Green tea drinking is becoming more and more popular in the US and Europe. It is a wonderful alternative to coffee and sugary soft drinks. If you would like to enhance your total tea experience, take a look at these 5 easy tips on how to make the perfect pot of tea.
1. Use Pot instead of tea bags.
Loose leaf tea allows for the full flavor and nutrients from the leaves to be released into the hot water. Loose leaf tea is usually a higher quality than the fannings (the shavings) used in bagged tea. Due to the restrictive nature of a bag, steeping the leaves lose produces a better tasting, healthier beverage because the leaves are able to fully expand and release. It is also pleasing to the eye as well as the palette.
2. Wash (rinse) the leaves.
It is always a good idea before steeping the leaves to wash or rinse them first. It’s a good idea for the following reasons: rinsing the leaves before steeping gets rid of any residue from the handling and processing of the tea leaves. Furthermore, it causes the leaves to ‘awaken’ and fully release the flavor and nutrients when fully steeped. You can use a metal strainer and pour just enough hot (but not boiling!) water to cover the leaves. Let sit for 10 to 20 seconds then discard the water. The leaves are now ready to be steeped.
3. Do not use boiling water.
It is very important not to use water that is too hot or boiling. If you pour boiling water on green tea leaves it will ruin the taste of the tea as well as destroy the beneficial nutrients such as polyphenols and catechins that make drinking tea such a health providing experience. Instead, watch the water until you see the first little bubbles before the water begins to boil then turn off the heat and rinse the leaves. Then the leaves may be steeped.
4. Warm the teapot by pouring hot water on it.
This is an ancient Chinese secret! You can actually pour hot water on the teapot itself to warm the pot before adding the tea. Tea should be enjoyed warm. Pouring warm tea into a cold teapot will certainly alter the temperature, taste, and experience of drinking the tea. Heating the teapot with warm or even hot water will keep the tea warmer for a longer period of time. You can simply run hot tap water on the teapot, or before you rinse the leaves pour some of the hot water onto the teapot. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Steep less than 2 minutes on the first steeping.
Did you know you can steep a teaspoon of tea leaves 3 or 4 times? A common misconception is to steep the leaves for 2-3 minutes. These directions are usually found on most boxed teas. However, to maximize the tea’s taste, flavor, and nutrition only steep green tea leaves for about 45 seconds on the first steeping. A minute to a minute and a half on the second and almost two minutes on the third. This way the majority of flavor and nutrients are not completely released on the first steeping. Steeping green tea leaves for too long produces a bitter and unpleasant tasting tea, and steeping the leaves just right produces one of the most refreshing, best-tasting beverages in the world.
Drinking delicious green tea can be a significant part of a healthy lifestyle. It is based on thousands of years of tradition and is slowly but surely gaining popularity in the West.