A beginner's guide to green tea

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What are your thoughts on green tea? Do you drink mug after mug of matcha, or are you more of a builder's brew person and don't like the idea of trying anything other than your English breakfast tea?

At Heyland & Whittle, our Greentea & Grapefruit-fragranced products - which include a Body Scrub, Reed Diffuser, Body Lotion and Candle in a Glass - are hugely popular, so there must be some fans of green tea out there!

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Green tea lends itself really well to being teamed with citrus fruits, like a slice of fresh lemon, or some zingy grapefruit, like in our home fragrance, and health and beauty products, which have a gorgeous refreshing aroma with oriental-inspired tones and an energising lift.

But if you're not so familiar with green tea, it's time to acquaint yourself. The drink is believed to have a wide variety of health benefits, and there are lots of different types and therefore tastes. Here's a brief guide to getting familiar with the beverage:

The different varieties of green tea

If you order a green tea in a cafe, then there's a high chance that you'll be served the sencha variety, as this is one of the most popular forms of the drink.

Sencha is a type of Japanese tea that is grown in direct sunlight and harvested as soon as it begins to sprout leaves, which gives it a fresh, very 'green' taste, making it a lovely and refreshing beverage.

You've also likely heard of matcha, which has an intense green colour and has become a bit of a foodie trend over the past couple of years, with everything from matcha cookies to matcha lattes popping up in coffee shops.

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Green tea lends itself really well to being teamed with citrus fruits

Matcha typically has a much sweeter taste than sencha, and it has a beautifully aromatic fragrance, making it a pleasure to drink.

But what about other varieties of green tea? Have you heard of shincha, for example? This type of green tea has a much more bitter taste, and is the result of the very first picking of sencha leaves, meaning the two types are closely related.

Meanwhile, bancha tea is what you get during the second sencha harvest. It has a much stronger aroma than most types of green tea, and is regarded as much lower grade of green tea. However, if you like your tea to have a powerful, distinct taste, you should be fine with this.

Health benefits of green tea

Drinking green tea is mooted to have many health benefits, from speeding up weight loss to increasing life expectancy and even reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.

Indeed, data drawn from the Ohsaki National Health Insurance Cohort Study involving over 40,000 Japanese adults found that women who consumed five or more cups of green tea each day were 23 per cent less likely to die prematurely, while this was lowered by 12 per cent for men.

Women were also 31 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with fatal heart disease and 42 per cent less likely to suffer a fatal stroke.

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In another Japanese study, it was found that people who introduced cups of green tea into their daily routine over a 12-week period saw significant reductions in their weight, body fat percentage, belly fat and waist circumference as a result.

There are a multitude of studies out there looking at the health benefits of green tea, but you'll only know by trying it yourself if it helps you with your digestion, weight loss and overall wellbeing. And remember, if you're struggling to get used to the taste, a slice of lemon or other citrus fruit will help to make it more palatable.

Tea is an inspiration for several of our products at Heyland & Whittle. Explore our complete collection here