Drinking green tea is popular. More and more people are discovering the health benefits of the hot drink. Because the interest is growing, the supply in the supermarkets is also increasing. Walk past the rack with tea, then you see how much choice there is...
At first sight, the wide range only seems to have advantages for the consumer. This way you choose which type of tea you prefer to drink. But is this tea really healthy? And how do you recognize quality tea? I went to investigate for you!
The largest tea brands in the Belgian supermarket
In Belgian supermarkets you will mainly find tea from international brands. For example, Lipton, Pickwick and Twinings are the largest players and of these, Lipton is the absolute market leader.
In addition, you will also find brands such as Clipper, Special T., Dolce Gusto and private labels in certain supermarkets. More and more supermarkets have their own private label, for example Delhaize has a fair trade brand and Carrefour has a tin with loose tea in its range.
Where does tea come from?
All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis tree. Yes, green, black and white tea come from this tree. The tree can grow to a height of about 20 meters but is kept short as a shrub. The type of tea is determined by the process that the leaves subsequently undergo.
Today, tea is grown in different areas around the world. The most famous tea producing countries are China, Sri Lanka, India, Japan and Taiwan. In addition, there are also emerging countries and areas such as Nepal, Africa and Vietnam.
How do you recognize quality tea?
Tea sommeliers can immediately distinguish quality tea from 'average tea' by the tea leaves, taste and smell.
This is often a bit more difficult for consumers, but the quality of the tea depends on a number of things:
- The plantation and the processing process
- The purity of the tea
The taste and quality of the tea is determined by the area where the tea grows. For example, it is related to the fertility of the soil, the amount of sunlight, the height of the plantation and the tea leaf.
You cannot control the origin and these factors yourself. What you can check is the tea leaves. What do the tea leaves look like, are they whole or broken into small pieces? Tea leaves are sorted by size. You have leaf tea, brokens (coarser pieces), and fannings and dust (the smallest pieces).
Did you know that the size of the leaf determines how quickly scents, colors and flavors are released? The smaller the tea leaf, the faster it happens. And that is why fannings and dust are often processed in tea bags, so that you can quickly make tea.
Unfortunately, these smallest pieces are often somewhat damaged, so that the good substances are lost more easily. This tea is of lesser quality, so it is best to opt for canned loose tea. In loose tea, the large tea leaves are used, the good substances are better preserved.
The purity of the tea
Manufacturers often add artificial fragrances and flavors to their teas. We drink tea because it is tasty and healthy, but you can no longer speak of a pure product.
A good quality tea may contain dried fruit pieces and natural aromas, but synthetic substances are not good! So be sure to check the ingredient list of your favorite tea. Does it contain aromas or sugars? Then it is best to choose another brand.
More and more supermarkets are opting for labels such as Fairtrade. If you choose these brands, you can be sure that the tea pickers have received a good price for the product. And that is actually just as important.
Is supermarket tea healthy?
Now the most important question: is supermarket tea really healthy? We cannot give a simple answer to that because there are major differences in quality.
In 2014, consumer program De Keuringsdienst van Waarde conducted a study into the quality of the Lipton tea brand. A consumer had noticed that her tea bags contained brown granules that tasted like chewing gum.
I did the test for you, I went looking for tea bags of the brand and looked at what was in the bag. The result of my Lipton test: the bag contained tea, rose petals and yes: brown granules.
Why do they add such granules?
The brown granules were examined and it turned out to be sugar. And even worse: about 4 to 5 percent of the total weight of the Lipton sachet is sugar. Misleading, people have been drinking sugar for years without knowing this... My box unfortunately disappears in the bin.
The research showed that international brands often add hidden sugars and aromas so that they can cover up the lower quality. Because of these aromas, they ensure that the consumer likes the tea and therefore sells the tea better.
What to pay attention to when purchasing
I recommend leaving supermarket tea aside and visiting a specialty tea shop. Do you still want to buy supermarket tea? Be sure to pay attention to the following:
- Green tea from the supermarket often contains a smaller concentration of green tea. The problem: the content is often not stated on the packaging. Choose tea where the content is clearly described and check the percentage of real tea.
- See if there are added flavors and sugar in your favorite tea. This usually means that the quality of the tea is poor. They try to cover up the poor quality with added flavors.
Conclusion: choose quality tea
Many people drink green tea because they like it and for its health benefits. But many international brands add hidden aromas, so the beneficial effect is partly lost. This is no longer pure tea!
Are you looking for the purest form of tea? Then matcha green tea is for you. When you drink matcha, you consume the entire leaf of the tea tree, which means you get all the good substances. Matcha contains no less than 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea and does this for your body :
- It provides a boost to your metabolism that burns calories
- It provides a thorough cleansing of the body
- Matcha improves your ability to concentrate and is therefore good for productivity
- It provides a huge energy boost for up to 5 hours
- It is good against numerous diseases because it is packed with antioxidants
- Matcha lowers cholesterol and your blood sugar
Do you also want to experience these health benefits? Order your pot of matcha green tea here.
Next time I will share a recipe based on green tea, so keep an eye on the blog. And for that I naturally work with real quality tea ;-)