6 Best Green Tea Brands For Overall Health And Flavor
Other than water, can you guess what the most consumed beverage in the world is? Nope, it’s not milk or soda – It’s tea!
Green tea is my drink. Maybe it’s those powerful antioxidants, or maybe it’s that little caffeine punch – When I drink it I feel like a ball of healthy energy.
My obsession with green tea has led me to try a wide variety of different tea brands; some terrible, some delicious. And now it is only fitting that I share with you six of my all-time favorite brands.
I didn’t just choose the best green tea brands based on flavor however. I also explored their health benefits, caffeine content, price, and tea type. Further, teas vary in composition based on numerous factors including harvesting regions, processing methods, and tea types and forms. So as you can imagine, there were quite a few factors I needed to consider!
Below I have gathered my list of the 6 best green tea brands along with the reasoning behind each choice.
Take a look!
If you have never heard of matcha green tea then definitely read on. Matcha means “powdered tea”. It is a ceremonial grade tea, traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Matcha is grown and made through a delicate process that carefully deepens it’s flavor. Just before packaging, the tea leaves are stone-ground into a very fine powder.
When you prepare matcha you won’t need to steep your tea – Instead, you add the powder directly into the hot water. What’s special about matcha is that you are actually drinking the tea leaves. Because of this, the nutrients and antioxidants of the matcha tea are intensified. Furthermore, matcha green tea can be used for cooking, baking, smoothies, and beauty products.
The Viva Naturals brand of green tea matcha is organic and made from only the highest quality tea leaves. This is why it’s first on my list of the best green tea brands.
Pros: Increased nutrients and antioxidants due to ingestion of the actual tea leaves. Simply prepared by adding the matcha directly to hot water, no need to steep. Also can be used for smoothies, baking, cooking, and beauty products. Viva Naturals’ violet glass packaging keeps the green tea fresher and longer. Uses only the finest leaves for a “sweeter, brighter taste” and a silkier texture. Viva Naturals Organic Matcha green tea brand is organic, so no harmful chemicals. High caffeine content that promotes an “alert calm” rather than a jittery buzz.
Cons: If you prefer to steep your green tea, matcha might not be for you. Matcha tea can be pricy, however, only a very small amount is needed for a cup of tea. Not as easily stored as tea bags – once opened, Matcha should be stored in the refrigerator. Matcha is a highly caffeinated form of green tea, which might deter some people.
Consensus: Viva Naturals Organic Matcha is the best green tea brand for matcha style processing. Matcha tea is a great alternative to teas that must be brewed, for it offers maximum antioxidants and ease of preparation. Apart from the price, this tasty tea form is a “must try” for any health conscious green tea lover.
The Bigelow brand was started in 1945 by Ruth Bigelow after experimenting with tea flavors and spices in her New York City brownstone. Bigelow tea comes in many different styles and brews, but their classic green tea is something special.
The tea leaves are hand picked from the “highest elevation gardens” and gently processed to bring out the earthly and delicate flavors that we all enjoy. Their classic green tea brew contains a moderate amount of caffeine, so it is easy to drink all day.
Bigelow brand green tea comes in many different flavors and forms including decaffeinated, mint, mango, organic, K-cups, and even their very own matcha green tea.
Pros: Classic tea bags for home brewing green tea with delicate, earthly flavors. Family owned company with a small town feel. Offers organic options for those concerned about processing methods. They have K-cups for on-the-go green tea! Many green tea flavors including mint mango, lemon, chai, peach, and wild blueberry. Offers decaffeinated as well as caffeinated.
Cons: Many of the teas they sell are not organic.
Consensus: Bigelow should be your “go to” classic brewed green tea brand – It’s that delicious. Not to mention, Bigelow offers many alternatives for you to switch it up from the classic green tea, and they have organic teas and teas with varying levels of caffeine.
Supplementing your diet with green tea extract is a possible alternative to drinking tea. Many brands of green tea extract are marketed as weight loss supplements because they have been linked to fat oxidation in the body. Taking green tea extract capsules is a natural way to boost your metabolism while also providing steady energy throughout the day.
