Being a part of movement

We just received a package from Azure Standard, to whom we supply our tea products. The package felt heavy and we had no idea what it would be.  In the package we found a handsome metal plaque, saying “AZURE INDIE PARTNER”, and a beautiful brochure. indie-partner

They expressed the reason why they are ‘awarding’ us with this recognition. I was simply touched by what they said, and am grateful for the significance they put on our effort.

In the brochure, they started with the phrase “Celebrating a Spirit of Independence.”

Sugar-free, all-natural and organic as much as possible, GMO-free… you name it. Even though these are big now, fulfilling these conditions brings challenges with cost, shelf life, logistics, etc.

Since they are not as sweet as conventional products, our products may not sell as fast as retail shops would like to see.

When we come up with a new product, we face a decision to make: Whether we stay on the current “mass-palate” that mass-production of giant industry has created, or try to create a new, healthy palate.

So when I read this statement, “Celebrating a Spirit of Independence,” I felt like I was patted on my back.

They went on:

“We recognize that you care enough to source the best ingredients and adhere to strict quality standards.”

“We’re part of a global grassroots movement aimed at going beyond organic, to support a healthy farming system that doesn’t rely on industrialized practices.  This movement is energetic and passionate, transparent and inspiring, and you are the foundation of it all.”

Yes, we are a proud “AZURE INDIE PARTNER.”  Our business grows organically thanks to our precious customers who are also devoted advocates for healthy living.

Cheers!

 

Unsugar, or Unsweeten?

chocolate mousse

delicious "dark" chocolate mousse

We enjoyed every bite in Paris.  Even packaged fruit yogurt and coke bought at G7 (Super Marche–a common grocery store in France) tasted superior to our American equivalents.  And we noticed:  they are NOT as sweet as ours, and YET more delicious.

Every time I do a tea demo at a grocery store, I encounter some people who say, “I don’t taste anything at all.”  As you know as our great customer, our tea has smooth, subtle, delicate flavors.  After those people looked at me somewhat puzzled, they would go on:  “Some honey or sweetener would be good.”

“Lose the sugar, not the sweetness,” says an advertisement of a fake sweetener company.  Really?  Do moms want to nurture their kids’ palate that way?  These kids won’t be able to get pleasure out of natural flavors because sweetness seems to override other flavors and desensitize our taste sensor.  And sweetness makes our brain crave more sweetness–that means more calories (even though fake sugar itself is calorie free).

So, instead, I would suggest “use less sweetness in your food and enhance your palate so you will be able to enjoy natural flavors better.”  This is our challenge–unfortunately, convenient ready-to-eat foods and beverages available in our mass market are loaded with sweetness (otherwise, “BOLD” powerful flavor of some kind) and numbing our palate everyday.  The numbed palate will take a while to be re-conditioned.

Really, “flavorful” shouldn’t mean boringly “sweet”.  They are more colorful, inspiring, or soothing in a unique way.  ‘Unsweeten’ the palate, and add another joy to your life, (not to mention better health). 🙂

Chocolate Story in Paris

Cocoa Goddess

Cocoa Goddess

My chocolate story in Paris consisted of a chocolate tour guided by a chocolate connoisseur, a visit to the Chocolate Museum, and an indulgence of masterpieces of Belgian Chocolate ‘composed by’ Pierre Marcolini.

Chocolate Tour

The chocolate tour happened on the first day of our stay in Paris and it made a great introduction to bubbly, sparkly, beautiful Paris. Our lovely guide, Chloe, gave us a one hour lecture at our flat before we actually started our excursion, so we would be able to taste chocolate in a different way than we did before.

Chloe took us to 6 phenomenal chocolate makers in Paris.  Each one of them was full of originality.  Thanks to the “behind” stories Chloe provided, we were able to appreciate the integrity of each store as well as the taste of the chocolate.  Not to mention the quality of the chocolate, they were great examples of successful brand marketing–interior of the store, staff uniform, packaging, store history, and personality of the founder, the master chocolatier.

If you are interested in this chocolate tour, you can make an inquiry from this page:  http://www.chloe-chocolat.com/contact-chlo-echocolat-paris.  The website is in French, but Chloe is fluent in English–she teaches American students both in Paris and in the U.S. all the time.

