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Enoky said

Which is better? higher quality/less often or lower quality/more often

For green tea, is it better to drink a higher quality tea less often or a lower quality tea more often?

12 Replies

(UPDATE)
I think this is an excellent question, and I would like to hear anyone else’s take on this.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I judge by ‘better’ you mean healthier?

Even given that, there are many “purported” health benefits gained by drinking green tea. So I think a more precise answer depends on exactly what benefits you are after.

So taking the general approach I will give you my take.

Based mostly on what I have read (and on some general knowledge about the human body) I would guess that lower quality more often is better. I have read quite a few books and done quite a bit of searching online about the health benefits of green tea, and in all of the studies I came across I don’t EVER remember the researchers mentioning anything about the quality of the tea they used in their study. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember them even stating whether or not they used loose leaf or tea bags. They simply state that they used “green tea”.

One important thing I remember about the results of these studies is that the frequency with which you drink green tea can make a difference in the level of benefits you receive from the tea (for example, one cup vs. five cups vs. ten cups a day). Much of the research seems to support, for example, five cups is better than one, ten cups is better than five (There surely must be an upper limit to how many cups are beneficial, but I personally haven’t seen any research on that).

One thing I look for in the green tea I drink is freshness (which may be considered a component of quality). My understanding is that green, white and yellow tea CAN loose some of their healthful benefits in as little as three to four months from harvest. But I think that depends on many things. It seems the general guideline is to drink it within a year of harvest, two at the latest. That’s why knowing the harvest date when I buy green tea is so important to me. I believe it is similar to what happens to most organic food as it ages: as the tea gets older, its starts to deteriorate (not true about some teas though, like Pu-erh). Although unlike organic food, I don’t think the tea actually goes ‘bad,’ I think it simply looses its flavor (and any associated health benefits).

I think what it comes down to is: What is sustainable for you? What tea will you drink day after day after day? Which one can you afford to drink daily? Which one tastes good to you? Is it easy/convenient enough to brew daily? From what I have read recently, it may not even matter if the tea you drink is green: what may matter most is that you’re simply drinking tea, any tea at all—as long as it’s from the camellia sinensis plant (and I guess I wouldn’t count most of the RTD Ready To Drink bottled teas).

Again, the benefits of drinking tea are dependent on your continuing to drink it on a daily basis. I see it like eating healthy. Sure, you can eat a few garden picked organic raw carrots on the weekend. But if you don’t eat healthy the rest of the time, what good does eating those carrots do? My guess is probably not much, no matter how high a quality those carrots are (I use carrots in this example because I eat them daily, AND I do a lot of other things to make sure I am ‘eating healthy’). It would probably be better to eat a few standard store bought carrots every day, than to eat a few high quality ones every now and then (or apples; I find wisdom in the saying, An apple a day keeps the doctor away).

I believe Rishi’s answer to a related question, “Which is the best tea to drink?” helps somewhat to summarize. Their answer: The one you will drink EVERY DAY. That’s what sticks with me.

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Depending on how you define quality. To me, for most green tea, a universal standard of quality is freshness. I can like relatively cheap tea and drink a lot of it. But when a green tea loses freshness, I would rather drink less of fresh tea or switch to non-green teas.

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Spot52 select said

I say put both hands together. I would opt for higher quality and quantity!
All joking aside, I would prefer a smaller amount of high quality tea over a larger amount of lower quality. I just want to enjoy what I have.

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seule771 said

Tea, green tea and the occasional high quality like Matcha Green Japanese tea for example is my definition of quality in the cup. We, I cant’ afford a $90 plus package of Matcha to drink this daily, all day long; it would not be healthy in the longer run of things.

I am not expert either.

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Enoky said

Thank you all very much for your replies.

Yes, I was referring to health benefits in my question. I was trying to keep it vague to see what kind of responses would come in.

I drink low grade DragonWell all day long. I probably make 4-6 24oz pots a day.

I sometimes wonder if I fell into a “more is better” routine and if drinking a high quality gyokuro (or other fine tea) a few times a day would be better for my health.

I think I will stick to my current plan. I do agree that drinking tea consistantly throughout the day is probably better for flushing out toxins, etc.

I think maybe I will make one more change. In an effort to put both hands together, I will drink one pot of higher quality green tea as my first tea in the morning. Maybe that will help me get out of bed.

