Green Tea is made from Camellia Sinensis, the same plant that produces Black and Oolong teas. It is picked and processed immediately after it has matured. The leaves are steamed for a few seconds (the length of time depends on the type of green tea) to prevent oxidation and then dried.
Traditional Chinese/Japanese green teas are pan-fried or steamed quickly over high heat at a low temperature (approx. 140° F) to stop the oxidation process before it begins, preserving its delicate flavor and aroma. In contrast, Western teas are fired at a higher temperature (approx. 180° F) to oxidize them more fully, creating a more robust flavor.
Natural Taste of Green Tea
Green tea has a natural grassy flavor. Many people don’t like the taste of it because they are used to more fragrant teas such as Black and Oolong teas. The solution is to use less leaves, or to steep for less time. It has a very mild flavor, so it is very easy to over steep it.
Green tea is also one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. It has the same benefits as other teas, but it also adds an extra antioxidant punch because of the additional steaming process.
How to Make Green Tea Taste Good
Use Less Leaves
The general rule of thumb is two grams of tea per cup. For green tea, a little less than that is usually good. Three grams should be the maximum. Also, if you are using tea bags, the amount of tea inside is less than loose leaf tea.
This will give you a very light, grassy flavor similar to the flavor of a hay field.
Steep for Less Time
The general rule of thumb is to steep your tea for 5-10 seconds per minute of steeping time. For green tea, use 5-6 seconds per minute. This will give you a milder, more delicate flavor than steeped for longer time periods.
If you are steeping your tea in an electric kettle, the heating element can overheat the water and cause it to boil too fast and destroy the delicate flavor of the tea leaves. A better alternative is to use an infuser and place it in a pot or mug with hot water (not boiling) so that the leaves can infuse in the water. This will prevent the leaves from being overheated and losing their delicate flavor.
Use More Water
The higher the quality of tea leaves, the less amount of water you need to steep it in to get a good cup of tea. Two grams of high quality tea will taste better than ten grams of low quality tea regardless of how long it is steeped for and how much water is used.
Add Milk or Lemon
The good thing about green tea is that it is not very strong, so you can add milk or lemon to make it taste sweeter. This will also help to cut down the grassy flavor.
Another way to sweeten your green tea is to add sugar or honey. Try to use less sugar than for other teas because green tea has a more delicate flavor than other teas. Too much sugar can destroy its delicate flavor. Use honey instead of sugar and you will be pleasantly surprised at the subtle flavor nuances that are brought out by the honey.
Use a Good Quality Tea or Tea Bag
The quality of the leaves used in your tea affects its taste greatly. Use a good quality loose leaf tea or a good quality tea bag. An inexpensive tea bag will often be made of low quality leaves and you won’t be able to taste the difference between a good quality tea bag and a bad one.
Use a French Press
If you are using loose leaf tea or a good quality tea bag, you will need to use a French press to make your tea. This will ensure that the leaves get saturated with water and extract all their flavor for your tea. Using an infuser in a pot or mug can work, but it will also let some of the leaves float up and prevent them from being saturated by the water.
Add Fruit or Mint Leaves
Fruit and mint have a strong flavor that can compete with the delicate flavor of green tea. You can add fruit or mint after you’ve taken your cup off the heat so that it does not cook in the hot liquid. You could also add it to cold water or ice cubes so that it infuses the water without destroying the delicate flavor of the leaves.
Drink Green Tea with Food
Green tea is very healthy, so it goes great with many different foods. Green tea goes well with Chinese and Japanese food because they are steamed or stir-fried, and green tea is steamed as well. You can also drink green tea with Indian food because they use lots of spices that complement the grassy flavor of green tea.
Green tea is an acquired taste. It is not as fragrant as other types of tea, and it has a very mild grassy flavor. If you don’t like it the first time you try it, try again and use less leaves, steep for less time, or add milk or lemon to your cup after you’ve taken it off the heat.
Remember that it is a good idea to try some of the different types of green tea to see which one you like best. You can even mix them together in your teapot if you want to have more than one variety in your cup.