If you've tried green tea a few times and you found it bitter or tasteless, most probably it was because the tea wasn't brewed properly. A perfectly brewed cup of green tea has subtle nuanced flavours and isn't bitter at all. Brewing green tea is an art form; just ask the Japanese who've literally turned it into an art called the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Of course, you don't have to go as far as performing carefully choreographed hand movements to brew a great tasting cup of green tea. Just take a few minutes to read this article to understand the basics of brewing green tea and you can experiment and adapt the procedure to brew the perfect cup of tea for yourself.
SOME BASIC INFO ABOUT GREEN TEA
Green tea is one of the most popular types of tea, especially in Asia. Just like black tea, it comes in various forms and grades of refinement. So there is no one way of brewing green tea that will give the best result every time, but there is a basic template that you can use to understand how to brew green tea of any kind.
Steeping is the process of pouring hot water over the tea leaves and letting it sit for a few minutes. Steeping works best with loose green tea leaves. Tea bags and tea infuser balls don't allow the tea leaves to open fully and restrict the release of all the subtle flavours.
PERECT GREEN TEA IN 4 SIMPLE STEPS
Start by heating 200ml water to about 75-80°C. The temperature and quality of water plays a key role in steeping. If the water is too hot, it will cook the leaves and the tea will turn bitter and astringent. If the water is not hot enough, it won't extract all the flavours out of the tea.
To get the temperature right, you can use a kitchen thermometer or an electric kettle with a temperature setting. If such equipment isn't available you can always bring the water to a boil and then let it cool down for a bit. Another strategy is to heat the water till it is just short of boiling. The Japanese have a saying that when you see the first column of steam steadily rising from the water, it is ready to steep green tea.
Make sure that the water is fresh. Tap water, bottled mineral water and spring water are all good but don't use distilled water as it will lead to a flat tasting cup of tea. Also, ensure that you don't reheat already boiled water as the more times you heat it, the more oxygen content it loses.
Put approximately 2.5 grams of green tea in a cup. Green tea varies widely in its weight to volume ratio based on the quality of refinement. Some green teas have tiny shredded leaves while others have large rolled leaves. So the number of tea spoons that make up 2.5 grams will vary from tea to tea. If you don't have a weighing scale, you can always experiment and adjust it according to your liking. Just remember that the tea to water ratio is important for brewing the best cup of green tea.
Pour the hot water in the cup and cover it with a lid or a saucer. Let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes. The steeping time will also vary, based on the quality of the tea and personal taste preference. This is another opportunity to experiment and turn it into an art form. A good way to do this is to let it steep for 2 minutes and then taste it every 30 seconds till you hit the mark.
Strain the tea and serve. If you are making a single cup for yourself, you can steep it in one cup and then strain into a new cup. If you are making it for a larger group, you can steep the tea in the kettle itself and strain it into the cups. Just heat the water in the kettle and then pour it into another container before you put the tea leaves in the kettle and then pour the water back.
It is a good idea to warm the teacups before steeping by pouring hot water in them and then throwing it away. It's just an extra detail that will ensure that the water doesn't cool too quickly while steeping and the end result will be a better cup of tea.
You can reuse a good green tea for steeping a second or even a third cup. Just remember to increase the steeping time with each subsequent brew.
Store your green tea in airtight containers to keep it fresh.
Most importantly, do share green tea with your friends! Let them marvel at the art form you've created out of the simple process of brewing the perfect cup of green tea.
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