Pierre Marcolini–Belgian Chocolate Master

During our stay, we had a great lunch with a friend of my husband and his wife from Belgium.  A shocking fact–only a three and half hour drive takes them from where they live to Paris!  (From our home to Portland, the nearest worldly notable city, takes five hours.)  We had great food and a great conversation.  I totally enjoyed the company of this lovely couple.

The lunch was elegant and scrumptious.  They also surprised us with such a gorgeous gift–a full selection of Pierre Marcolini chocolates.  “Life is like a box of chocolate” is a famous quote from “Forrest Gump” but Pierre Marcolini’s chocolate box is no ordinary life–it’s full of excellence and professionalism–and abundance (two levels with 33 different flavored chocolate bonbons on each tray).  We spent literally hours tasting one by one.  We took time to savor each piece, sharing thoughts on each and every one of the unique, beautiful harmonies in flavor.

The Chocolate Museum

On the last day in Paris, we visited the Chocolate Museum.  This museum does a great job of presenting the history of chocolate and explaining what “chocolate” is.  The beautiful exhibition exceeded our expectation and everybody had a great time.  If you are in Paris and love chocolate, you should include this museum in your itinerary.  http://www.museeduchocolat.fr/en

 

Is your Matcha real?

We constantly check new teas in our market.  One new “matcha” caught our attention because one of the buyers we deal with was “raving” about it.  She says, “Every time this company does a demo, this product sells so well because it’s cheap!”

 

So we decided to make a purchase and give it a taste test. 

 

Yes, it had a really good price for matcha:  $8.99 for 100g pouch.  Matcha is usually more expensive than any other type of green tea because it requires intensive labor to grow. 

 

We read every word on the label and still couldn’t find the reason why this matcha could be so cheap.  We opened the package and made a cup.  Even before we had a taste, we had a doubt about the quality of this matcha:  “Is this really matcha??!” 

 

Real matcha should have these two apparent characters:  1) bright green color and 2) creamy taste.  (There are also distinctive nutritional characteristics—please go to my website http://www.groundgreentea.com/index.php/content/matcha-and-sencha to see matcha nutrition.) 

 

But the color of this matcha was not bright green.  It was dark green, the color of sencha green tea powder.

 

We took a sip and the taste confirmed our first reaction.  The flavor was not creamy at all as matcha should be.  It was lightly “shibui”—that’s sencha’s characteristic flavor—English doesn’t have the word with perfect match, but it could be translated as tartness.

 

So, the buyer was right—the matcha was selling well because of the cheap price.  Our sample was most likely sencha, and is not organic and is imported from Shizuoka, Japan.  (Our staff said maybe that’s why the price is so cheap.)  We were terrified thinking of the possibility of what people are really paying for this ‘cheap’ matcha. 

 

As an owner of small tea company which started as a way to spread hope to people, I feel a strong objection about this mislabeled product.  But unfortunately in the tea industry, it’s a well known fact that this product is not the only product labeled as ‘matcha’ that is actually made with sencha tea leaves, in order to save cost.  As always, a price that is ‘too good to be true’ may not be a bargain.

 

So please be smart and learn more.  Know what you are paying for and be confident about your choice.

 

 

 

 

I’d love to summarize what matcha is, so you will be able to choose the best matcha for the price at your local store.

 

What is Matcha?

Matcha is green tea powder traditionally used for the Japanese tea ceremony.  Before they are ground into powder form, the tea leaves are called “Tencha.”   Tencha tea leaves are made from green tea plants, Camellia Sinensis, the same plant used to make the other green teas, such as Sencha and Gun Powder.  Tencha (matcha) is made from tea leaves grown in shade, Sencha and Gun Powder are made from tea leaves gown in full sun. 

 

If you would like to read now about the differences between matcha and sencha, please go to my website, http://www.groundgreentea.com/index.php/content/matcha-and-sencha

 

 

What does “shade grown” mean?

This environment with less sunlight gives the following effects in the tea leaves:

 

1) Tea leaves create more chlorophyll to obtain more energy from less sun light.  Chlorophyll makes energy from the process of photosynthesis.  Also Chlorophyll is a pigment, so tea leaves have a brighter green color.

