Have you ever wondered why your green tea has an unpleasant bitterness? That may be because the conditions of your brew are not right.
Like making wine, steeping tea leaves is as much of an art which requires experience and a good understanding of your tea. Green tea, being the least oxidised type of tea compared to Oolong and Black tea, contains higher levels of tannins - or a type of antioxidant as it is better known. As such, it has natural bitterness in the leaves which if brewed right makes the tea more flavourful.
In brewing the perfect drink, we always try to balance the tannins with the flavours of the leaves to our liking. This is done through 3 important variables which are all within our control!
Green tea is best brewed with cooler water around 80°C. Using boiling water is not recommended because it extracts too much tannins and results in over-bitterness. Using water at room temperature is also not ideal because it results in a flat brew lacking depth. The optimal temperature of 80°C is most suited for green tea as it draws delicate flavours from the leaves, combining with light tannins to yield a balanced taste.
The amount of water to be added is also crucial because when too much water is used, tea will taste diluted. On the other hand, when too little water is used to brew tea, the taste will be too overwhelming to enjoy the real goodness of the brew! Use a standard tea cup which is around 180ml for each tea bag and you won't go wrong.
Steeping time is one key deciding factor whether your tea will taste good. Many people are used to leaving their tea bags indefinitely but that will ruin your cup of tea. Over-steeping results in more tannins released, turning your tea into a very bitter and unpleasant drink. This also increases the astringency which cannot be offset by adding milk or sugar. The correct way is to remove your tea bag at the recommended time so that water, flavour and all other elements are in the right ratio.
P.S. You can adjust your steeping time to tweak the strength of your tea flavour. A longer time makes a stronger brew!
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