By now you have probably heard many reports of the health benefits of green tea. It has been credited for many things, including reducing cancer risk, enhancing cardiovascular health, and strengthening the immune system. However, many people who are unaccustomed to green tea find its vegetal flavor difficult to drink. So without further ado, here are some tips for the reluctant green tea drinker.
Perhaps one of the most common reasons people dislike green tea comes from improper brewing techniques. With a little practice you can get perfectly brewed green tea every time. Here are some tips.
Start with fresh, cold, filtered water.
Water is, of course, the base of tea. If you start with chlorinated water, the taste of your tea is going to reflect that. I find that either using a purification system, such as a Brita, is an easy and economical way to filter water. Alternatively you can purchase containers of purified water from the grocery store.
Do not use boiling water.
Green tea leaves are much more delicate than black tea leaves, so using boiling water can ruin the brewing process. Using boiling water also effects the level of tannins present in the tea, which could make it bitter. A good technique is to bring your water to a boil and let it stand for ten minutes before use. If you have a teakettle with a thermometer, your target temperature should be between 160 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use loose leaf tea.
Tea leaves need room to expand, so using teabags usually results in a subpar cup of tea. Teabags are usually filled with dust or lower quality tea leaves, so using loose leaf tea will result in a better tasting cup.
Don’t let it steep too long.
Brewing the tea leaves for too long will result in a bitter and vegetal flavor. To avoid this, use a tea timer. Japanese green teas should be brewed for 1-2 minutes, while Chinese green teas should steep for 2-3. Japanese green teas are usually stronger, while Chinese green teas have a delicate flavor.
Try some blends.
If you don’t find straight green tea delicious, you might want to try some blends. These have the same health benefits of green tea while providing some additional flavors for variety. Green tea with mint is a favorite among many.
Written and Copyrighted @ Rylan 2009
Photo copyrighted @ LaTeaDah 2009
Thanks to Rylan for allowing me to repost his thoughts on green tea. Rylan writes on his own blog at http://42leaf.com/blog/