 

2) Sunlight converts L-theanine in tea leaves to Catechins, green tea’s phenomenal antioxidants.  Less sunlight converts less L-theanine and produces fewer Catechins.  So the tea leaves grown in shade have more L-theanine and less Catechins than tea leaves grown in full sun.      

 

3) Studies show that the less sunlight, the more caffeine.  Tea leaves grown in shade have more Caffeine than tea leaves grown in full sun.

 

These characteristics from matcha are also found in young tea leaves—because young tea leaves have been exposed to less sun light than more mature leaves.

 

Matcha history

During the 16th century in Japan, the tea ceremony, “the way of tea,” was established and became popular among the privileged class, such as Zen monks and Samurai warriors.  The host and guests valued harmonious tranquility derived from refined simplicity.  This sense of beauty is called “Wabi, Sabi” in the Japanese language.  Matcha provided a feeling of restrained beauty, or ‘calm alertness.”  Modern science has revealed the calm alertness they enjoyed comes from a good balance of caffeine and L-theanine in matcha.  Many studies show that majority of the nutrition, including antioxidants, stay in tea leaves after steep tea leaves and that ‘consuming entire tea leaves’ is far more beneficial than drinking steeped teas.  Many doctors, including Dr. Oz and Dr. Weil, recommend matcha as a way to consume entire tea leaves, rather than drinking steeped teas.

 

Matcha nutrition

Consuming the entire tea leaf is the best way to get powerful green tea health.  However, since matcha is grown in shade, matcha contains more caffeine and more L-theanine than the other types of green tea as explained above.  The caffeine content depends on the size of the serving but typically one serving has about 25% more caffeine than black tea, and about two-thirds the same amount of caffeine as from a standard cup of coffee. 

 

So, if you want more caffeine but would like to achieve the “calm alertness” of a modern warrior, rather than the “jitters” caused by other strong caffeine drinks, matcha is a great choice for you.

 

Please note that matcha has more Vitamin A and Chlorophyll than other green teas as a result of its effort for a more efficient photosynthesis process in reduced sunlight. 

 

Please go to http://www.groundgreentea.com/index.php/content/matcha-and-sencha for more detailed information.

    

 

Today’s Japan – One year after 3.11

This March, we were invited to visit Japan by JETRO, Japan External Trade Organization.  It was really great to see Today’s Japan in person.

We all remember the overwhelming images of the massive, powerful tsunami. Buildings, cars, and ships were all crushed down and stacked up in a total chaos, and the land as far as you could see was filled up with endless pile of debris.  People were in deep sorrow from loss of loved ones.  These devastating images were engraved into the minds of those of us living overseas.

I expected to see some “scars” from the earthquake, such as people sad and depressed, dark nights with less electricity, etc.  My expectation was completely wrong.  Life in Japan seemed back to normal.  However, I should say it was not really the same as before in many ways: People in Japan seemed have gained more strength and depth in their character from this unprecedented incident—they seemed glowing with hope and are making a steady constant effort to build a new future.  Also they seemed more grounded; maybe the calmness comes from their awareness of the power of love—the love of family, friends, and even from the strangers they never met from all over the world.

We are still receiving phone calls from customers inquiring about radiation effects on products.  Some of the inquirers kindly say, “As long as the products are safe, I would like to buy Japanese products because I believe it helps Japan.”  I bow to the customers with gratefulness and respect over the phone. We are constantly checking to be sure our products are free from radiation and safe for our valued customers.  And they are safe.

  

Let’s go back to our trip.  Our six day itinerary prepared by JETRO was packed with business activities.  One day, we visited numerous booths at an International Food Trade Show held in Tokyo, where 2,400 companies brought their food products from all over the world to their booths.  I was hoping to find more healthy, delicious, convenient products at the trade show and we found some interesting possibilities.  We’ll keep you posted!

Three days were filled with non-stop one on one business meetings all day arranged by JETRO.  We were able to ask serious questions about management on food safety including organic production and radiation check.  Most of the companies understood our needs and they are sincerely seeking a way to produce products to meet our demands if they don’t already have products satisfying our market needs.  I was reassured that many of the companies had done their own “homework” and had a good sense of our needs, especially for food safety.