Thank you all very much.

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chaijeeyah said

Both! Why don’t you get yourself one lower quality tea for everyday usage and one high quality tea for special occasions?

For example, I use cheap brand of a relatively good loose Gunpowder green tea, available at local stores, that leads me into my working days, and a premium quality Dragon Well on reserve for times of self-indulgence.

That’s basically what I do; I use the less expensive green teas for my morning tea (before work), and then I spend a little more on higher grade teas to drink on the weekends and/or for special occasions (when I have more time to sit with them).

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I don’t believe in drinking tea solely for the health benefits. I personally don’t buy into the tea-is-a-miracle-cure hype. It’s better for you than, say, soda, but it’s not magic.

I consider “high-quality” teas to be teas from confirmed estates, of a high grade, freshness, etc, and “low-quality” to be teas which may not be as fresh, or may be blended or heavily flavored or whatnot.

I drink a mix. I just think you should drink what makes you happy.

I hear you, Michelle, on not drinking tea solely for the health benefits, but I don’t see it as EITHER/OR (as you seem to imply here). I bet most people drink tea for a variety of reasons. I started drinking green tea primarily for the health benefits, not solely, as I wouldn’t drink it if I didn’t get some kind of enjoyment out of it.

I decided to respond here because I have seen this kind of perspective/point-of-view/etc. come up before: (what I see as) polarizing why we choose to drink tea into two and only two possibilities: EITHER 1) I drink it for health benefits OR 2) I drink it because I like the taste/aroma/etc. of it.

I just so happen to drink it for both.

I certainly agree with this: “I personally don’t buy into the tea-is-a-miracle-cure hype.” But some believe (as I do) that drinking Tea—especially green tea—on a regular basis has some ‘health benefits’ (that’s a very broad description), as in, it does things for us that go beyond, “Wow, this stuff tastes/smells/looks good”. I personally haven’t found anyone that claims drinking tea is ‘magic’ (If you, or someone else, has seen a credible source—as in, not just some blog, but a reputable tea retailer, or government, or medical organization—state this somewhere, I would love for you to point it out to me).

There’s plenty of scientific studies and tons of historical, or anecdotal, ‘accounts’ (partially in the form of belief systems passed down through the ages) that support (not prove) that tea can be healthy (in all kind of ways) for those who consume it on a regular basis. I intentionally worded that last sentence very carefully to attempt to be clear that I believe there is no definitive answer as to whether or not drinking tea directly does anything considered to improve one’s health.

And yet, I believe (without going into details here) my choice to drink Tea daily has done wonders for me (that’s not the same as magic, because, I think I can explain WHY). And, now, as it turns out, I drink it more for the flavor/aroma/beauty of it all, more than for the ‘health benefits’. I very likely would not have discovered the wonders of Tea had it not been for all of the ‘supposed health benefits’. And so I agree, “drink what makes you happy.” : – )

Ah, sorry, I think I came across a bit harsh there! I just meant that I dislike those health nuts who are all “Do you know why I drink green oolong tea? Because Dr. Oz said it would help me lose weight!” I know I personally feel better / my skin looks a lot better when I drink more tea, so I definitely think there are health benefits. It’s just not the primary reason I drink it :)

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Azzrian said

I think whatever we believe in works for us :)
I believe in eating fresh grapefruit and sweet potatoes and drinking tea. I don’t eat grapefruit daily by any means but boy when I’m feeling cruddy – I have hubby run down the road to the fruit farm and pick me up a couple of grapefruits and I perk up right away. Mind of matter perhaps, lacking in citrus vitamins maybe, or just that I think it will make me feel better. Whatever it is if you THINK something is going to help you and BELIEVE that it is – it will. To me that’s magical :) My two cents anyway :)

Alphakitty said

I so agree with this! When I was young, whenever I’d get sick my dad would mix orange juice and ginger ale for me. There’s definitely vitamin C in there and ginger ale is good for an upset stomach, but it’s kind of become a catch-all cure for me. I know it’s not magically making me better, but I FEEL better after drinking it, no matter what I’m sick with. Tea is like this too, it has a very comforting aspect. If I have a really bad headache I reach for herbal tea—is it curing my headache? Probably not. Does it make me feel better? Yes! Of course there are real health benefits to tea but some of it at least is certainly mindset.

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