So you have downed an incredible cup of tea, only to be left with either a tea bag or a pile of loose leaves. For many folks, this is the end of the line for their tea, and the next natural choice is to throw them all away. Some folks, yourself included perhaps, may just so choose to eat your tea leaves.
Eat your tea leaves? That’s right; eating tea leaves is not uncommon, and tea leaves have been prepared and eaten like standard veggies from traditional times until today. But for those interested in eating their leave teas, what are some things you should keep in mind and consider before chowing down on your tea?
Can You Eat Tea Leaves?
The short answer; yes. But this one warrants more discussion because some tea leaves are better than others when it comes to consumption. As a general rule of thumb, if it comes in a tea bag, it is best not to open up your bag and have a snack!
Tea from tea bags can be opened up and consumed. However, the tea may have been exposed to lots of plastic, chemicals, debris, and other unmentionable things. Also, many tea bags are filled with lower quality leaves.
Loose tea leaves are a better option and can even be added to rice or other dishes as an added green. Green tea leaves, in particular, make for stupendous eating, so feel free to munch on them once they are brewed.
Then there is matcha. Why not start with matcha for those who want to test the waters when it comes to eating tea? Matcha is a green tea powder prepared from pulverized whole green tea leaves. So, in essence, one is essentially eating the whole leaf when you drink matcha or use it alongside other culinary delights.
Does eating tea leaves provide you with more caffeine than drinking brewed tea?
Yes, eating the whole leaf actually provides one’s body with more of the standard health benefits that brewed tea provides. This includes amino acids, antioxidants, and yes, caffeine. This is why a bowl of matcha is so powerful compared to green tea from a teabag. Because matcha, as mentioned above is the whole leaf and provides that extra caffeine for your body.
So if you are looking to reap the maximum health benefits from your tea, then go ahead and feel free to munch your leaves! If you are enjoying some loose leaf green tea, snack on the leaves to get more;
- L-theanine– this amino acid synergizes with tea’s caffeine. It allows the caffeine to lift and energize you and keeps you feeling calm and serene, unlike coffee. With L-theanine, you won’t feel jittery or anxious, and there is no caffeine crash!
- Caffeine- of course, this one is a key reason to enjoy tea because the caffeine gives you an energy boost. But did you know caffeine can also help boost your metabolism; allow your body to burn fat as fuel, and increase mental and physical performance?
- Antioxidants- these help combat roaming free-radicals, which travel around our bodies, causing oxidative stress and increasing signs of aging.
How does it taste like?
When it comes to eating tea leaves, certainly the type of leaf and how it is prepared to play a significant role in the taste. Generally, tea leaves taste similar to their tea liquor with a slightly more vegetative astringent and a bitter flavor.
Loose whole leaves will have a more pleasant flavor and consistency than leaves from a bag. Tea leaves from a bag will taste and feel silty because they are so small. The leaf types play a role too. With whites and greens being more vegetal and grassy. Darker leaves become more bitter and robust in regards to their flavors.
Are there any health concern?
If you plan on eating tea leaves, there may be some health concerns to keep an eye on. For example, pesticides may have been used to prepare your whole leaf or tea bag tea. Tea from bags may be especially hazardous because of the materials used to bag them that may contain plastics, chemicals, or microfibers. In any tea category, the high levels of caffeine may be something to be wary of too!
If you would like to sample some of the leftover leaves in your cup, go ahead and try some! Just be aware of the caffeine levels when you chow down on your leaves; also be aware that leaves from the bag may not be the best choice. But for those wondering if tea leaves are edible, the answer is yes! So feel free to nibble your greens a bit.