Green tea - tastes bitter ? It's all in the brewing temperature.
There has been so much spoken about green tea in the western world these past 10 years. Antioxidant boosters. Slimming teas. Many claims. Mostly very dubious. Many simply untrue. Snake oil salesmen like in the Wild West !
Green teas are delicious. Extremely varied. Healthy. Hydrating. Refreshing. A great addition to your tea range.
But be selective. Poor green teas are.... poor ! They're plain. And yucky - to use a technical term. Green tea in the west is usually very ordinary - and I am being kind ! The quality (sic) of much of the green tea sold by the big brand names - well, its a disgrace. They lowered black tea standards. Now it's the same thing with green tea quality standards. Little thought for the tea drinkers. Sad.
'I don't like green tea, it's bitter' - I hear you say. Why? Because they are often brewed like black tea. Big mistake !
Rule # 1 - DON'T BREW WITH BOILING WATER.
Rule # 2 - see Rule #1 again. And then again.
Catechins. Green tea contains polyphenols - called catechins. Catechins are antioxidants. For sure you've heard the word catechin - the snake oil guys love this word. Catechins dissolve easily at high temperatures. And you guessed it - they're bitter.
So the trick is simple. Brew the tea below boiling temperature. This way they're not so abundant.
GREEN TEA TEMPERATURES:
- Sencha tea (steamed green tea) and panfired Chinese green tea (in simple terms, the green leaf is kind of dry fried in a massive wok) - 80 degrees Celsius tops.
- Gyokuro (best Japanese green tea, grown in the shade for 4 weeks before harvesting) - 55 to 65 degrees Celsius.
HOW DO I GET THE TEMPERATURE DOWN?
Here's a tip. Every time you pour tea from a cup or pot into another non preheated cup or pot, it loses about 10 degrees Celsius. Do this twice and the temperature will be 80 C. Do it 3 times, it's about 70 C.
You might be asking why black tea is less bitter. Simple answer for now - the catechins are converted in the black tea manufacturing process into a different type of polyphenol. Still great for your health mind you. As is all tea.
In a future blog we will discuss how to prepare and brew green teas. Using the above temperature limits of course.
But for now, even if you make green teas like black tea, at these temperature guidelines it will already taste much better.
Enjoy. It's all in the taste.