Finding your perfect “Matcha" is easier than you think. There are two main methods to prepare Green Tea. The easy method, or the Traditional Japanese ceremony method. The latter is a bit beyond this article, but more information will soon be available on my website.
Growing your own Green Tea plants
Green Tea plants seem to have originated in China. There is evidence that suggests that Green Tea has been used for more than 5000 years. From China, Green Tea spread around those eastern regions namely Japan, Taiwan, India and even up to Russia.
The Tea Plant (camellia sinensis) prefers high altitudes with a tropical rainfall. But doesn't thrive well at lower altitudes. But with care and attention, you should be able to grow a few Green Tea plants in your back yard, or a green house.
There are a few places that you would be able to buy Green Tea saplings. Picking the young leaves off your own Green Tea plant will make an awesome and fresh brew.
Brewing your perfect cup of loose leaf
There are a few factors that you need to keep in mind when you want to brew your green tea.
- The Quality of Water
- The quality of Green Tea
- Water temperature
- And the time needed to steep
If you change any one of these factors, you will have to make adjustments to the others. Or you could end up with a very bitter cup of Green Tea.
The water quality is a major issue. Tap water is generally not considered pure enough. There are very many chemicals in normal tap water that alter and influence the flavour of tea. I highly recommend pure spring water at best, heavily filtered water at worst. And stay away from tap water.
The lower the quality of Green Tea, the longer you have to steep, and the higher temperature water you need to use.
As a rule of thumb, never, ever use boiling water. I usually let my boiling water cool down for a few minutes before adding the loose leaf teas. I follow a few simple steps:
- Boil the water. Some people say that boiling water that has cooled down makes tea taste better than water that has not yet been boiled. I have found no differences in taste, but find it easier to let boiling water cool down than trying to gauge the water temperature without a thermometer
- Pour the boiling water into your empty Green Tea pot and let it stand for a minute. The cold Tea Pot helps in cooling the water down, while the hot water also warms up the tea pot.
- Pour out the water from the tea pot into your drinking mugs. This helps cool the water down even more, and warms up the cups. The warm cups help retain the heat in your cup of tea while you are drinking. Let the water stand in the mugs for about a minute. The added advantage of this, is that you now have the exact amount of water you need for your brew
- Discard the remaining water in the tea pot. The exact amount of water is in the drinking mugs. Green Tea can be steeped multiple times, but if you leave the tea to steep in the little bit of extra water, you could get very bitter tea.
- Add your Green Tea Loose leaves to the pot. A good indication is about a teaspoonful of tea per cup that you are planning to brew.
- Empty the water from the mugs into the tea pot and let brew for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour out the green tea to fill a quarter of the drinking mugs and rotate or swirl the tea pot gently.
- Fill the mugs to half, and gently rotate the tea pot again.
- Finally fill the drinking mugs making sure that no water has been left in the tea pot.
By only partially pouring the Green Tea into the mugs ensures that the Green Tea flavour is evenly distributed between you and your Tea partner. Gently swirling your teapot between pours mixes the flavour into the infused water still in the tea pot. But be careful not to swirl to energetically, as that will more than likely give you a stronger brew, and possibly bitter at that.
The best method to judge, is to taste your tea. Subtly altering any of my steps will change either consistency, strength and ultimately flavour. Keep experimenting until you find your balance.
Loose Leaf Green Teas can be re-steeped several time. I usually only go up to 3 time. Add an extra minute each time you re-steep your tea leaves. This will ensure that you get the maximum flavor available from each steep. When the flavor runs out, it is time to use some fresh loose leaves.
How to make Green Tea in Bags
Almost boiling water and a steeping time of 4 to 5 minutes. Tea bags by nature are efficient and easy way to enjoy your Green Tea, especially if you are on the move and don't have the time, or the equipment to follow my (or a similar) brewing method.
The quality of Green Tea in bags is in most cases lower. Especially supermarket bought tea bags.
Also . . . the leaves are broken, and the bag itself restricts loose leaves from fully opening. If your tea bags contain particles of tea, then you will need to adjust your brewing method to compensate. More heat and a longer steeping time will be needed.
I personally prefer loose leaf green tea to tea bags, but . . there have been the odd occasion when tea bags have been advantageous.
After finding this miraculous brew in a severe time of need, Green Tea has become an almost obsessive hobby. Within weeks of starting to drink green tea regularly, I was able to notice the beneficial effects in my own body. Slight weight loss, better concentration, and, I am finally rid of that constant bloated feeling.
Join me as I delve into the world of Green Tea, uncovering some of the mysteries, exposing the myths and most of all . . . Living Healthier, Living Longer
Live healthier . . . Live Longer!