After Tokyo, we moved to Tottori, a city on the Japan Sea side—west coast of Japan.  Everything including sightseeing was conducted at a fast pace and each day was highly productive.  People were friendly and kind—more so than I remembered!

      

The affected area has still a long way to go for a complete recovery.  However, the rest of the country is functioning well.  In Japanese culture, people believe the favors received need to be returned with work well done and they will make every effort in order to make it happen.  Japanese products have a reputation of high quality.  I believe they will try harder to make their products better.  Please continue your support and friendship to Japan.  Arigato.

When I was thinking about this, a friend of mine just emailed me a link to a YouTube video and I would love to share it with you:

Pretty classy people to put this out.  Worth viewing.  Never heard of any other country doing this…….

A ‘Thank you’ from Japan ……   Click  Here

 

Green Tea with Whey for post exercise drink

Gain muscles to lose weight

 

“Lose weight” is on the wish list for a lot of people, and a lot of people decide to “eat less” and “do more exercise” to lose weight. 

 

Probably many of you know muscles burn more calories than fat, because fat requires less energy to maintain.  That’s why metabolism declines as we lose muscles.  On top of that, fat cells secrete hormones to hamper or alter healthy body chemical activities. Thus, maintaining or restoring muscle mass would be a great way to maintain higher metabolic rate and prevent various diseases caused by our modern life style.

 

 

Muscle loss after 40

 

The typical image for “building muscles” is “humongous muscles of body builders”, and not always well-accepted especially for women.  However, a conscious effort to build muscle is actually critical, especially for people older than 40, because muscle loss outpaces muscle gain as you age.  “As a rule, muscle mass declines with age, starting in the 40s and picking up speed after about age 50.”*1  This is called “sarcopenia”, age-related decline in muscle mass and function.

 

“Insufficient protein, especially if it’s accompanied by insufficient calories in general, can contribute to sarcopenia”, says Douglas Paddon-Jones, director of exercise studies for the General Clinical Research Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.*1  So if you don’t eat to lose weight, you may be merely turning the withered muscles into fat.  With the same volume, fat weighs less than muscles so you may have a disguised “good” result momentarily by not eating.  

 

 

Exercise and protein to rebuild muscles

 

Exercise, obviously, is a good way to counter muscle loss.  I learned muscles are the organs which metabolize faster.  That means, constantly muscle cells die and constantly new muscle cells are created.  However, the new muscle cells don’t function as muscle until they grow into real muscle.  Without exercise and nutrition, the new muscle cells become fat. 

 

Resistance exercise improves muscle protein balance, but, in the absence of food intake, the balance remains negative (catabolic or break down). Protein availability is important to rebuild muscles (anabolic) and the anabolic result is greater than when dietary amino acids (protein) are not present.*2 

 

 

Green tea to increase metabolism

 

One of the health benefits from green tea antioxidants, Catechins, is to increase metabolism.  Drinking green tea before and after exercise is a great way to ensure the positive effects from exercise.   Also it replenishes antioxidants in your body. While you exercise, your body generates more free radicals and your body needs fresh antioxidants to neutralize them.  Milk also is a great “sport drink” which provides nutrition that the body needs to recover from “trauma” of exercise.  Green tea antioxidants and milk protein thus make a great “post workout sport drink”. 

 

 

Milk extends green tea effects

 

Some of you may remember Casein, a kind of milk protein, was believed to negate Catechins’ antioxidant activities.  After many studies on this subject, scientists found that Catechins are just released more slowly when consumed with milk protein and actually extend the effects of the green tea antioxidant activities. As a result, the effect of catechin lasted from 4 to 8 hrs after the green tea was consumed with milk proteins, while the effect lasted only 4 hrs after green tea alone was consumed.  *3 

 

 

Whey and green tea: more beneficial than Casein and green tea

 

Casein is 80% of milk protein and the rest is Whey, and scientists even found green tea effects lasts longer with Whey than with Casein.  Whey also has shown many health benefits according to scientific studies.  *3

 

 

Great post exercise sport drink:  green tea with whey

 

The combination of green tea and milk may be a great sport drink to fight muscle loss and burn more fat.  Whey products are popular and available even at grocery stores so why not whip up green tea smoothie with milk and/or Whey?  “Cheers for another great year!”