Zhou Nutrition’s green tea extract is a brand often recommended by personal trainers and nutritionists based on it high, natural antioxidant content. Many reviewers of Zhou Nutrition’s green tea extract report increased energy and weight loss without side effects such as “jitters” and stomach irritation.
Pros: No preparation required/taken in capsule form. Provides steady energy with no “jitters”. Ability to monitor exactly how much caffeine you are taking (15mg/capsule). Higher antioxidant content than other green tea extract brands.
Cons: Contains gelatin, so it is not vegan. Zhou Nutrition’s green tea extract is not organic.
Consensus: Choosing a green tea extract is an easy solution for those who want to supplement their diet with green tea but do not have the time to make tea everyday. Green tea extract is also good for those who want the health benefits from green tea but do not like the taste of it.
Stash premium green tea differs from other brews in that it has a subtly sweet and nutty flavor. One reviewer even stated that it has a flavor note you wouldn’t expect to find in green tea, but is rather pleasing.
This refreshment is a Japanese style tea known as sencha green tea. The leaves grow from bushes that were hand selected in Japan and brought to Brazil, where they thrive in the dewy climate.
The Stash company is located in Portland, Oregon and they offer an assortment of tea types and flavors. Their premium green tea is inexpensive and steeps deliciously into a golden-green, steamy hue. Stash teas are great to keep on hand for everyday tea enjoyment.
Pros: Inexpensive tea for everyday use. Stash offers organic and fair trade green teas. Tasty tea with a nutty and sweet, non-bitter flavor. Stash teas bags are individually wrapped in foil to preserve freshness for long periods of time. Contains moderate amounts of caffeine to give you gentle a nudge.
Cons: Stash premium green tea is not organic.
Consensus: I recommend using Stash as an everyday green tea because it is inexpensive and delicious. However, to avoid the possibility of ingesting harmful chemicals it is best to purchase their organic premium options.
My final brew style green tea brand is Yogi. Yogi is a brand of tea that is focused on complex flavors and health benefits. The super antioxidant green tea fits their mold of an incredibly flavored green tea that provides an expanded range of health benefits.
It’s the only tea on my list that contains ingredients other than green tea leaves. The green tea leaves are complimented by lemon grass, licorice root, alfalfa leaves, burdock root, dandelion root, and Irish moss powder. Each of these ingredients provide a source of aroma interest and beneficial abilities that heighten the green tea experience. Yogi Super Antioxidant Green Tea reviewers rave about the flavor.
Pros: Amazing flavor interest due to complimentary ingredients. Added health benefits and antioxidants. All natural and almost entirely organic. Mild caffeine content for gentle energy and focus. Great price for the complexity.
Cons: Not a classic green tea brew, for it contains many other ingredients.
Consensus: Yogi is the perfect tea brand choice for someone who is bored of the classic green tea and wants to mix it up. It has amazing flavors and health benefits due to complex pairing of ingredients.
Steaz organic iced green tea is my favorite brand selection for pre-prepared green teas. Steaz teas offer all the health benefits of green tea without the need to steep! Additionally, they come in a variety of flavors including peach, blueberry pomegranate, half & half, mint, coconut water, grapefruit honey, and unsweetened passionfruit.
All of the flavors are organic, fair trade certified and most of the flavors are lightly sweetened. This makes for a healthy, low calorie, easy alternative to traditionally steeped tea.
Pros: Canned for on-the-go green tea. Many flavors including peach, blueberry pomegranate, half & half, mint, coconut water, grapefruit honey, and unsweetened passionfruit. 100% organic and fair trade certified.
Cons: Most Steaz teas contain some calories because they are lightly sweetened. Steaz teas are meant to be consumed cold, so you will not be able to have a steamy cup of Steaz. More expensive than brewing and bottling your own green tea.
