While steeping green tea isn’t complicated at all, sometimes small mistakes result in a bad cup of tea. Here are the 5 reasons why your green tea may not have the best taste:
1 Always steeping your tea in boiling water.
Since black teas and some types of green tea are steeped in boiling water, some people assume that it applies to all teas. If you like a strong, bitter flavor, by all means go ahead and boil your green teas. However, some types of green tea have a lighter, more delicate flavor that’s best appreciated at a lower temperature. You’ll be throwing money down the drain by boiling some of the more expensive green teas.
2 Having a low tea to water ratio.
This is common in the West, because we tend to use cups and mugs that are much larger than the teaware found in Asia. If you are using a lot of water, it only makes sense that you increase the amount of tea as well. If you feel that your green teas lack flavor, pay attention to the amount of tea that you’re using. It could be too little for your cup.
3 Letting your green tea go stale.
Green tea degrades quickly, it’s best to drink it before one year. You’ll still be able to drink it, but the taste and aroma are greatly diminished. Humidity, heat and sunlight accelerate this process. Keeping your green tea in an airtight container and in a dry place will solve this problem. Also, try to drink it on a daily basis. One reason why it goes stale is because you buy more tea than you drink!
4 Steeping your tea for too long.
Often we may forget about the tea and leave it for longer than usual. There’s no need to measure the brewing time to the second, but overbrewing green tea usually results in excessive bitterness. Another reason not to steep for too long is in the case that you like to make multiple steeping. It’s a good way to fully enjoy your tea, and save some money in the process. If your steeping time is too long in the first cup, you may not have much flavor left in the tea leaves for subsequent cups. Of course, the number of possible steeping depends on the type of green tea.
5 Not letting the leaves expand fully.
Once the tea leaves get wet, they expand considerably. If they have not enough space to expand, the flavor can’t be extracted at the same rate, resulting in a dull cup of tea. This usually happens when using a small infuser. Try steeping in a bigger steeping basket or better yet, a teapot and see if the flavor improves. Another way to tell is with the color of the tea’s liquour. If it’s too pale, maybe the leaves are clogging your infuser. In general, it’s better to have a steeping basket with a large surface area.
Have you experienced any of these?
Remember that not all teas are alike, Japanese teas may have the same name but have totally different characteristics based on the region that it was grown.
Learn more about Japanese Green Tea from the Tea Docents at The Taste of Tea.