 

 

*1  http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/on-fitness/2008/09/04/how-to-avoid-losing-muscle-as-you-age  How to Avoid Losing Muscle as You Age  By KATHERINE HOBSON  September 4, 2008

 

*2 Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001 Mar;11(1):109-32.Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth. Tipton KD, Wolfe RR.Source  Metabolism Division, Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medial Branch-Galveston, Galveston, TX 77550-2720, USA.

 

*3 “Study on prevention of modern chronic diseases with effective usage of skim milk” Prof. Masaaki Yoshikawa, et al.  (in Japanese) page 60 to page 65,  http://www.j-milk.jp/publicities/8d863s000006uqta-att/8d863s000006uqvm.pdf

 

Which is the healthiest drink?

“Which is the healthiest drink?”

Probably you have thought about this when you were picking out a drink at a grocery store:  Fewer calories, more health benefits, and tastier…  Probably many people would choose bottled water, bottled green tea, or a sport drink, believing they are good for you.    

I was totally surprised when I saw a presentation showing evidence that these so called “healthy” bottled drinks actually belong to the same category as soda pop, notorious for causing various health problems. 

Each drink was tested for its pH and its ORP, oxidation reduction potential.  After the presentation, we got very curious, so we purchased our own pH and ORP tester so we could do our own tests.

pH and ORP

Before I share the test results with you, let’s review about pH and ORP.

For optimal health, our body should be slightly alkaline, and our skin slightly acidic.  pH 7 is neutral, and the lower than 7 is acidic, and higher than 7 is alkaline.  We are more prone to disease when our body’s pH is acidic; doctors call this condition “acidosis”.  Creating an alkaline internal environment may prevent many diseases and conditions. 

ORP, oxidation reduction potential, indicates the tendency to gain/lose electrons.  A solution with a lower (more negative) ORP has higher tendency to lose electrons.  So, how are electrons related to our health?

Free Radicals and ORP

To talk about it, we need to remember how free radicals affect our health.  Our body is creating free radicals constantly as byproducts and free radicals, unless neutralized, cause aging and various serious diseases.  Free radicals are unstable and have a strong tendency to steal (gain) electrons, oxidizing our body.  Foods/drinks that have higher tendency to lose electrons are called antioxidant-rich foods/drinks, and they have higher capability to stabilize free radicals by providing electrons, which neutralize the free radicals.

Various Drinks’ pH and ORP

Here are the test results: 

pH and ORP test results

(Bolded names indicate the beverage is water or carbonated water. *Tap water is our local well water in Enterprise, Oregon.)

Based on ORP and pH, the beverages in the top left corner can be called the “healthiest” and the ones in the right bottom corner would be the “worst” for health.  (This matrix doesn’t take other elements into consideration: calories, the amount and type of sweeteners, and additives.) 

Ready to Drink Green Tea & Sport Drinks—not so good as we think.

The result shows ready-to-drink green tea and sport drinks are in the same category as soda pop.  I was also astonished to learn car battery acid is pH 2.5 and that’s the same pH as Coke.  As far as bottled green teas are concerned, there are much fewer antioxidants than “real green tea”, and they are acidic.  pH is logarithmic.  That means “Snapple Green Tea” with pH 3.3 is 10,000 times more acidic than Edible Green® made with good quality filtered water, of which pH is 7.0 or higher. It takes a lot of alkalizing foods to neutralize the acidity of pH 3.3.  If you love the health benefits from green tea, avoid ready-to-drink green tea.

Zero calorie drinks are not the savior for weight control.

Also, you’d better avoid sport drinks likes Gatorade and Propel, if you don’t want to cancel out the benefits you gained from exercise.  Do not be fooled by “zero calorie” to lose weight.  The impact on insulin system from “zero calorie sweetener” is controversial.  Studies also show artificial sweetener actually increases the cravings for sweetness and you will likely end up with weight gain.  Not to mention that many of the bottled green tea and sport drinks have food additives including food coloring. 

Drink Real Green Tea for Real Health Benefits

Real green tea is an alkalizing food.  Green tea has strong antioxidants, called EGCG, which is 25 times to 100 times more potent than antioxidant vitamin C and E and neutralizes free radicals.  It’s easy to add Edible Green® to your bottled water—just add ¼ tsp. (1/2 tsp. for Genmaicha Edible Green®) per 8 oz of water and shake well.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, no calories, and no artificial additives.   