Consensus: Steaz Organic Green Tea is tasty and easy to drink, but the added sugar should deter you from making this your all-day tea. However, enjoying one or two a day will get you all the health benefits of green tea without adding too much sugar into your diet.
Green Tea Nutrition Facts
Listed below are some of the features we looked for when deciding on the best green tea brands. Also listed is well researched information on the heath benefits and side effects of green tea consumption.
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea originated in China, but its production has spread to many countries in Asia.
Green tea stems from the Camellia sinensis plant. Surprisingly, this is the same plant that black tea is produced from. The difference and what makes the tea leaves “green” comes with harvesting and processing techniques. Green tea leaves are harvested and then quickly steamed or pan fried to prevent oxidation. This process keeps the antioxidants and produces tea that is slightly sweet and earthy with no bitterness.
According to Wikipedia, “lower-quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer while higher-quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter, but usually for multiple times (2-3 typically). Steeping too hot or for too long results in the release of excessive amounts of tannins, leading to a bitter, astringent brew, regardless of initial quality. The brew’s taste is also affected by the steeping technique. Two important techniques are to warm the steeping container beforehand to prevent the tea from immediately cooling down and to leave the tea leaf in the pot and gradually add more hot water as you drink the tea.”
Summary: Green tea stems from the Camellia sinensis plant. Surprisingly, this is the same plant that black tea is produced from. The difference and what makes the tea leaves “green” comes with harvesting and processing techniques. Green tea leaves are harvested and then quickly steamed or pan fried to prevent oxidation.
Green Tea Health Benefits
No matter the brand, green tea is one of the best drinks you can consume to improve your overall health and wellbeing. The health benefits of green tea span from promoting weight loss to preventing cancer. Below is a list of the many health benefits green tea has to offer, as well as the best green tea brands for each benefit.
- Prevents Cancer — Green tea has been studied extensively for it’s cancer prevention properties. One of the key components found in green tea is known to inhibit urokinase, an enzyme that is essential for cancer cell production. And good news, one study in particular found that drinking more than 10 cups of green tea a day showed the greatest cancer fighting results. So drink up, the more tea the better!
- All Smiles — Get this. Green tea extract has been found to be more beneficial in cavity prevention than fluoride. There is an old saying in Japan that drinking green tea cleans your mouth, and it turns out that the saying is no myth. Green tea has anti-microbial properties that fight off dental decay. An experiment conducted in elementary schools showed that kids who drank a cup of green tea right after their lunch had less cavities! Keep in mind that selecting a green tea brand with added sugar will not help with cavities.
- Heart Health — Green tea has properties that protect against cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world. Green tea drinkers have a decreased rate of mortality due to cardiovascular health issues. If you are concerned about heart health, it may be wise for you to choose a green tea brand that has mild caffeine content.
- Weight Loss — Catechin is the main type of antioxidant found in green tea and has been linked to weight loss in males and females. It is supposed that the combination of flavonoids and caffeine found in green tea heightens your weight loss compared to other sources of caffeine. For this reason, many green tea brands market themselves as weight loss diet drinks. The truth is, all green tea (especially caffeinated brands) will help you lose weight.
- Reduces Stress — Drinking tea is therapeutic. It’s no surprise that tea is often consumed soon after waking up, after a meal with family, and in the evenings before bed. Tea has relaxing qualities that have been found to reduce physiological stress by as much as 20%.
- Fights Candida/Yeast — Candida is a common fungus often found in the human digestive tract. Overgrowth of the Candida fungus can cause an alarming number of symptoms such as chronic fatigue, poor memory, bloating, and many autoimmune diseases. This study found that Japanese green tea has anti-fungal effects that ward off candida infections.
- Boosts Bone Density — Green tea boosts your bone mineral density. Having higher bone density puts off your chance of getting osteoporosis and bone fractures. One study reports that green tea consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of hip fractures.
- Immune Health — Green tea is being studied for is protective qualities against many diseases and viruses. In particular, green tea has shown to inhibit Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, influenza virus, and even Herpes simplex virus. In some cases, green tea extract can provide stronger beneficial effects than Vitamin C!
