Brewing a cup of green tea sounds simple enough, but it's actually pretty easy to do it wrong and miss out on the best flavors and benefits. Below I will give you the 5 simple steps to making the best cup of green tea!
Step One: Get All the Right Stuff
Whether it's loose leaf or in whole leaf tea pyramids, all the best teas are whole leaf. Your run-of-the-mill green tea bag is filled with low grade tea dust. All that surface area allows the most desirable and valuable natural components of green tea to vaporize long before the tea is prepared. Whole leaf tea is much better at retaining these components until the brewing process draws them out. This contributes to better flavors and more health benefits in the resulting cup of tea.
The water you use is very important. If your water tastes "funny" when drunk by itself, then it will also affect the flavor of any tea you make. Be sure to use clean water that tastes natural by itself.
If you're using a tea pyramid, you're all set. But if your going to brew loose leaf tea, you will need some sort of infuser. It doesn't matter if it's a bargain-bin basic or a blue-chip beauty, just make sure that it's made from heat safe material that won't add anything to the tea flavor and it should also be large enough for your tea to expand and brew properly.
Step Two: Heat Your Water
Green tea is very delicate. If your water is too hot, it could burn the tea leaves and make your cup of tea bitter. Most green teas should be brewed between 170 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
A stove-top kettle works well for heating water, but you may need to use a thermometer to get the temperature right. You could also try heating to a boil and then pouring a cup of hot water and allowing it to cool a few minutes before adding your tea. The latter suggestion will require trial and error.
A good alternative is an electric kettle with temperature control. These heat water very quickly, eliminate temperature guessing, and are very convenient as they don't require a stove and can be plugged in anywhere.
Using a microwave to heat water in a mug is not recommended. This often results in a mug that is too hot to hold, with water that is unevenly heated (hot on top, cold underneath, and not good for making tea).
Step Three: Use the Right Amount of Tea
If you're using a tea pyramid, this has been figured out for you. You can also use two or three good quality pyramids to make an entire pot of tea.
For loose leaf, a typical 6oz cup of water will require one teaspoon of tea. That's why they call it a "teaspoon!" This should equate to about 2.5 to 3 grams of tea.
Step Four: Brew Time
Most Green teas respond well to a brew time between 1 to 3 minutes. Japanese greens lean more toward shorter brew times, while Chinese greens, like our Pearl Green, like to go longer.
This really comes down to personal flavor preference and no two teas are exactly the same, so testing out different times for different green teas is highly recommended.
Step Five: Enjoy!
If you've followed the steps above, now you should have a great cup of green tea in your hands. Sip carefully at the beginning to avoid burning your mouth (We all hate doing that).
If your tea is bitter, you should try either a shorter brew time or a lower temperature.
If your tea is bland, you should try either a longer brew time, higher temperature or more tea (loose leaf only).