“There are so many teas out there. Sometimes I think, “I’ll try this one this time.” I order and taste it, then I always come back to you. Sei Mee Tea is the best!”   Charleen, MS

Green Tea promotion by celebrity doctors ~ Truth and misunderstandings ~

Reduce risk of cardio-vascular diseases, cancers, stroke, boost immune system and metabolism, support nerve system, slow aging, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, decrease inflammation, prevent flu, and prevent cavity and gum disease….

Green tea health benefits are versatile and no single drug offers such a long list of benefits.  That’s the reason more and more doctors recommend green tea to their patients nowadays. 

This is good and bad—because doctors may be professional about human health, but unfortunately they are not professional about green tea, and consequently, they may be recommending the wrong tea. 

When I read celebrity doctors’ green tea advertisements, it’s easy to tell that their information source is giant tea companies, not scientific medical studies.

Dr. Mercola is one of the celebrity doctors, who has thousands of followers.  His daily email usually features 2 or 3 health related issues and each article is fairly lengthy and very ‘informative’.  I don’t know if Dr. Mercola actually sees patients in person daily, but writing these articles everyday must take a lot of time and energy from him.

Or, probably we should believe his staff is doing “research” for him and writing the long articles on his behalf.

Anyway, our assumption is, the contents are authorized by Dr. Mercola, so every word is true and we ought to follow his advice.

Although I enjoy most of his articles and often agree with him, I have to “WHOA” against “his sales pitch” on green tea.   It is obvious to me that Dr. Mercola (or his assistants) didn’t do enough “leg work” and as a result, he is promoting the wrong tea, Matcha. 

There is a better choice than Matcha

Here are 3 facts why Matcha is not the best tea for your health:

Fact #1:  Celebrity doctors, Dr. Mercola, Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil, etc., all acknowledge Catechin antioxidants are the main reason for the amazing health benefits of green tea, which is true.  The problem is, they are stressing the fact that Matcha is shade grown and they claim Matcha is superior because of the ‘uniqueness.’  This is exactly why I would say doctors are not green tea professionals—they are missing an important scientific fact:  sunlight changes Theanine to Catechin antioxidants in tea leaves.  So, less sun exposure means less Catechins.   

Fact #2:  Another critical problem is that the doctors seem convinced that “young leaves” have higher health value.  The scientific fact is, the less sun exposure, the less antioxidants.  As a result, compared to the second and the third crop harvested in summer and early autumn, the first crop tea harvested in spring doesn’t have as much antioxidants—the younger leaves are not exposed to as much sunlight as the older leaves and consequently, less Catechins.  It is true “young leaves” are promoted as premium in Japan because Japanese culture values “seasonal beauty” and “Hatsu-mono; the first thing in season”.   When Japanese tea industry markets Matcha as a premium, higher quality tea, doctors interpret that to mean “Matcha is better for you.” 

Another cause of this misunderstanding is the common usage of the name, Matcha.  The name, Matcha, is often misused as a synonym for ‘green tea powder’, but Matcha is not simply “green tea powder” but it is powder made from “Tencha” tea leaves which are grown in shade

It is true Matcha is better for you than brewed tea because we consume all the phytonutrients and antioxidants available from entire tea leaf. 

When you drink Matcha green tea, you’re not just consuming green tea leaf-infused water (which contains only a small fraction of the phytonutrients) — you’re actually consuming the entire nutrient-rich green tea leaf.” “With USDA Certified Organic Royal Matcha Green Tea, you could receive over 100 times the EGCG provided from regular brewed green tea!”  (Quote taken from http://products.mercola.com/green-tea 

Yes, but if you consume Sencha powder rather than Matcha (Tencha powder), it is even more advantageous than Matcha, simply because Sencha tea leaf, grown in full sun, contains more Catechin antioxidants up to 42% more. 

Fact #3:  The amount of Catechins and Caffeine are inversely related.  The less Catechins, the more Caffeine.  So, Matcha, shade grown green tea powder, has less Catechin antioxidants but is higher in Caffeine than tea grown in full sun.  Conclusion:  The doctors are right to promote consuming the entire green tea leaf to get 100% of its precious health value but they are wrong to promote Matcha as the very best tea for that purpose.

