There is a misconception that it takes pot upon pot of green tea to add up to any significant benefits. In reality, much of the research on green tea has been based on about three cups daily, which is easily attainable for most people. A cup of green tea will give you anywhere from 20-35 mg of EGCG, so three in a day will supply you with 60-105 mg.
There are some studies that have used much higher doses than this — upwards of 1,500 mg a day — but as of now there’s clear-cut evidence of exactly how much is best.
If you’re new to tea brewing, you’ll discover it’s a bit of an art, just like brewing the perfect cup of coffee. Many enjoy using loose tea leaves, which ConsumerLab.com found may offer even more antioxidants (while also avoiding potential toxicants in tea bags). Once you find your “sweet spot” you may never go back to bagged tea again. Here are a few simple guidelines for making the “perfect” cup of tea:
- Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle (avoid using a non-stick pot, as this can release harmful chemicals when heated).
- Preheat your teapot or cup to prevent the water from cooling too quickly when transferred. Simply add a small amount of boiling water to the pot or tea up that you’re going to steep the tea in. Ceramic and porcelain retain heat well. Then cover the pot or cup with a lid. Add a tea cozy if you have one, or drape with a towel. Let stand until warm, then pour out the water.
- Put the tea into an infuser, strainer, or add loose into the tea pot. Steeping without an infuser or strainer will produce a more flavorful tea. Start with one heaped teaspoon per cup of tea, or follow the instructions on the tea package. The robustness of the flavor can be tweaked by using more or less tea.
- Add boiling water. Use the correct amount for the amount of tea you added (i.e. for four teaspoons of tea, add four cups of water). The ideal water temperature varies based on the type of tea being steeped:
- White or green teas (full leaf): Well below boiling (170-185°F or 76-85°C). Once the water has been brought to a boil, remove from heat and let the water cool for about 30 seconds for white tea and 60 seconds for green tea before pouring it over the leaves
Oolongs (full leaf): 185-210°F or 85-98°C
- Black teas (full leaf) and Pu-erhs: Full rolling boil (212°F or 100°C)
- Cover the pot with a cozy or towel and let steep. Follow steeping instructions on the package. If there are none, here are some general steeping guidelines. Taste frequently as you want it to be flavorful but not bitter:
- Oolong teas: 4-7 minutes
- Black teas: 3-5 minutes
- Green teas: 2-3 minutes
- Once the desired flavor has been achieved, you need to remove the strainer or infuser. If you’re using loose leaves, pour the tea through a strainer into your cup and any leftover into another vessel (cover with a cozy to retain the heat).
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