WHY Does My Green Tea Taste So GOOD?! (Part 2)
Let’s talk about what you, the infuser and composer of this flavor symphony, can do to extract the tastiest tea possible.
Number one, never use fully boiled water. Do not even boil the water then let it cool down. Once the water has been brought to a roaring boil, CO2 has already been evaporated out, pH goes up, extraction yield goes down, and that’s bad for flavor. Additionally, high infusion temperatures extract more tannins and less amino acids, while the opposite is true for lower infusion temperatures. However, cold-brew tea takes a longer time to infuse, and I want my tea now. So, we can compromise by infusing the green tea at 80°C, 175°F. This temperature ensures you are extracting enough material here and now, while not disrupting our precious tannin/amino acid ratio.
Number two, refrigerate your green tea. Some teas can be stored in a closet for ten years and emerge with even better flavor. Green tea is not one of those teas. Green tea should be kept fresh, and be consumed within the same year it was bought. Tannins are higher in green tea than in other teas, and those tannins deteriorate relatively quickly. As much as tannins should be kept below a limit, they also should be kept above a limit, in order to make sure the tea still has a crisp flavor. Refrigeration slows the deterioration of tannins, just like refrigeration slows deterioration of fruits and vegetables. Caution: When refrigerating your green tea, do not put it inside your cheese drawer, or next to the minced garlic, or pickled cabbage. Tea leaves take on foreign scents relatively easily. So unless you want cheesy pickled cabbage tea, do try your best to use smell-proof packaging and give your tea it’s own little space (it deserves it).
That is a brief introductory tidbit on understanding the ‘wow-factor’ in green tea. If you have two green teas, brew them identically and see which has a relatively sweet and savory flavor profile, with not too much bite but still just enough. Is the mouthfeel flat and overly astringent, or does it have some roundness or thickness to it? Think about ratios, balance, and the ideal middle ground. Most of all, when you find that green tea that you absolutely love, yell “YUM” at the top of your lungs!! Or just smile inwardly.
Thanks for reading part 2 of the “WHY Does My Green Tea Taste So GOOD?!” series and click here for part 1 if you’ve missed it!
I look forward to questions/comments/feedback.