With the recent rise in health awareness, informed customers have compelled the market to bring forth a paradigm shift in the available food choices. As a result, diet sodas and healthier alternatives to our favourite foods and beverages are now readily available in even the most remote stores. Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. In the endeavour to keep up with the constant shift in consumer preferences, tea has evolved from its traditional form. Relatively healthy variants and alternatives to conventional tea, in the form of flavoured and unsweetened green tea, are not just a rarity now in contemporary India.
Before we get to the multitude of benefits green tea has to offer, let’s look at what makes it so different from other varieties of tea such as oolong or black tea. Green tea is a non-fermented tea, directly produced by drying and steaming leaves of the plant Camellia Sinensis. This non-oxidative process packs green tea with a higher proportion of strong antioxidants called Catechins, minerals, polyphenols and flavonoids, compared to the other variants, which combined with the low calorie advantage (~2.5 calories per cup), makes it an ideal rejuvenating, healing and cleansing beverage with a plethora of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-diabetic and most importantly, cancer preventative properties.
Things to keep in mind while buying Green Tea
Today, over 50 green tea brands are available in India, each having their share of pros and cons. In general, the following should be considered for before buying green tea.
- Packaging date not older than 12 months.
- Loose tea over tea bags as tea bags have higher content of twigs, fannings and dust.
- Added ingredients. While addition of herbs such as turmeric, lemon, cinnamon etc. boosts the benefits of green tea, teas with added salt or sugar should be avoided.
- Taste and aroma.
- Plastic and stapler pin free packaging.
This brings us to the top green tea brands available in India. The following section looks at 10 such brands, their pros and cons.
Top 10 Green Tea Brands, Their Pros and Cons.
Lipton, a brand of tea owned by Unilever, ranks amongst the most widely consumed teas in the world. Lipton teas are a blend of the finest ingredients, handpicked from varied plantations scattered worldwide.
Exported to over 110 countries, the brand’s strong visibility can be owed to their cutting edge advertising strategies, and collaboration with media’s popular faces.
Available in a range of flavors , Lipton promises enhanced metabolism and weight loss, if consumed for a certain period of time. The brand’s also appreciated for opting for environmentally sustainable methods at the manufacturing stage.
- Affordable (INR 88 per 100 g).
- More than 100 mg catechins per cup.
- Loose tea.
- Multiple flavor variants like Pure & Light (unflavored), Tulsi Natura, Honey & Lemon and Lemon Zest.
- Lipton uses sustainably sourced tea and paper for the tea bags, to care beffer for the environment.
- Poor packaging
- Bitter taste.
- Usage of staple pins to seal tea bags poses potential harm to health.
With a history dating back to 1837, Tetley is one of the leading tea brands today, offering it’s customers a sip of happiness with their magical tea blends. The brand has always been at the pioneer of innovation and was incidentally, one of the tea brands to launch elaichi, masala, ginger and lemon variants in the Indian market. What however stands the brand apart from its competitors is its philanthropic initiatives. One such venture is Tetley’s collaboration with UNICEF to launch Ethical Tea Partnership with an aim to safeguard the rights of children working in Assamese Tea Estates. Since it’s inception in 2006, ETP has worked with over 350 communities spanning over 100 tea estates. In 2015, the brand collaborated with Jossbox.com to launch a web series, ‘The Transformation’, that focused on the fat-to-fab journey of 19 contestants from all across the world. Their vitamin-infused green teas bagged them a Guinness World Record in 2017. A sustainable brand, it only has health benefits for its consumers, minimal damage to the environment and farmers at its heart.
- High anti-oxidant content.
- Multiple variants: Ginger, Mint, Lemon, Mango and Aloe Vera.
- Vitamin infused super green tea and long leaf green teas.
- Soothing, pleasant aroma and taste.
- Can be incorporated in a variety of recipes such as iced tea, smoothies, tea loaf, vegetable Shammi, bubble tea and cheesecake.
- Plastic and staple-free packaging.
- Use of essence in flavoured versions.
- Mild flavour, not appreciated by some consumers.
- Bitter if brewed for more than 3 minutes.
Girnar set out about four decades ago with an aim to take the king of beverages, Tea, all over the globe. Today, it’s one of the finest tea brands with customers spanning across India and 48 other countries. The brand boasts of offering the right mix of a variety of Loose Teas, ‘Dip and Sip’ Tea bags, Infusions in India and Ceylon. While their online store ‘ChaiChai’ offers their entire product range, ‘My Signature Cup’, a venture unique to them allows one to customize their own tea blend.
- Unique Detox Green Tea and Kahwa, that is infused with the goodness of a plethora of immunity boosting herbs such as Black Pepper, Ginger, Tulsi, Asafoetida, Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon, Nutmeg.
