The 8 Best Green Teas of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Plus what to consider—from variety to ingredients

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Well-known for its antioxidant content, green tea has become increasingly popular with many different types of products on the market, such as matcha and loose leaf tea. Green tea contains catechin polyphenols called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which are naturally occurring antioxidants that reduce oxidative cellular damage in the body. It also contains L-theanine, which has been shown to have cognitive-enhancing and stress-reducing properties.

The caffeine content of green tea products varies, but generally, eight ounces of green tea provides 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine, compared to about 100 milligrams in coffee. The gentle caffeine content provides an energy boost without some of the negative side effects of coffee, like headaches and anxiousness. 

What to Look for in Green Tea

Variety:

There are many green tea varieties, each with different flavor profiles. Jasmine and Sencha green teas are some of the most popular, yielding balanced vegetal and sweet flavors with a smooth finish. Choose matcha if you are looking for a bold flavor with a high antioxidant content. 

Sugar:

Packaged green tea products, including matcha powder, can contain high amounts of added sugar. The CDC recommends individuals keep their added sugar intake to less than 10 percent of their total calorie intake—for a 2,000 calorie per day intake, that would mean a maximum of 50 grams of added sugar per day. However, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum daily intake of 36 grams of sugar for men and 24 grams for women. Look for products with less than five grams of sugar per serving.

Ingredient List:

The shorter the ingredient list on green tea products, the better. Look for products that contain green tea or green tea powder as the only ingredient.

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Here, the best green teas on the market:

Best Overall: Rishi Tea Sencha Tea

Rishi Tea Sencha Tea

Certified organic, non-GMO, and 100% green tea, Rishi Sencha Green Tea tops our list. Sencha tea has a delicate flavor profile with sweet and bright earthy notes, making it an easily drinkable beverage. Rishi sources their sencha tea from Kyushu Island in southern Japan.

Each box contains 15 sachets, filled with organic sencha green tea leaves with 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. Rishi recommends brewing one sachet per eight ounces of water at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes.

Best Budget: Bigelow Classic Green Tea

Bigelow Classic Green Tea

Green tea can be expensive depending on the variety and brand—we like Bigelow Classic Green Tea for an affordable alternative. Their green tea leaves are hand-picked from high elevated gardens yielding a bright green flavor. 

Each box contains 20 tea bags, filled with their signature green tea blend with 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. To prepare the tea, Bigelow recommends steeping a tea bag in boiling water for three minutes.

Best Matcha Powder: Encha Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha Green Tea

Encha Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha Green Tea

Matcha has some of the highest concentrations of EGCG, making it an antioxidant powerhouse. Encha Ceremonial Organic Matcha is a smooth and rich ceremonial grade matcha, which means it’s made from the highest grade matcha leaves, sourced from Uji, Nishio, and Shizuoka, Japan.

Many prepared matcha drinks at coffee shops can contain upwards of 30 grams of sugar, so try whisking your own matcha at home. Try mixing the potent green powder with steamed, unsweetened almond milk for a delicious matcha latte. 

Each 60-gram packet contains about thirty servings. The only ingredient is pure organic green tea matcha, with each teaspoon containing eight calories and 0 grams of sugar. Encha recommends whisking one teaspoon of powder in five ounces of water in a bowl until the powder is evenly distributed with a frothy surface.

Best Organic: Yogi Tea Green Tea Pure Green

USDA organic and non-GMO Yogi Tea is inspired by the ancient holistic philosophy of Ayurvedic medicine. They use highly selective sourcing standards and rigorous quality testing, requiring all suppliers to regularly perform Good Agricultural Practice (GAP). The Pure Green tea has a robust green flavor with a smooth finish.

You can enjoy this blend hot or cold—try brewing a cup, then let cool and serve over ice for a refreshing iced green tea. 

One box contains 16 tea bags, with 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. Steep one tea bag in boiling water for three minutes, or for a stronger tea, use two tea bags.