- Diabetes Prevention — Diabetes is caused by your body’s inability to regulate it’s glucose levels. A healthy body uses it’s naturally produced insulin to keep your glucose levels in check. Amazingly, green tea is comprised of flavonoids that mimic insulin. Green tea will reduce your glucose levels AND increase your tolerance to glucose. Again, sweetening your tea or selecting a green tea brand with added sugar could instead be harmful for diabetics.
Summary: Green tea is one of the best drinks you can consume to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Among it’s benefits are cavity, diabetes, and cancer prevention, it protects against cardiovascular disease and candida, boosts bone density, and much more.
Green Tea Side Effects
Although green tea offers amazing health benefits, there are a few side effects to watch out for. These side effects are usually experienced when consuming high doses of green tea. Depending on which brand of green tea you drink and the amount you are consuming, these side effects could be avoided almost entirely.
- Caffeine Content — Almost all the possible side effects from drinking green tea can be tied to caffeine intake. Side effects from excessive caffeine use include insomnia, restlessness, nausea, increased heart rate, headaches, and dehydration. To reduce your caffeine intake you may want to mix some decaffeinated green tea brands into your diet.
- Aluminum Consumption — An unlikely side effect of excessive green tea consumption is exposure to aluminum. Although not usually harmful, the presence of too much aluminum in your diet could have possible links to kidney or Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea does contain small amounts of aluminum.
- Stained Teeth — One cosmetic side effect of green tea to watch out for is stained teeth. Much like coffee and wine, tea will stain your teeth overtime. Combat this with natural teeth whitening techniques or white strips.
Summary: Although green tea offers amazing health benefits, there are a few side effects to watch out for including caffeine content, aluminum consumption, and stained teeth.
Brewed Vs. Bottled Green Tea
Bottled green tea is a good option for those who are always on the go because it doesn’t require any preparation. However there are a few down sides to exclusively drinking bottled green tea brands.
For one, it is more expensive to buy your tea pre-made. Home brewing will save you money and allow you to make your tea taste exactly to your liking.
It is also more environmentally-friendly to brew your own teas. An alternative to buying bottled green tea would be to prepare your tea ahead of time, refrigerate it, and bring it with you in a reusable bottle.
Caffeinated Vs. Decaffeinated Green Tea
Safe green tea drinking involves monitoring your caffeine intake.
Many people drink tea exclusively for the energy that caffeine provides. Others are deterred from tea drinking because of caffeine’s side effects.
Luckily there are a number of green tea brands with a range of different caffeine concentrations. You may choose to manage your caffeine consumption by drinking caffeinated green tea in the morning to boost your energy for the day ahead and drinking decaffeinated teas before bed so your sleep cycle is not interfered with.
Either way, there will always be a brand of green tea that can suit your caffeine needs.
Organic Vs. Conventional Green Tea
The topic of organic vs. conventional products is often discussed by people with varying views. However, in the case of tea it is generally agreed upon that organic tea is the better choice.
Non-organic tea leaves are sprayed with numerous, harmful herbicides and pesticides. Some of these chemicals used by tea producing countries have been banned in Western countries because of their toxicity.
Although the leaves may washed during processing, many of the toxic chemicals remain within the tea leaves. When you brew the tea, these chemicals are released along with the tea for you to consume. Therefore, we suggest that the best green tea brands are those that are grown organically.
No matter the brand, green tea is one of the best drinks you can consume to improve your overall health and wellbeing. The health benefits of green tea span from promoting weight loss to preventing cancer. The health benefits of green tea span from promoting weight loss to protecting against cardiovascular disease to even preventing cancer.
There are thousands of great green tea brands out there, but my favorites include Viva Naturals Organic Matcha, a ceremonial grade tea traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies, Bigelow, a tea brand with tea leaves are hand picked from the “highest elevation gardens”, and Zhou Nutrition Green Tea Extract, a brand often recommended by personal trainers and nutritionists based on it high, natural antioxidant content.