That is why I keep sending messages and samples to the doctors who have a huge influence over so many American people nationwide.  What they should promote is “Edible Green® ground green tea.”  Edible Green® is a fine powder ground from Sencha, grown in full sun.  More Antioxidants, and less Caffeine than Matcha.

Usually, decaffeinated green tea is “antioxidant-deprived” and less beneficial.  Our recent test shows even decaffeinated Edible Green® has more Antioxidants than Matcha.

Misunderstandings and truths about green tea

I’m quoting the statements from Dr. Mercola’s product page.  I understand it is long, but I strongly feel it’s my mission to tell you the true story about green tea. I hope you’ll keep on reading and find it informative.  Underlined emphasis provided by me:

1. “After some research, I found that the best green tea is really bright green tea. If it isn’t bright green, you are receiving inferior oxidized green tea which will not provide the full range of benefits you’ve heard about.”

It is true, intense green color indicates how fresh (and not oxidized) the tea is.  It is the Japanese custom to add sodium hydrogen carbonate to create the bright green color when they steam Matcha tea leaves, but no additives are used when they steam Sencha tea leaves.  The Sencha powder is a lovely deep, but not bright, green color.  Very fresh, more natural and wholesome.

2. “Interestingly enough, after water, green tea happens to be the most widely consumed beverage on earth. For centuries, Matcha green tea has been kept a guarded secret. Why? The Japanese desired to keep their tea ceremony very exclusive and closed to the outside world.

Plus, the people of Japan wanted to keep this scarce form of green tea with its numerous health-promoting benefits strictly to themselves.”

Well, this part makes Japanese people look pretty selfish, doesn’t it?  I don’t believe that is the reason Matcha was less available in the U.S.market over a decade ago.  The true reason is because Matcha is not consumed daily in Japan.  It would be safe to say the majority of Japanese population have tasted Matcha only a handful times in their lives—some may have never had a chance to taste Matcha.  This is because 1) Matcha is typically very expensive, 2) tastes too intense to enjoy daily (and is high in caffeine), 3) and is customarily used as a ceremonial tea that involves a series of strict processes to follow to both make and drink.  The kind of tea Japanese people enjoy everyday freely is Sencha, grown in full sun, not Matcha, shade grown tea.

3.  In the next quote, it is implied that the long Japanese life expectancy comes from Matcha.  That longevity more likely comes from Sencha (grown in full sun), which is the most popular green tea in Japan.

“As of 2006, Japan enjoys the fourth highest life expectancy rate in the world at 81.2 years. The U.S., China, and most European countries (other than Switzerland and Italy) are not even in the top 10.”

4. “With Matcha being part of the ritualistic Japanese monk ceremonies, it’s no wonder why these monks are able to concentrate intensely for their 12-hour meditation sessions!”

The tea ceremony was established for monks and samurai warriors. They welcomed high caffeine effect from Matcha to stay alert.  The fact that Matcha tends to have “bitter” flavor appealed to their “Zen” spirit, “wabi-sabi,” which stands for their preference of stoic, simplest form of beauty.  On the other hand, “Sencha” was born when Japan was enjoying over two and half centuries of peace under Tokugawa reign.  This is when Basho made haiku, Kabuki was established as theatrical entertainment for common people, and many famous Ukiyoe were printed, including Hokusai’s. Since then, Sencha has been the green tea that Japanese people enjoy most as they enjoy their life. 

5.Japanese people typically do not drink coffee. They do, however, consume green tea throughout the day. With the powerful health-supporting benefits of green tea, and even more so with Matcha, I believe that 127 million Japanese have the right idea. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Japanese people typically do not drink coffee.”  This is totally wrong.  If you have been to Japan, you must have enjoyed the convenience of all kinds of beverages, including coffee in cans, cold or hot, available from automatic vending machines you can find at every corner in town.  People drink coffee all the time—at home, office, restaurant, cafe, and even while they are walking!  I’m not sure why Dr. Mercola had to throw in this unresearched remark…so as to sound more convincing that Matcha is good for you?  Hmmm….

6. “Now, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that Royal Matcha Green Tea costs a bit more than your run-of-the-mill teas.”

