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

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.

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 leaf 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 leaf 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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About Me

Hi, I am Acne Einstein(a.k.a. Seppo Puusa). I'm a bit of a science nerd who is also passionate about health. I enjoy digging through medical journals for acne treatment gems I can share here. You can read more about my journey through acne and how I eventually ended up creating this.

169 thoughts on “Hack Your Tea – How To Get 5 Times More Out Of A Cup Of Green Tea

  1. 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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?

    • 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.

        • 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).

      • 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?

        • 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

          • 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!

          • 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

          • 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 🙂

          • I found information about that type of tea specifically, bancha, and it has less EGCG than oolong tea and less than half that of sencha or gyokuro. On anthoer note, interestingly the 1st and 2nd leaves have the highest EGCG content while the buds are higher than the 6th onwards. see Sakata, I., Quantitative Analysis of (-)-Epigallocatechin Gallate in Tea Leaves by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, Yakugaku zasshi, vol. 111, pp. 790-793, 12/1991.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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….?

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996909002634

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

    • 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 🙂

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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.)

  9. 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

  10. 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 (https://www.amazon.com/DoMatcha-Green-Organic-Matcha-1-0-Ounce/dp/B0019FOZC4/ref=pd_sim_gro_3) and Matcha from Teavana (https://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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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.

    • 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: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21905216

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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: https://www.quriousblends.com

    I hope this info helps someone out there!

    B

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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!

    • 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.

  17. 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.

    • 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.

  18. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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!

    • 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  23. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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.

  24. 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?

    • 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.

  25. 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: https://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.

    • 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).

      • 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.

  26. 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: https://www.matchatea.co.uk/Matcha-Green-Tea-Antioxidants-s/1831.htm

    https://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: https://www.acne.org/messageboard/topic/339665-acne-disappeared-with-use-of-gelatin-supplement/

    Where can I post offtopic questions?

    Thanks Seppo for replies!

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

  27. 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%

  28. 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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

    • 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.

  31. 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..

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

    • 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.

  36. 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.

    • 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..

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  37. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  38. “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.

  39. 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.

    • 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.

  40. 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?

    • 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

    • 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.

  43. 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?

    • 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.

  44. 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 …

    • 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.
    https://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?
    https://www.tleaft.co.nz/green-tea/japan-matcha-green-tea.html

    Many thanks for your time and help

    David

    • 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.

    • 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.

  47. I like to describe myself as a certified tea nut and it is nice to know that I’ve been doing it right all along. Though personally I dislike tea powders 🙂

    Also, I cover my cup so the tea doesn’t cool up fast.

    Thank you for your articles! Just like I prefer my tea green, I prefer my acne articles sourced to legit research. You have a big fan right here 🙂

  48. Seppo,

    Considering all we know about the potentially detrimental effects of antioxidants when adding milk to the green tea, what do you think would happen if one were to add coconut or almond milk instead?

    I can’t drink green tea alone because it’s just not palatable enough for me. Lately I’ve been making a green tea frappucino similar to the ones that are available in starbucks. Instead of milk, I would use either soy, coconut or almond milk to add a creamy texture to it. I would also add dates to sweeten it.

    I’m not sure how the soy milk would affect the absorption…any thoughts?

    I would think coconut and almond milk would help though because from what I’ve read….the addition of fats to antioxidant rich foods like green leafy greens such as spinach and kale actually compound the absorption of nutrients. I believe it has something to do with keeping the “good stuff” from rinsing through the digestion as quickly.

    Thank you.

    • I don’t know what is it about milk that reduces the absorption of green tea antioxidants. It could simply be that while mixed with milk it takes longer to absorb them and that would increase the time they are exposed to damaging substances in the gut. If so, then coconut and almond milk probably have the same effect.

      In all honestly, I wouldn’t worry about this too much. If you don’t enjoy green tea, then please don’t drink it. It’s not required to get clear. You can get plenty of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.

