why are westerners not attracted completely to green tea


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Postby javyn » Feb 3rd, '06, 00:12

Here is an excerpt from the teamaster's blog talking about, how according to Chinese medicine, green tea is not as healthy as Westerners would like to think, at least not for those over 35 or 40 years of age.

"Despite recent Western research touting the health benefits of green tea, reliable Chinese medical sources (whom I trust completely) have suggested that because of certain properties (cooling, draining, etc.) green tea may not be beneficial for regular use for people over 35-40 years of age. My understanding is that it cools off the digestion, and can potentially clear too much heat from the body, damaging the yang energy—but this is only my understanding and I make no claims regarding accuracy/interpretation."

"My observation of tea drinkers in Taiwan confirms Michael's information about green tea: the older the person, the less green he likes his tea. Young tea drinkers are full of life and energy and can take some cooling, but older people who are more afraid of the cold prefer shou cha. My wife's grandfather (who died recently at 90 years of age) liked old roasted baozhong the best in his final years."


Here is a link if you'd like to read more. I just happened upon this blog while searching for information on Gaiwans.

http://teamasters.blogspot.com/
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Postby Cyphre » Feb 6th, '06, 19:32

This is an interesting question. I have found the same thing living in America. I personally would have never even have gotten used to green tea if it wasn't for the fact theres not a lot I can drink anymore. Anyways, I think the biggest thing is that the only green tea around is green tea that is ground up and put into little paper filters. Its very hard to find loose leaf green tea besides in asian areas. Greens, being so light in flavor are easily infulences by the chemicals in the paper of teh filter that discolor the taste. Also being ground up in a bag the tea is a little bitter to start and very quickly becomes over seeped and even more bitter. It wasn't until I ordered a whole bunch of loose leaf samplers that I was able to experience really good green teas. Now I have added green tea to my small drinking list. I now drink Oolong in the morning, Green tea in the afternoon and Rooibos at night. So if you like tea on here and want try anythign really good try getting loose leaf and a big mouth strainer. You will highly enjoy it.
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Postby sippy cup » Feb 6th, '06, 22:52

i guess i'm a little bit of an exception--i live in the deep south, so i grew up with everyone around me drinking iced sweet (black) tea. for whatever reason, i never took to it, and eventually opted for coffee.

when i started drinking tea, i went for green and white teas first--the only reason i can think of is that to me they tasted and looked more "tea"-ish compared to coffee, delicate but full--and i really liked the flavor that a lot of people seem to call "grassy" or "vegetal." from there i moved to oolongs, which i loved immediately, but i'm still trying to teach myself to appreciate unflavored black tea. black tea just reminds me too much of the iced sweet tea i've never liked, and it's very rare that it doesn't taste bitter or "just tolerable" to me. most of my tea-drinking friends seem to prefer greens and whites to black tea too, so i'm not sure that there's anything more to the "westerners don't take to green tea" thing than getting people educated about tea.
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Postby Warden Andy » Feb 12th, '06, 23:46

I personally love green tea. Green, white and oolong are probably the best teas. I find nothing special about black tea.

I agree that the reason probably is because Americans refuse to change. It's rare to find an American that switched from coffee to black tea, and even rarer to find one switch to green tea. I also think that when they try green tea, they brew it wrong so they have bitter green tea, then they add sugar to it. Since bitter green tea and sugar more than likely is involved, I'm not surprised they don't like it.

I doubt it will ever change.
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Postby rabbit » Feb 15th, '06, 01:01

I agree with andy on the point that when people try tea they make it wrong and being stubbern as they tend to be just dismiss that tea is disgusting and they will never drink it again. It's not really the fact that people are American that makes them not drink tea, it's the fact that America sort of rejected it after the whole british tax incident, and now that coffee is popular, for someone-especialy a man- to drink tea would raise and eyebrow and make them seem out of place amongst their peers.

When people come to my house it's tea, water, or tea to drink... and I usualy force them to try tea (obviously I use discernment as to the type of tea for the person I'm serving) and I usualy end up adding alot of sugar and milk for the n00bs, but once they get hooked (and they almost always do) I teach them more about tea and serve them the precious elixer in a more "mature" fashion with less sugar and no or very little milk.

[edit] oh ya... I also love green tea as well, but I don't hate red tea- it has it's time and place.
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Westerners and green tea

Postby shuixian » Feb 15th, '06, 16:02

First of all, as part owner of a tearoom, I know that, for us at least, we actually sell more green tea than black, by quite a bit. Although we promote tea drinnking regularly as healthful and avoid being doctors, many customers drink green tea for its health benefits specifically.

I am proud to say that we sell so much green tea, but regarding the question at hand, I have a couple comments. First, I think that generally people often haven't had quality green tea. I never liked green tea in the bag. It's dust, devoid of in tact and plentiful tips and often old. It is rarely reinfusable: the best kept secret about quality tea, especially greens. I can't tell you how many customers have said "I hated green tea until I had it here, had it loose."