Matcha is more expensive because of the cost to build the shade over the trees and its successful branding as ‘premium’.  The Matcha on the site is $27.97 for 30g.  Edible Green® 80 cup pouch is $17 for 40g and is better for you.

I would like American people to choose the right kind of green tea for their health, and I hope they realize Catechins are higher in Edible Green®, grown in full sun, than in Matcha, grown in shade.  I acknowledge the doctors who have realized the difference in Edible Green® and adopted this valuable tea for their patients, including Dr. Paul Reilly at Seattle Cancer Wellness & Treatment Center, Dr. Karyn Shanks at Kylemore Center for Medicine and Healing, Dr. Don Olson at “A” Street Clinic of Chiropractic and many others.

Edible Green ground green tea exceeds the quality of green tea that Dr. Mercola recommends

Dr. Mercola’s product page concludes with five reasons to choose their tea as follows:

“1. Quality: It is well-known among tea experts that the green tea from Japan is unparalleled for its quality. The abundant teas from China, Pakistan, and India often provide lower quality, with possible contamination by metals and other toxins in their poor soils.

2. Health-promotion: You receive all the benefits of the antioxidants and phytonutrients from the entire tea leaf, not just simply a few that get extracted from the water.

3. Convenience: You can quickly add 1/8-1/4 tsp. to a bottle of icy cold water, shake and have a delicious green tea beverage to help you keep focused and energetic at work or at whatever you’re doing.  

4. Beauty and Uniqueness: Unlike other green teas which result in a pale yellow-green, bitter liquid, the high energy-promoting chlorophyll content of USDA Certified Organic Royal Matcha Green Tea provides the most beautiful bright green color you’ve ever seen. 

5. Superior Taste: China-type Matcha green teas have more of a bitter taste as a result of their pan-firing process. With its unique steam-firing process, Royal Matcha Green Tea from Japan has a very appealing taste — without damaging the nutrients and antioxidants.”

So—congratulations all Edible Green® fans!—Edible Green® is blessed with more antioxidants and less caffeine than Matcha and has all the beautiful benefits stated by Dr. Mercola.  Edible Green® is also certified organic by JAS, and the farmers have been dedicated to growing organic green tea more than 30 years.  And…lastly but not least importantly, it has more affordable price.  Spread the word to your loved ones about this special tea—Edible Green®, more healthful and less expensive so you can continue to enjoy its benefits.

Who is in charge of our “acquired taste”?

Mark Twain said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.”

It seems now green tea has gained the reputation as one of the top on the healthy food list. However, it is true a lot of people were “afraid” of green tea 7 years ago, when tea companies began to put more money and effort into the green tea market in the U.S.

That’s when I started this Sei Mee Tea company. I was full of righteousness—“Now I can talk to people about the truth of green tea!” Green tea was hope for me and my husband, and I was eager to spread the hope.

However, I was shocked to see that some people actually, physically, jumped away from the green tea I presented. If I had offered them a smoked lizard or spider, they would have reacted the same way. Although a few people described the deep green color of our green tea as “beautiful,” most looked at me innocently and asked, “Are you sure you drink this?”

“It is an acquired taste, isn’t it?” They said in a kind of apologetic way. Some people cheerfully said, “Oh, I love green tea! I drink bottled green tea everyday! Let me taste it!” They sipped our tea, then they murmured, “It doesn’t have much flavor.”

I had to think about “what is an acquired taste?” “Why they don’t taste the flavor of this tea??” I asked myself.

You would not believe me if I told you brownies were an “acquired taste” for me when I came to the U.S. from Japan 17 years ago…but it is true. It’s not the chocolate flavor—it’s the powerful sweetness that made me nauseated. (I have to admit my taste buds are tuned for brownies after all these years… 🙂 )

Sweet bottled “green tea”, sports drinks, etc. are promoted as “healthy.” As far as I am concerned, the bottled green tea and Gatorade are in the same category as Coke. It seems the flavors of drinks and foods manufactured by mega food industries are in charge of shaping our “acquired tastes” here in the U.S…. I don’t want my taste buds manipulated by them—how’bout you?

We are doing an interesting test on bottled green tea, sports drink, water, etc. I’ll talk about it in my next blog.