Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brewing Green Tea - The Top Ten Reasons Your Green Tea Didn't Turn Out Good

I've put together a top ten list explaining why this may have occured. Perhaps it may have been too bitter, or not really as "green" as you had anticipaged. However, if you have ever tried to brew it, there is a good chance it didn't turn out like you may have wanted it to.

Japanese green tea, when brewed correctly, is quite delicious.
You brewed it too hot. If you brew it too hot, it will become bitter. This is probably the most common of all mistakes, and one which has the most influence over the taste. Depending of the variety of green tea, it should be brewed around 175 degrees F, give or take 5 degrees.
You started off with old green tea. Green tea, "when properly packaged", has a shelf life of about 6 months. Once opened, you have about 2-3 months to use it. That's for properly packaged (vacuum packed or nitrogen packaged) tea - If your green tea wasn't packaged properly and is exposed to any amount of air, it probably was never good to begin with.
You can get this throughout the year, however. It's no big secret - the best green tea comes from the first harvest in late April, early May. Your green tea was from a late harvest.
You brewed it too long. This depends on the variety, but generally speaking, no more than 2 minutes.
You used too much tea. This is where you have more room for adjustment. Again, it depends on the variety, but for normal sencha, about one teaspoon to 8-10 ounces of water. For one type of tea, you may have to use an even level teaspoon, and for another a heaping teaspoon; it will vary from tea to tea.
You didn't use enough tea. For gyokuro, you won't get good results unless you use double the amount used for sencha.
You didn't start out with good water.You need good water.
You tried to use a tea ball or paper filter. Green tea is compact. Once you brew, it really expands and needs plenty of space to open up.
You tried to use a 2 liter English Teapot. If you really know what you are doing, it is possible to use a Western teapot to brew green tea. However, you would be way better off using one designed for green tea.
Just because it's from Japan doesn't necessarily mean it's good. Even in Japan, the quality levels of green tea vary considerably. You started of with low quality tea.
Kevin Moore, owner and operator of
, was one of the first online shops dedicating itself to selling Japanese green tea. Based out of Japan, offers a large variety of loose leaf green teas, matcha, and brewing supplies, in addition to helpful advice on all aspects of green tea.


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