Also, brewing. I think a lot of Westerners are still intimidated by loose leaves and the idea that boiling water is too hot. I just nonchalantly recommend to my customers that they let the top off their boiler a few minutes. In line with brewing is brewing time. I see green tea advertised with 3 to 5 minute infusion recommendations. . .sure: if you want to drink overcooked spinach or grass! Personally I really feel that for most greens of fresh and good quality a minute or two is suitable.

No sugar, no milk? says the Westerner. . .yet another reason green tea is avoided: tastes like sugar and only that with it added, isn't sweet enough without it for our overly sweet diets. . .

Green tea rules!
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Postby klemptor » Feb 16th, '06, 11:00

Green tea is delicate. In our culture of coffeemakers and TV dinners, I don't think that people often want to take the time to brew green tea as it should be brewed and to enjoy the finer notes of flavor. I know I certainly didn't. We're much more used to things that we can make without paying a lot of attention to them - that's why so many products are designed to save us time and effort. But I didn't want to just write green teas off without giving them a try.

I make green tea significantly less often than I do black. The reasons for this are that I was raised on black tea and that green tea does require a little extra effort.

To be honest, while green tea is flavorful, I'm used to black tea, so, although I can appreciate the flavor of the different green teas, I miss the strength that comes with a cup of black tea. And most of the time, when I decide I want a cup of green tea, I usually find myself thinking, *I should've gone with a cup of Yunnan instead.*

Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.
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Re: why are westerners not attracted completely to green tea

Postby Dronak » Feb 19th, '06, 21:57

markwb wrote:what is it that westerners arent relating to, is it the flavours?, the packaging? the health benefits are consistently being pointed out, what is it that makes it less popular than black tea ?


I can't speak for the population or anything, but for me it's mainly the flavor. I'm used to black tea, so my tastes are basically biased in that direction. I drink greens now and then, but mainly stick with blacks. I suspect this true for many people (being used to black teas), and old habits are hard to break.

True, green teas have health benefits, but IIRC so do black teas. Actually, looking at Chris' tea book that my sister got for me, it says, "studies confirming the fact that all teas' benefits are similar are now trickling in." As the book notes, this shouldn't be surprising since all types of tea come from the same plant and leaves. So health benefits wouldn't seem to be an overpowering reason to move from black to green. Not that the average tea drinker will necessarily know this, but it's good news for them nonetheless.
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Postby Guest » Feb 28th, '06, 18:06

javyn wrote:
"Despite recent Western research...green tea may not be beneficial for regular use for people over 35-40 years of age. My understanding is that it cools off the digestion, and can potentially clear too much heat from the body, damaging the yang energy—but this is only my understanding and I make no claims regarding accuracy/interpretation."


Javyn, as far as I know, that is accurate information from the perspective of Chinese medicine and yin/yang philosophy. It's not "damaging" to the Yang...it just the Yin dominates the body and the Yang decreases, causing imbalance.

I don't agree, however, with the argument that "Westerners are not brought up to like green tea / natural flavors" or something along that line. Every taste can be acquired, if a person is willing to accept. Westerners are not brought up to eat raw fish...so why are sushi restaurants so popular in the West? I grew up is Asia eating chicken neck, feet, butts, intestines, etc and never ate uncooked vegetables...but I learned to like eating green salads with "Italian" dressing. :shock:
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Postby yresim » Mar 1st, '06, 00:23

All of your tastes change over time. If you keep eating/drinking something over and over and over again (without it making you sick), you will begin to find it acceptable.

I think the assumption that everyone who doesn't like green tea doesn't like it because the flavor isn't strong enough for them is a bit much. Out of all the people I know who don't like gree tea, not one finds the flavor too weak.

There are many reasons why someone might not like green tea:
1. They have only had experience with low quality or improperly-brewed greens.
2. They don't drink anything except water & a particular soda, and even then only cold (no hot drinks).
3. They don't like the "green" flavor. This is the single biggest reason I encounter.

As for me, I love both blacks and whites, but can't stand green. Specifically, I don't like tea that tastes like grass or hay, no matter how fresh. And, incidentally, although I will drink a frappacino slushy when required in social situations (because the sugar, milk, & ice covers up the nasty coffee flavor), I have never liked coffee.

And it certainly has nothing to do with not liking change. I enjoyed that pu-erh tou cha that tasted like putting a spoonful of dirt in my mouth. And I don't think there is anything quite as unique as deciding that you like something that literally tastes like dirt.

One has to assume that there must be a reason why so many people in the west don't like the taste of hay/grass, while so many in the east do.

I, for one, think it has everything to do with what people are raised on. In the west, we really don't have anything that we eat which tastes like grass. And our parents don't feed us green tea as we are growing up. So we don't get used to it as children. It goes back to that second sentence:
"If you keep eating/drinking something over and over and over again, you will begin to find it acceptable."

You do this as a kid because your parents make you.