Best Tasting: Kusmi Tea Ginger Lemon Green Tea

Kusmi Tea Ginger Lemon Green Tea

The lemon and ginger notes in Kusmi Green Tea yield a complex flavor, elevating the natural flavor of the green tea. Kusmi is French-made tea, sourced from tea leaves from around the world, offering a wide range of thoughtfully crafted flavors. Try the Ginger Lemon Green Tea after mealtime to get the digestive benefits of ginger and the palate-cleansing taste of lemon. 

Each tin contains 3.5 ounces of loose-leaf tea, containing 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar per serving. Measure a portion of the loose-leaf tea into a tea infuser and brew with 175 Fahrenheit water for three to four minutes, and strain into a cup.

Best for Weight Loss: Jade Leaf Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder

Jade Leaf Japanese Organic Matcha

The catechin polyphenol content of green tea has been shown to stimulate visceral fat loss in controlled trials. Matcha tea generally has the highest catechin antioxidant concentrations, so it is the best choice if weight loss is your goal.

Jade Leaf Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder is USDA organic and sourced from Uji and Kagoshima, Japan. Use this powder to make matcha tea and lattes or blend it into smoothies and baked goods.

Each 30-gram bag contains 15 to 30 servings, with 3 calories and 0 grams of sugar per ½-teaspoon serving.

Best Loose Leaf: Vahdam Teas Himalayan Green Tea

Himalayan Green Tea

Loose-leaf tea tends to yield a more complex flavor, as the water can flow through more leaf surface, infusing at a higher concentration. Climate-neutral and Fair Trade, Vahdam Himalayan Green Tea Leaves are sourced from the Himalayan region of India and have a sweet and vegetal flavor profile. 

The 3.53-ounce bag yields 50 cups of green tea and contains 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. Vahdam recommends brewing 1 teaspoon in 175 Fahrenheit water for three to four minutes and then straining into a cup.

Best Bottled: Ito En Tea Unsweetened Oi Ocha Green

Ito En Tea Unsweetened Oi Ocha Green

Packaged green tea beverages can contain a lot of added sugar. With no sugar, Ito En Unsweetened Oi Ocha Green Tea is a refreshing, cold green tea blend, perfect for when you are on the go and can’t brew your own tea. 

Each 16.9-ounce bottle of green tea has 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar and contains just purified water, green tea, and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Final Verdict

We like Rishi Sencha Green Tea (view at Amazon) for its organic leaves and delicately balanced flavor profile. If you are looking for matcha, go with Jade Leaf (view at Amazon), Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder, or Encha Ceremonial Organic Matcha (view at Amazon).

FAQs

What is the best time to drink green tea?

Green tea contains caffeine, so it is best to drink it earlier in the day to avoid any sleep disturbances. Swap a cup of brewed green tea or matcha for your cup of coffee in the morning for a gentle caffeine boost. Drinking caffeine before exercise may enhance fat oxidation during exercise, so you may want to swap your typical pre-workout beverage for a hydrating green tea. Note that green tea may inhibit the absorption of iron and other minerals, so it is best to drink it between meals. 

Does decaf green tea contain antioxidant benefits?

The antioxidant compound in green tea, EGCG, is in both caffeinated and decaf green tea; however, decaffeinated tea may have lower concentrations of antioxidants due to the decaffeinating process. There are two main methods used: direct chemical solvent and supercritical carbon dioxide decaffeination. Choose a decaf green tea brand that uses the carbon dioxide method as it preserves the most amount of polyphenol content.

What Experts Say

"Tea, in general, is an excellent way to boost your antioxidant intake and create a relaxing moment in your day. The act of brewing matcha is an art, and while it can be relaxing, figuring out how to do it properly can be a challenge. I recommend investing in a bamboo whisk and watching a few how-to videos to perfect your method."—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a Registered Dietitian, Anne Carroll uses her clinical expertise to cut through marketing claims and get down to the science. These are all products that she has researched, vetted, and would recommend to her clients in private practice and incorporate into her own diet.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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