Green Tea Done Right!
With so many varieties of loose leaf tea to choose from, it’s hard to choose what to drink sometimes, but I’ve been on a real green tea kick. Lately I’ve been enjoying our new Mao Jian Jade Tips tea, a beautiful organic single-estate Chinese green that is uniquely vegetal and buttery, and is delicious hot or cold. Green tea is tasty and nutritious, and comes in many varieties, but it can sometimes be fickle to prepare correctly. We sometimes hear complaints from customers here at The Tea Spot that their green tea is too bitter and unpleasant tasting. The first piece of advice that we give them is to check the temperature of their water.
Because green tea is so delicate, the recommended temperature for brewing it is 175 degrees. If you don’t have a temperature-specific tea kettle, we recommend boiling your cup of water and then waiting three minutes for it to cool to approximately 175 degrees. We decided to test our advice and try brewing our Organic Sencha three ways: with boiling water, 175 degree water, and cold-brewed using the Steep and Go.
We brewed the two hot teas for 2 minutes, and right away we could see a difference in the color of the brew. The tea prepared with boiling water was a dark yellow, and the tea prepared with 175 degree water was a lighter, brighter yellow. We let the cold brew tea infuse for about 20 minutes before tasting it, and it had the lightest color of all.
The important difference, however, was in the taste of the teas. The tea brewed with the optimum temperature of 175 degrees was slightly sweet and grassy, and balanced perfectly with a slight saltiness that is typical in a Sencha. It was a delicious and perfectly rounded flavor. The tea made with boiling water was noticeably more bitter than the other one, and the bitterness overpowered the sweet grassy flavors. It also seemed to take on a more roasted flavor, detracting from vegetal notes of the tea. Because we are at such a high elevation in Boulder, CO, water boils at around 205 degrees, and I suspect the flavor differences would be even more noticeable at the sea level boiling temperature of 212 degrees.
The tea brewed in the Steep and Go was light and refreshing, and the sweetness really came out of the background. It was a very refreshing afternoon treat, and a great way to enjoy any green tea! This experiment was a good reminder that the advice that we give to customers is sound: using the correct temperature of water makes a better cuppa, and a better tea drinking experience!