Side note: Two of my friends had parents who never made them eat anything. One likes literally nothing other than katsup, bread, cheese, and orange soda. The other likes meats & starches, but no vegetables. Mark this, parents: you should make your kids eat their vegetables, because they will eventually begin to like them. Not every vegetable (they could dislike them due to allergies), but at least make them pick 2 or 3 green vegetables that they will eat.

As an adult, however, there is no one making you eat something you don't like. So, unless you have a really good reason to do it to yourself, it's just not going to happen.

A lot of the people I talk to who like green tea are the same people who made themselves eat other grassy things (like wheat grass juice) for their health. So, they've adjusted to the flavor of grass.

To me, grass is something my chinchillas (and other livestock) eat. I'm sure I could learn to like green tea if I drank enough of it. But why would I do that? What possible motivation could I have for doing it? I love so many different teas. Why would I drink one I don't like?

~Yresim~

P.S. It might also have something to do with the fact that I'm allergic to grass & hay. So I may have an instinctual avoidance towards anything that reminds me of it. Considering how many people in the west have allergies to these things, it makes me wonder if maybe that is a big reason why a lot of people have such a strong negative reaction to it.

P.P.S. I do think it will change. As green tea becomes more popular in the west, and people are exposed to it at young ages, I believe we will see fewer people who hate it.
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Postby lumen » Mar 1st, '06, 03:05

This thread has been really quite interesting to read, especially because I live in Japan. When I first came to Japan, I wasn't particularly excited about green tea. All I'd had was the stuff that comes in teabags in the US. That stuff is awful, and completely tasteless. So, my idea of green tea, is that it was all very mild and boring.

Then I moved to Japan, the land of green tea. I can get any number of varieties of green teas (hot or cold)from any convenience store, supermarket, or vending machines. Even Coke has a pre-bottled green tea (which is acutally rather decent). They all have different flavors and qualities.

At work, each morning the "Tea Lady" makes tea for every staff member. It's a basic Sencha, and while it took a bit to get accustomed to, has now become quite a treat. However, it took me quite a while to learn how to really prepare it properly myself. Even today, when I wander into the tea shop, I have almost no idea what I am buying. Need to do a side-by-side comparison tasting. My knowledge of tea certainly exceeds that of most americans, but compared to the average Japanese woman I know nothing!

What I'm really getting at, is that the reason westerners don't like green tea, is that they simply don't know enough to get the good stuff. It's like comparing lipton tea bags and a high -quality loose tea, or instant coffee and Starbucks. There is a big difference. Good quality (heck even the crap in japan is good!) green tea that is well prepared is flavorful and full of wonderful aromas. Even an hour after drinking my last cup of sencha, my cup smells great!

I haven't even touched upon Matcha, but that's really a whole new post in itself.
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Postby Phyll » Mar 1st, '06, 12:46

Lumen, you put it well.

Preparing tea from high quality loose leaves is like preparing good, healthy food with all the proper ingredients and methods. Gourmet? Probably.

Tea bags are like fast foods. Nutritionally like fast food too...I'm not saying they are full of trans fat, carbs, cholesterol etc. I'm just saying that there is significantly less of the good stuff in tea bags than what you'd get from loose leaves. I guess those tea bags filled with "loose leaves" are slightly better than your regular Lipton and Twinings, but what goes into them is still a mass produced, assembly line, low grade loose leaves, put inside fancy packagings and marketed as "gourmet".

If what you've had are two-buck-chucks (Charles Shaw wine) all your life, you're not gonna immediately see what's the big deal about Montrachet, Lafite, JJ Prum and the likes...taste wise.
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Postby yresim » Mar 1st, '06, 16:07

Phyll wrote:Tea bags are like fast foods. Nutritionally like fast food too...I'm not saying they are full of trans fat, carbs, cholesterol etc. I'm just saying that there is significantly less of the good stuff in tea bags than what you'd get from loose leaves.

Can you point me to where you got this information?

I've been looking for something (some kind of study/proof) regarding health differences between loose leaf & tea bags...

~Yresim~
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Postby Phyll » Mar 1st, '06, 16:51

yresim wrote:
Phyll wrote:Tea bags are like fast foods. Nutritionally like fast food too...I'm not saying they are full of trans fat, carbs, cholesterol etc. I'm just saying that there is significantly less of the good stuff in tea bags than what you'd get from loose leaves.

Can you point me to where you got this information?

I've been looking for something (some kind of study/proof) regarding health differences between loose leaf & tea bags...

~Yresim~


Yes, I can, but not online and not something you can get on Amazon.com. And you read chinese, right? Are you writing a Phd dissertation to save the world from drinking bad tea or just need a hard scientific proof before believing it? Nothing wrong at all with that.

In any case, what I said is such a general comment. I didn't say tea from teabags is detrimental to your health like Big Mac or Fries are (if you eat them often). It's as common as saying, in general, high quality ingredients contain better nutrition than low quality ones. Tomatoes are healthier than ketchup. High quality liquor is safer than homemade moonshine. Fresh vegies are better than canned vegies. Etc
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