- Sugar free and diabetic friendly.
- Added benefits such as in relieving stomach bloating and seasonal flu.
- Soupy taste that’s not a public favorite.
- High content of salt and sodium, making it undesirable for hypertensive patients.
- Only available online.
- Relatively expensive (INR 320 per 100 g)
4. Organic India
Organic India is a brand that aims to be the vehicle of consciousness in the global market by selling true wellness products that are created sustainably and holistically for the heath and environment conscious individuals. They provide organic products by partnering directly with farmers and tribal wildcrafters. The brand offers a unique range of organic Tulsi tea infusions and Tulsi green teas that pack a flavourful, healthful punch by offering a myriad of benefits such as detoxification and weight loss. In addition to Tulsi, their green tea is also infused with fruits and flowers such as pomegranate, lemon, hibiscus and jasmine, making it a refreshing, anti-stress, anti-ageing, nutrient-rich, digestive, energy and immunity boosting drink.
- High anti-oxidant (ECGC) content that enhances stamina, respiratory functions, stimulates and revitalizes.
- Enriched with three varieties of health beneficial Tulsi- Rama, Krishna and Vana.
- Powerful adaptogen that boosts mood and metabolism.
- Refreshing Taste.
- Affordable (INR 218 per 100 g)
- Multiple flavor options.
- Fluctuating prices.
- Strong taste of Tulsi, that can be off-putting for some.
- Small crushed leaves, making it difficult to distinguish between Tulsi and Green Tea leaves.
5. Wagh Bakri
The brand forayed into the tea business in 1892, with an entrepreneur Shri Narandas Desai purchasing a 500 acres land in South Africa. It’s there he learnt the art of cultivating and nurturing tea single-handedly and passionately. He soon moved back to India and started Wagh Bakri Tea Company, which today, is one of the leading packaged tea companies in India, distributing over 400 million kgs of tea each year, with a turnover of 1500 crores. The company owns an undisputable presence throughout central and western India and is now expanding globally as well. Today, it boasts of serving it’s customers, finest green tea made from leaves of Camellia Sinensis that undergo minimum oxidation and are rich not only in antioxidants but also taste. It’s variants like Lemon Green Tea, Lemon Honey Green Tea and Kahwa Green Tea offer additional benefits such as detoxification by flushing out of toxins such as harmful chemicals and free oxygen radicals and stress-relief.
- Easy to prepare.
- Enriched with lemon, honey and immunity boosting herbs.
- High levels of rock salt.
6. Amazon Brand: Vedaka
The e-commerce giant Amazon offers multiple store brands, products from which can be purchased exclusively through their application, AmazonFresh and/or Prime Pantry. These brands are Amazon’s in-house offerings, different from the third-party brands that sell their products via Amazon. Vedaka is one such brand for groceries, spices, pulses, lentils, flours, teas, grains, oils, dry fruits and other everyday items.
- Cheaper compared to other brands (INR 200 per 100 g).
- Freshly packaged tea leaves.
- Stapler free tea bags, sealed with aluminium to encapsulate goodness.
- Porous cotton bags that do not shed fibre even if dipped for long.
- Crushed powder like leaves.
- Extremely mild flavor.
Dabur is world’s leading Ayurveda company with over 250 herbal and ayurvedic products manufactured under its master brand name since 1884. Five brands with distinctive identities come under this master brand with natural healthcare products sold under the brand ‘Dabur’, premium personal care under ‘Vatika’, digestives under ‘Hajmola’, fruit juices and beverages under ‘Real’ and bleaches and skincare products under ‘Fem’. Today, Dabur has its presence felt domestically as well as overseas, with more than 6.7 million retail outlets in India, spread across various urban and rural areas. What makes the brand unique is its product formulation that utilizes ayurvedic plants and herbs, making their products natural and chemical free. Dabur Vedik Suraksha Green Tea is one-of-it’s-kind offering by the brand, combining the goodness of green tea with immunity boosting herbs such as Tulsi, kaali-mirch, daalchini, shunthi and kishmish. In a health conscious world battling the widely spreading novel COVID virus, this offering by Dabur is the ideal and most sought after choice.
- Tulsi helps relieve stress.
- Kali mirch serves as an immune modulator and also helps relieve congestion.
- Daalchini is good for metabolism and digestive health.
- Kishmish is not only good for heart health but also helps relieve fatigue.
- Shunthi is good for respiratory and brain health.
- Pleasant taste.
- 71% of the tea comprises of herbs and only 29 % is green tea.
- Taste becomes very strong, slightly towards bitter, if seeped for long.
