Followers of nutrition trends have probably heard of guava leaf tea; the tea is typically drunk for health reasons rather than as a tasty beverage. While guava leaf does come from the same plant that grows guava fruit, the tea tastes nothing like the sweet pink food. This doesn't mean the tisane is bad—it's a slightly bitter, herbaceous drink that can be blended with other flavors such as peppermint, fruits, and honey. Most people choose to drink guava leaf tea for its high vitamin C content and antioxidant properties.
Origin: Central America and southern Mexico
Main Ingredient: Guava leaves
What Is Guava Leaf Tea?
A cup of guava leaf tea is mostly just water, but the flavor, color, and any benefits in the drink come solely from the plant. The guava plant also grows a sweet and popular fruit of the same name, but the leaves taste nothing like this sugary fruit. Though guava trees are now cultivated in Florida, Hawaii, Southern California, China, and India, the plant is native to Central America and southern Mexico.
Guava leaf tea is not a true Camellia sinensis like black, green, or white tea. It's a tisane like other herbal blends, such as peppermint, chamomile, and lemongrass. Still, guava leaf tea is brewed like regular tea using boiled water. It's often sold in a tea bag or can be loose-leaf and strained through a mesh basket. Pricing for the tea is similar to other specialty herbal teas and more expensive than standard store-bought tea bags.
Guava leaf tea has been used as a non-traditional medicine in many cultures, especially in India, China, and Japan. The main uses include treating diarrhea, managing blood sugar, weight loss, aiding in pregnancy health, and as an antioxidant. Whether or not guava leaf tea really does help with these things hasn't been 100-percent proven, but given the beverage's long history as a health drink there could be some basis to the claims. At the very least, there's nothing bad about having a cup of guava leaf tea each day.
The main reason people drink guava leaf tea is to promote gut health, regulate blood sugar, as a weight-loss tool, and, (during pregnancy) for the high dose of vitamin C and folate. It can be served hot or iced and drunk once a day. Guava leaf tea also has been used to treat a bout of diarrhea and works by helping prevent the growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which causes the ailment.
Guava leaf tea is brewed like regular herbal tea using boiling water. It's often sold in a tea bag or can be loose and placed in an infuser or strained before serving. Let the tea sit for approximately five minutes before extracting the leaves. Then serve the tea hot, or let cool and pour over ice.
How To Drink Guava Leaf Tea
Any time of day is good for drinking guava leaf tea. There's no caffeine and no side effects, so it can be a pleasing cup in the morning or an afternoon tipple. Drink this tea hot or iced. Since it doesn't have a strong flavor, it's not much different than having a glass of water.
What Does It Taste Like?
There's an herbal quality to guava leaf tea and a slight green tea flavor, even though the beverage doesn't contain any true tea leaves in it. It can be blended with honey, peppermint, dried fruits, and other ingredients to improve the bitter taste and add more layers to the drink.
Buying and Storing
You may find guava leaf tea in the tea section of the grocery store, though it's not as common as other herbal blends and true tea. Many Asian markets carry guava leaf tea and it can also be found in health food shops as well as online. Find it in packages of tea bags or bagged as a loose-leaf tisane. Look for high-quality teas from trusted sources for best results.
Guava leaf tea should be kept in a dry, air-tight container. Usually, the bag it comes in will seal once opened, but transfer to a thicker, air-tight vessel if needed. The leaves must be kept dry until ready to use. Guava leaf tea will keep for up to a year under ideal conditions, but use sooner if possible.
Guava Leaf Tea Vs. Green Tea
Though green tea and guava leaf tea brew a green-brown liquid that looks similar, they are very different. First, there's the taste. Guava leaf tea has an herbaceous, occasionally bitter quality, where green tea tastes more like grass, lemon, and earth. They also come from completely different plants. Green tea is a true tea, or camellia sinensis. Guava leaf tea comes from a small tree in the myrtle family, the same tree that grows pink guava fruit. While these two drinks differ in significant ways, they have a couple of things in common: how the leaves are brewed and how the tea is drunk.