03/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Is Green Tea Really Good For You?

Q: My wife is insisting that we change to green tea for breakfast instead of my normal cuppa because it is good for us. I can't stand the stuff because it seems bitter, and I usually pour it on the pot plant when nobody is looking. Is green tea really as great as my wife says it is, and should I try to grin and bear it and gulp it down?

A: I'm on your side here because I'm not keen on it either. But I have been told by experts from the exclusive green tea brand called Newby (available at Selfridges and served at the Dorchester, both in Central London) that, to lessen the bitter taste, all green tea should be made with water that's hot, not boiling, and to infuse for only 2 to 3 minutes before serving. Adding a little honey also apparently helps to take off any remaining bitter notes.

Black and green tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. To make green tea the leaves are steamed immediately after harvesting and chopping. This stops an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase from oxidising the most powerful super nutrient in the tea plant, known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). In a nutshell, green tea is full of EGCG, whereas black tea has very little.

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