What is green tea?Green tea is made by lightly steaming freshly cut leaves of Camellia sinensis. It is higher in catechins (polyphenols) such as EGCG than black tea. It is sold in many forms such as tea bags, loose teas, matcha powders, bottled teas, and as supplements containing extracts with high concentrations of catechins. Green tea also contains caffeine — about half as much per cup as in coffee (see What It Is).
Health benefits of green tea:Health benefits are generally associated with catechins in green tea, most notably EGCG. Benefits include a modest reduction in LDL cholesterol, reduced growth of uterine fibroids and associations with lower risks of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. These benefits are generally associated with consumption of 3 or more cups per day. Studies with green tea supplements typically provide 200 mg to 300 mg per day. The evidence regarding weight loss and memory benefits is mixed and may relate to the caffeine in green tea (see What It Does).
What did CL's tests of green tea products find?Our tests (see What CL Found) found shockingly little EGCG (0.64 mg to 7.6 mg) per cup in four brands of brewable teas (tea bags or loose tea), but much higher amounts (up to 90.8 mg) in several others. Supplements provided 26.4 mg to 250 mg of EGCG per serving. Matcha powders provided about 100 to 150 mg of EGCG per teaspoon (2 grams).
Which is the best green tea?Our Top Pick among green tea in tea bags stood out for having excellent flavor and providing one of the highest amounts of EGCG at modest cost. Our Top Pick for matcha costs just 1/3 the price of a nearly identical matcha powder and provides 50% more EGCG. We chose both a low-dose and a high-dose Top Pick among green tea supplements. Although green tea leaves can accumulate toxic lead, none of the products were found to provide significant amounts of lead. (see ConsumerTips).
Green tea safety, side effects, and drug interactions:Green tea can interfere with a range of drugs. Liver toxicity is a concern with high doses of EGCG from green tea supplements, particularly if not consumed with food. Avoid excessive green tea when pregnant. Excessive tea consumption can make bones and teeth brittle. Don't drink very hot tea due to an association with gastric cancer (see Concerns and Cautions).
Green Tea Review: Tea Bags, Loose Tea, Matcha Powders, and Supplements
Disturbing Findings for Some Major Brands of Green Tea. See the Test Results and Our Top Picks for Green Tea.
Green tea brands of tea bags, loose tea, matcha powders, and supplements compared in this review
Bigelow Green Tea - Decaffeinated
Bigelow Premium Green Tea
Choice Organics Japanese Green
Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha
H-E-B Green Tea Extract 315 mg
Jade Leaf Organic Japanese Matcha
Lipton Green Tea - Decaffeinated
Lipton Pure Green Tea
Nature's Bounty Green Tea 315 mg
Newman's Own Organics Organic Green Tea
Numi Organic Tea Gunpowder Green
Pique Tea Crystals Jasmine
Prince of Peace 100% Organic Green Tea
Puritan's Pride Green Tea Extract
SuperFoods Matcha Green Tea Powder
Thorne Green Tea Phytosome
Trader Joe's Organic Green Tea
Twinings Of London Green Tea
Vahdam Teas 100% Pure Green Tea
Vitacost Green Tea Extract
Yogi Green Tea Pure Green Decaf
- ConsumerLab's Top Picks for brewable green teas, matcha powders and green tea supplements based on quality, value, and even taste
- Which products passed or failed our tests and why
- How much EGCG, total catechins, and caffeine is in each product
- Why contamination with lead, cadmium and arsenic is a concern, and what our tests showed
- Price comparisons showing how to get a green tea product with EGCG at the lowest cost
- Clinical information about the proposed health benefits of green tea, such as lowering cholesterol, weight loss, memory and cognition, cancer prevention and more, and dosage
- Cautions and potential side effects for green tea -- including drug interactions, concerns with plastic tea bags, a warning for women who are pregnant or nursing, liver toxicity, and effects on bones and teeth
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