Many health conscious people are drinking more green tea because of the numerous health benefits associated with this ancient beverage. While countless articles and publications are written about the many health benefits, little thought seems to be given to brewing the perfect cup of tea for flavor as well as nutrition.
I love food and take great pleasure blooming tea balls in properly preparing all that I choose to consume. I see little value in doing something if it’s not done right. Even when it comes to something that may seem simple, such as brewing tea, I do my homework to find out the best and proper way to carry out the task at hand.
One thing many fail to realize is the fact that green tea is composed of many varied flavor compounds. Not all of these are desirable. Some add bitterness while others add a mossy or grassy flavor. While these compounds are not detrimental from a nutritional standpoint, they do not produce a delicious cup of tea.
Let us first examine the typical green tea preparation practiced in many modern homes. The pre-packaged tea bag is placed into a cup. Water is boiled then added to the cup. It is left to steep until cool enough to drink, sometimes in excess of ten minutes. Then the adequate yet not excellent beverage is sweetened with a highly refined substance.
There is a better way. By putting a little thought and effort into the process, you can get a perfect cup of green tea instead of something you drink because you want the health benefits. First, it is important to accept one indisputable fact: bad ingredients will always make bad food while excellent ingredients can make excellent food if paired with proper technique. If you start with substandard ingredients, the results will never be great.
There are two basic ingredients in a perfectly brewed cup: the green tea itself and water. The water should be filtered or from a verified clean source. If it reeks of chlorine or other cleaning agents, it will never make outstanding tea. The temperature of the water is also very important, although often overlooked. The previously mentioned undesirable bitter flavor compounds in tea are more easily extracted in very hot water. The ideal brewing temperature is between 150 and 180 degrees F. Get an easy to read probe thermometer if you don’t already own one.
The quality of the tea is also of the utmost importance. The pre-filled bags found in most supermarkets are bleached paper stuffed with small bits of broken tea leaves which are covered in pesticides and impregnated with artificial fertilizers. This is generally not the kind of product you should seek out when trying to reap health benefits of any kind. Opt instead for an organic loose whole leaf green tea. It is far superior in both nutrition and flavor.
Duration of brewing is also instrumental in producing the perfect cup. Generally speaking, between 30 seconds and 3 minutes is best. Beyond that, the grassy and mossy flavors begin to overpower the green tea. Brewing with organic loose whole leaf tea will give the leaves more room to move around and properly bloom. Strain the resulting concoction with any tea strainer or fine kitchen strainer and you are ready to enjoy the perfect cup of green tea.