  49. Hi Seppo,
    Would you recommend ripping open a tea bag and just letting all the green tea out (as obviously you would get a lot more than just letting some of it seep through the bag like normal). Wasn’t sure if this method would mean that you’d be taking in too much green tea that could be harmful in some way, especially with 4-5 cups a day.

    Thanks,
    Joel

    Ps. High quality tea bags and powdered tea is a problem for me so I thought this could be a solution to get more out of the cheaper bags.

    • The bag might hinder extraction of ECGC from bagged tea, but I think the main reason why bagged teas in general have less antioxidants is because they use lower quality tea leaves.

  50. I’ve always wanted to know but have never found info on a particular question. This website was the closest to an answer but what I really want to know is if you get more benefits the more u re steep you’re tea. Like I steep mine once usually for 10+ minutes sometimes. Is there any antioxidants left in the tea worthy of being re steeped? Thanks

    • The thing you have to keep in mind is that the longer you steep the more of the ‘bad’ stuff you also get; like aluminum and bitter tannins. If you are concerned that you aren’t getting enough antioxidants, then it’s a better idea to drink 2 cups (or use 2 teabags) and steep them for 3 to 5 minutes, instead of trying to get everything out of one bag.

  51. There is a very nice article on the impact of steeping time and temp on anti-oxidant levels in tea at sciencedaily site. The article study looked at black, white and green teas steeped for 5 minutes and 2 hours, and brewed in hot and cold water. Green tea was best cold and steeped for 2 hours, hot brewed black tea lost anti-oxidants beyond 5 minutes.

  52. Seppo, I just read an article that insinuated that one must be careful of such things as heavy metals and other contaminants that can be in Green Tea. They suggested that to be safe one should actually try to place the tea in boiling water for the minimum amount of time, as putting it in longer increases the odds of contaminants leaching into the tea.

    • Yep, that’s true. The tea leaves pick aluminum and other metals from the ground. These seep into the tea. And the longer you steep the tea, the more of these you’ll get. But you’ll get these even if you don’t steep the tea in a boiling water. Some of the metals will seep into the tea even when the tea is steeped ‘normally’. It’s possible they are a problem for some individuals, but given that tea drinking is usually associated with health benefits, I doubt they are a problem for the majority.

  53. Hi,
    I am wondering if re-steeping green tea lowers the ECGC content of the tea? I’d like to re-steep my tea if possible because it lasts longer but you would think it would lower the ECGC content with each steep.

    • I haven’t looked into this. But based on the reference you linked to, seems like the EGCG survives freezing. Ice cubed tea has the same problem as liquid tea. The skin is a good water barrier. Since the skin doesn’t let water in, I don’t see why it would let green tea in either.

  54. Great Article.

    Practical advise thanks! I had been researching EGCG benefits and was contemplating supplementation but its better to get it from a whole food source, and now i know more about how to do that.

    Just showing some appreciation.

    cheers

  55. You shouldn’t brew your green tea in boiling water if at all care about the taste. You shouldn’t brew Japanese Green Tea over 170F, 10-20 degrees higher for Chinese varieties.

    I guess you need to ask yourself the question are you drinking green tea to get maximum ECGC or because you like the taste because you can’t have both. If you are concerned you are not drinking enough to get your target amount of ECGC than you should be taking an ECGC supplement, not ruining the taste by brewing it in boiling water.

  56. Coffee is what I usually used to drink until I discovered the most enjoyable Tapal “jasmin green tea” I am speaking to the converted so I wont go on about antioxidant effects etc. This tea is inexpensive in the uk although a little difficult to find, the best place to look is in an Asian store. this tea has an extremely soft and subtle warming flavour, it has been enjoyed by a number of my friends who have never even drunk tea without milk previously.I took a multi flavoured pack to work and the jasmine was first to go! So next time i did not bother with selection and bought the jasmin. xopher

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