Green tea - how to brew?
Green tea is becoming more and more popular, however, a lot of people are discouraged from it after the first try, because it seems too bitter or unpalatable.
Well brewed green tea is delicate, sweet and aromatic.
Making green tea is not difficult. So what are the reasons for these first failures?
Perhaps the main reason is that we apply certain habits regarding the brewing of black tea to green tea - namely, we brew both types of tea in the same way. Green tea requires above all a lower brewing temperature (about 80 ℃) and shorter brewing time (about 1 min).
These are the two basic factors that determine the taste of green tea infusion.
There is however one more very important factor - good quality tea leaves. We will not get a tasty infusion from cheap, poor quality tea leaves. There is no compromise in this matter. Obviously, the price of good green tea is associated with this factor.
Green tea, unlike black tea, is unfermented, delicate and easily oxidized over time, which deteriorates its taste. The process of its oxidation was stopped during the production process (in the case of Japanese tea - by subjecting the leaves to steam), but over time, after opening the packaging, the oxidation process proceeds. Green teas have relatively short shelf life and the way of their storage is very important.
We import tea packed by the producer and we recommend that our is consumed within 2 months of opening the package. You can, of course, drink it long and after this date, but you should be aware that its aroma and flavor will be weaker over time. So it is better to open one package and use it to the end, and then open another one.
If we meet these three conditions: good quality leaves, water at the temperature of approx. 80 ℃ and brewing time for about 1 minute, then we will probably obtain a tasty, delicate, aromatic brew without any problems.
When brewing green tea, it's a good idea to follow the manufacturer's instructions on the tea package. There are many types of tea, different size of leaves, different seasons of the harvest and different regions from which they originate. The instructions given here mainly concern green teas from Japan, such as sencha, kukicha or genmaicha.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BREWING GREEN TEA?
Good quality tea leaves
Pay attention to where the tea comes from, whether it is well stored and packaged, what is the shelf-life date.
Generally, you should use about 2g of leaves (heaped teaspoon) for 200-300 ml of water. We recommend using such proportions as a starting point. Because the sizes of leaves of different teas and producers differ significantly, you can use a kitchen scales to check how many teaspoons of leaves it is.
We use such proportions in our western way of brewing green teas.
As for the teapot for brewing tea, you can use its various types: stoneware, porcelain, glass or metal. Green tea, however, likes to open its leaves during brewing, so it is a good idea to use a teapot, where the leaves have enough space to open and are not compressed in a narrow, metal strainer or infuser. The capacity of the teapot is also important - the smaller capacity gives us better control over the portion of tea leaves. It's better to make 2-3 beverages in a smaller teapot than 1 in a large jug.
We brew green tea, depending on the type, with water at a temperature of 60℃ to 90℃. The temperature of approx. 80 ℃ is suitable for most teas.
It is best to boil fresh, previously unboiled water, and then cool it for 3-4 minutes to the desired temperature. You can pour hot water into an empty teapot to warm it up (in this way the teapot does not take away the heat from the water used for brewing tea later), then pour this water into the cups to warm them up, and finally pour the same water back into the teapot with dry leaves in it. Water after heating the teapot and cups will drop to the desired temperature and will be suitable for brewing tea.
We brew Japanese green tea in a teapot for about 1 minute. This is the optimal time to extract from the tea leaves an appropriate balance between amino acids (giving the tea its sweetness and aroma) and polyphenols (giving the brew a tart, bitter taste).
These amino acids give the tea its umami taste. Tea leaves contain many amino acids, among them L-theanine, which has a relaxing effect. Among the polyphenolic compounds found in tea, the most important are catechins, which are powerful antioxidants.
Proper brewing temperature and brewing time will give us a good balance between these different compounds in the infusion - it will be valuable, tasty and aromatic. Too long brewing time or too high brewing temperature will make the tea bitter.
Japanese teas are brewed at least twice, and you can even brew them three times. After each brewing, pour the water thoroughly out of the teapot, so that it does not stay there and does not become bitter and spoil our next infusion. The second brew should be shorter than the first (the leaves are already open) and the third longer.
- Boil water and cool it to about 80℃ by heating a teapot and tea cups.
- Pour the water into the teapot with tea leaves in it and brew for about 50-60 sec.
- Pour the whole infusion out of the teapot (shake the teapot several times to make sure there is no water left)