How To Brew Green Tea (and a 101)
If you’ve drunk green tea before, chances are, you’ve had a bad experience. Most of us know too well that displeasing, bitter taste, of a poorly brewed cup. The main culprit for this comes down to two common brewing mistakes.
- The water temperature is too high
- The leaf is left to steep for too long
However, if you respect its sensitivity, the tea pays you back in a world of delicious flavour. I’ll explain how to brew the perfect cup, and welcome you to the world of green tea.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GREEN TEA
Green tea has been drunk for around 5000 years; it was the first type of tea enjoyed before all other tea classes came to be. We don’t know for certain how it came about, however it is believed to have originated in China.
One of the legends told, is that in 2737 BC, Emperor Shennong (a herbalist) sat beneath a wild tea tree one day to rest. He was boiling some water in a pot over a fire to drink. Suddenly, a gush of wind blew some leaves from the tea tree above into the hot water. The water turned golden, and a delightful aroma arose. Curious, he took a sip and found this new drink pleasing and refreshing and called it "cha" (tea in Chinese).
THE PROCESS OF GREEN TEA
All tea varieties (white, green, yellow, oolong, and black tea) originate from the same plant species - Camellia Sinensis. So it comes down to the processing that separates how the tea becomes 'green' or black and other classes. Understanding processing is essential because it explains why you need to treat green tea with sensitivity and respect.
Here’s the typical process.
- Tender leaves are picked on a tea estate in early spring- one bud and two leaves (the most delicate part of the tea plant)
- They then go through ‘withering’ (most styles): a gentle process that removes moisture.
- Steaming or pan-firing: This process stops oxidation, allowing the leaves to keep their green colour and not turn brown (unlike black tea), making green tea more delicate. Note (Japanese style uses steaming)- creates more umami and vegetal notes. (Chinese style uses pan-firing)- creates more nutty and sweet notes.
- Rolling and shaping: Tea masters then work the tea leaves into their different shapes.
- Firing: This is the final stage of the process. More heat helps stabilise and further reduce moisture content in the leaf so it doesn't spoil. Firing creates the end flavour profile and delicious characteristics for us to savour.
Possible Health Benefits of Green Tea
- Catechins are types of antioxidants found in green tea. The highest known is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). Antioxidants are known to assist in neutralizing free radicals in our bodies.
- Amino acid L-theanine can help increase mental focus.
- May assist with lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure, improving blood flow.
I suggest drinking green tea because it tastes great; all the extra stuff is a bonus!
HOW TO BREW GREEN TEA
SOME TIPS BEFORE YOU START
If you're looking to enjoy a more robust cup of tea, the answer is to add more tea leaves and not to steep the leaves in the water for longer. Leaving your tea leaf in your brewing vessel will only cause bitterness (not strength) due to too much tannin released in your cup caused by over steeping.
- For an excellent cup of Chinese tea, you'll need to achieve 80 degrees Celsius. Fill 1/4 (50ml) of your brewing vessel with cold filtered water, then top with 150ml boiling water.
- To brew a knock-your-socks-off cup of Japanese tea, you'll need to achieve 75 degrees Celsius. Fill a little over 1/4 (60ml) of your brewing vessel with cold filtered water, then top with 140ml boiling water.
Use these instructions for all green tea (except matcha, see our ‘Matcha Brewing Guide’ or watch our Matcha Brewing Instructions). Which includes all Chinese green teas, and Japanese green teas (like Sencha).
- Boil your kettle with 200ml of freshly drawn cold water (filtered is best if you can) to 75- 80 degrees celsius. If you don't have a temperature control kettle add 50ml of cool water to your teapot or brewing vessel, then add the 150ml of boiled water to the teapot
- Add 1 tbsp of tea per 200ml of water (2g of tea per 200ml)
- Infuse for 1-2 minutes. The first 90 seconds of brew time release the best flavours.
- Strain all brewed liquid from your teapot, or remove the infuser from your brewing vessel.
- Take a sip and savour the fantastic flavours.
- You can re-brew your green tea multiple times until you've exhausted the tea leaves.
One of my favourite things about tea, is that it takes your imagination to the furthest reaches of the world. The flavours, the aroma, the story, transports you to another place.
I hope this piece has been an insightful exploration into green tea and how to enjoy it best. Keep exploring, brewing, and tasting; you'll never know what tea you might discover.
If you'd like to watch a video on how to brew the best cup of green tea, see below.
You may also love these
How to brew the perfect cup of green tea, and an introduction to the world of green tea.
In this guide you'll find tips and guides to brewing different types of tea.
I would like to point out that however you fancy your tea comes down to personal taste; I am sharing guidelines on what I feel is important to ensure that you have consistency and able to savor this old world beverage to it's full potential. I also recommend using this guide with good quality loose leaf tea
Iced teas brighten up a party and evoke curiosity, so whether you want to enjoy them as a healthy alternative or as a cheeky cocktail for some added extra fun, make your iced tea the star of the show!Iced teas don’t need to be boring, you can jazz them up your favourite fruits, add some sparkling water for a spritz and splashes vodka or gin.
Want to know the secret?...