha tea has been mentioned several times and there is the claim that it contains up to 3 times as much EGCG. I note that you also add powdered Matcha tea to your yogurt.

If you needed to get the absolute most EGCG, what would your recommendation be?

I am thinking of mixing powdered Japan Matcha green with another leaf green tea to hopefully get the most benefit. What do you think?

Does drinking a lot of powdered green tea increase the risk of exposure to lead?

Here is the website of the tea supplier I am dealing with here in New Zealand… could you please lake a look at the green teas, especially the Japan Matcha, and give me your opinion please?
http://www.tleaft.co.nz/green-tea/japan-matcha-green-tea.html

Many thanks for your time and help

David

Reply
    Seppo Puusa January 27, 2015

    Glad to hear you found the article useful.

    The thing to keep in mind is that while green tea is useful, it is possible to OD with it. Recently I saw some research that showed too much EGCG can lead to liver damage. If little bit of some nutrient is good, it doesn’t mean more is better. In fact, most cases more is probably worse.

    Keeping that in mind, I wouldn’t drink more than 5 or 6 cups of tea per day. I would cap daily EGCG intake to 1000mg. That’s probably your sweet-spot.

    Sorry but I have no way to comment on the matcha tea in that link. Antioxidant content of tea varies so much depending on soil quality, weather during the growing season, etc. that it’s more or less impossible to say how much antioxidants any given tea has. My suggestion is not to worry about it too much. Get some reasonably high quality tea and leave it at that.

    Yes, tea leaves also pick up aluminum and other metals from the ground. That’s another reason not to drink too much.

    Reply
      Larry b January 27, 2015

      Really good advice on limiting green tea use. Thanks.

      Reply
    Larry b January 27, 2015

    Sounds like a good plan.

    My limited understanding of matcha tea benefits is that one eats the ground up leaves, which increases nutrient ingestion, and the finely ground powder releases more nutrients than a leaf or tea bag (more surface area per nutrient volume).

    Some sources state one cup matcha equals up to ten cups from a brewed green tea bag (increase due to eating and steeping leaf powder).

    Matcha tea leaves may also be better than usual green tea used in commercial teas (not sure).

    I needed some facial surgery and started drinking matcha a few times a day, the post op scars disappeared really fast. I believe the matcha was responsible for fast healing.

    Reply
KiwiDave January 27, 2015

Thank you for your advice, much appreciated.

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