Green tea is chock full of health benefits. Green tea contains antioxidants and nutrients that can decrease your risk of cancer, help you lose weight and help prevent dementia. But how do you know you're getting the most out of that cup of tea? Many people don't realize there are ways to maximize the positive effects of green tea, and make it taste better at the same time.
1. Use water that's the right temperature. Water that is at a rolling boil is usually too hot for making green tea. If the water temperature is too hot, the tea will taste bitter and astringent. If the water is too cold, the full flavor will not be extracted out of the leaves. Water that is between 160 and 180 degrees is best. When you're boiling water, this is when the water is hot and there are bubbles beginning to form on the bottom of the pot, but not on top. Some tea brewers recommend heating the water until there's a steady stream of steam rising from the pot. Alternatively, you could boil the water completely and then let it cool for a few minutes.
2. Steep for just the right amount of time. Because green tea is so delicate, it’s important to steep for 2-3 minutes. Less time will prevent the tea leaves from releasing their full flavor while more time will garner a bitter taste. Brew for 2 minutes and then taste every 30 seconds thereafter until you get a taste that you like. A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that antioxidant activity is significantly affected by time and temperature of steeping. The best outcome for green tea, according to the researchers? Cold steeping.
3. Add a splash of honey or other sweetener. On its own, green tea can have a somewhat "grassy" taste. Some people are addicted to the flavor and others just can't get into it. If you fall in the latter category, adding a bit of honey will help to make the taste more palatable.
4. Use high quality tea leaves. Fresher tea leaves (i.e., ones that come loose as opposed to in tea bags) will generally produce a better flavor because the tea leaves have room to "breathe." The flavor is richer and more authentic than tea that comes prepackaged in tea bags.
5. Use the right amount of tea. Generally, a good ratio is 2 grams of tea leaves to 6 ounces of water but you may want to tweak the ratios a bit depending on your taste. More tea leaves per ounce will produce a more distinct taste.
6. Add mint or lemon juice. Either one of these can help subtly bring out the flavor of your green. Try each one separately or try them both together. Sometimes, a little mint or lemon is all your tea needs to bring out delicious flavor.
7. Be sure to use quality water for brewing. Water with too many minerals can sometime counteract the natural minerals found in the tea leaves and produce a pungent taste. Purified or spring water is best since they are free from pollutants than can alter the tea's taste.
Now that you know how to properly make green tea, you can experiment with different types to see which you like best. Indulge yourself with a nice tea cup, sit back and enjoy your fresh brew!