A recently established brand, OnlyLeaf aims at curating flavorful green teas, rich in freshness and aroma. Their fresh whole leaf green teas not only carry more anti-oxidants and bio-compounds compared to other competitive brands, but also have considerably lower dust and fannings, giving it a pleasant, no-bitter taste. The brand strives to make green tea drinking an experience through their multiple flavor offerings, such as Organic, Mint, Tulsi, Jasmine, Hibiscus Clove Cinnamon, Rose, Chamomile, Ashwagandha, Detox Kahwa, Amla, Dandelion and Tulsi Ginger Turmeric Green Tea.
- Green tea made with whole leaves.
- 5 times more anti-oxidants.
- Negligible dust and fannings.
- 0 % bitterness.
- Can be steeped hot or cold and for twice as long.
- Directly sourced from tea estates.
- Pyramid-shaped tea bags to enable maximum infusion.
- Plastic bag packaging with traces of glue.
- Strong scent, unpleasant for few.
Kimino, is one of the few international green tea brands available in India. Their teas are sourced from the finest Tencha leaves cultivated at the renowned Mie prefecture of Japan. Unlike conventional green teas, their matcha green tea is available as a stone-ground, fine milled green powder. This ensures the entire leaf is consumed as opposed to being infused otherwise. As a result, a cup of this matcha green tea has 137 times more anti-oxidants and 9-times more beta-carotene than the conventional green tea. The emerald color tea also has a sweet aroma and a smooth, rich, creamy texture, unique to matcha.
- 100% organic.
- Rich in amino acid L-Theanine, making it an energy, focus and memory enhancer and relieves stress and anxiety.
- 137-times more anti-oxidants, especially beneficial in boosting metabolism, weight loss and fighting cancer.
- Powder like texture ensures maximum absorption, zero wastage.
- Can also be used in cakes, latte and milkshakes.
- Also finds use as a face pack with acne-fighting and anti-ageing benefits.
- Expensive (INR 1000 per 100 g)
- Significant amount of plastic in packaging.
- Henna like smell, detested by certain people.
- Acidic in nature (green tea should be ideally alkaline to ensure maximum benefits).
10. Heapwell Superfoods
Heapwell Superfoods specialises in superior quality yet affordable, tasty, nutritious and organic superfoods sourced from India, Japan and South America. Their matcha green tea, freshly ground every time an order is placed in small batches, is characterized by its vibrant green color and grassy aroma. Their packaging ensures that the tea stays protected from air, light and elevated temperatures. As a result, this healthful offering is loaded with anti-oxidants, amino acids and catechins and has multiple health benefits such as detoxification, weight loss, de-stressing and calm energy boost.
- Natural, vegan and gluten free.
- Directly sourced from Kyoto, Japan.
- Difficult to dissolve
- Bitter taste
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Does green tea guarantee weight loss?
While antioxidants called Catechins present in green tea aid fat burning, boost metabolism and prevent fat accumulation, caffeine acts as a stimulant for improved exercise performance. Although promising for weight loss, weight loss depends on multiple factors. Some of these include the quality of green tea being consumed (which determines the quantity of weight loss aiding catechins), the time at which it is being consumed, the sweetners that are being added, the BMI of the person consuming the tea and pre-existing medical conditions. When a balanced diet and 30 minutes of physical activity per day is ensured along with green tea consumption, weight loss has often been observed.
2. How many cups of green tea is it safe to be consumed each day?
Based on the daily permissible levels of catechins and caffeine, it is safe to consume upto 3 to 5 cups each day. The number however varies based on the type of green tea and the way it’s prepared.
3. Does green tea contain caffeine?
Yes, green tea does contain caffeine. The amount of caffeine depends on how the tea is prepared. Averagely, a cup of green tea has one-fourth the amount of caffeine than a cup of coffee. Also, amino acids present in green tea balances the caffeine boost, thus making it a milder stimulant.
4. What’s the best time to consume green tea?
Green tea is a beverage that can actually be consumed anytime of the day, with each having it’s own benefit. When taken in the morning, it can provide a sustained energy throughout the morning and increase alertness.
Before workout, it can result in increased endurance, higher fat absorption during exercise and weight loss. While consuming green tea 30-60 minutes after breakfast and lunch can boost metabolism, overconsumption can result in reduced iron, potassium and calcium absorption.
5. Is green tea always bitter?
Green tea is never bitter but has a mild nutty undertaste, if brewed correctly. Using filtered water at right temperature, brewing using fresh and high quality tea leaves devoid of fannings and dust and steeping the tea for no more than 3 minutes will ensure the tea doesn’t turn bitter.
6. What are the best additives to green tea?
Lemon is one of the best additive. The vitamin C in lemon makes more Catechins available for absorption, thus maximizing benefits as well as enhancing the flavor.
For those who like their tea sweet, adding raw or unprocessed honey can add anti-inflammatory benefits to your tea. It does however, come at the expense of added calories.