New Ways to Enjoy Green Tea
Green tea, particularly Japanese green tea, has long been known for its many benefits. As a rich source of antioxidants, it is used in Japan not only for traditional tea rituals but also medicinally, for everything from improving heart health to strengthening the metabolism — and even for treating insect bites.
In recent years, new uses for green tea have appeared in unexpected places like cookbooks and self-care rituals. Anyone who has tasted matcha ice cream or enjoyed a green tea spritzer on a hot summer day knows how versatile — and joy-sparking — green tea can be. Here are five of our favorite modern uses for green tea, including an original recipe for an effortless meal after a long day.
For the Face
Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, green tea makes the ideal base for a DIY face mask. It is known for soothing acne flare-ups or other skin discomforts while also gently moisturizing the skin.
For a simple at-home mask, mix one teaspoon matcha green tea powder with one tsp honey in either water or, for added benefits, plain yogurt. Leave it on the skin for 10 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
For Minor Irritation
If you’ve accidentally spent too much time in the sun while gardening or at a weekend picnic, try brewing Japanese green tea in cold water, then apply it as a compress to sunburnt skin. Green tea contains tannic acid and theobromine, which help soothe minor pains and heal damaged skin. You can also use these green tea compresses to take the itch out of insect bites.
In Times of Hunger
In Japan, ochazuke, or green tea rice, is the perfect quick bite for when hunger requires immediate attention. Served hot or cold, Japanese households enjoy green tea rice year-round. Try our simple recipe for green tea rice the next time you are struggling to decide what to cook on a busy night.
In the Garden
Green tea isn’t only for our enjoyment — it’s beloved by plants, too. If you’re struggling with plants in your home garden, particularly plants that love acidic soil like azaleas, camellias, squash or tomatoes, try using green tea as a simple, natural fertilizer. Add tea leaves to mulch or your at-home compost to give both indoor plants and outdoor garden beds an extra boost of nutrients.
As a Sweet (or Savory) Treat
If you’ve had matcha or green tea ice cream from a specialty ice cream shop, you know its unforgettable flavor. But there are many ways to use green tea in home recipes for special treats and snacks, as well. Here are three of our favorites:
- Make a two-ingredient, dairy-free matcha ice cream by blending two ripe bananas with 1 tsp matcha powder, then freezing for 1-2 hours. Try topping with chocolate chips or cacao nibs!
- Make your own green tea-infused simple syrup by combining equal parts brewed tea with granulated sugar in a saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add a 1-2 tablespoons to sparkling water for an afternoon pick-me-up or use the simple syrup to make an unexpected cocktail for your next dinner party.
- Pulse loose green tea leaves in a spice or coffee grinder to create a course powder, then combine with Maldon or sea salt to create your own green tea seasoning. Use it to flavor popcorn or sprinkle it on vanilla ice cream!
These are just a few uses for green tea, but of course, we still love enjoying a mindful cup of sencha or jasmine tea as part of a traditional afternoon tea ritual. The beauty of Japanese green tea is that no matter how you enjoy it, it’s good for the body, mind and spirit!