As far as popular beverages are concerned, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a more popular drink than a delicious warm cup of tea. Tea comes in an array of different varieties, yet as far as popularity is concerned, green tea is most certainly one of the obvious choices. Green tea, not surprisingly, gets its name due to the colour of the leaves of the plant which are, amazingly, green! It has been consumed for literally thousands upon thousands of years, and it first originated in China. The story goes that one day, an ancient Chinese emperor and his men had set up camp out in the countryside, and it just so happened that they were camped under a tea tree. Whilst boiling water over an open fire, it’s thought that some of the tea leaves fell from the tree and landed in the water where they continued to stew. The emperor drank the water, not realising, and loved the taste. The popularity of the leaves quickly began to catch on. Not only was it used as a beverage, it was also used as an ancient Chinese medicine ingredient because of its many health properties. Nowadays it’s considered an extremely healthy and tasty ingredient because it’s packed full of antioxidants, which help boost immunity, promote weight loss, and protect against illness and disease such as cancer. Here we’ll be taking a look at how to drink green tea to benefit not only from the best taste, but also the various health benefits as well.
Brew at a lower temperature
If you’re wondering how to drink green tea, one of the first things you’ll need to focus on is the fact that the tea must be brewed at a lower temperature than other teas, I.E not boiled. If the water is too hot, the tea will become bitter and will lose some its antioxidant properties, yet if it’s too cold, you won’t be able to extract all of the flavour. Ideally you want to brew the tea at between 140 degrees F (60 degrees Celsius) and 176 degrees F (80 degrees Celsius). This will allow the tea to retain much of its nutrients, along with a sweet aroma and flavour, rather than becoming bitter and overpowering.
Go with fresh leaves rather than tea bags
For a true cup of green tea, you’ll want to give tea bags a miss if you can and go directly for fresh green tea leaves instead. This allows you to pour your hot water right on top of the leaves so you can instantly begin extracting their taste/nutrients. Tea bags tend to reduce how impressive the chemical reaction is when the leaves come into contact with warm water, so removing the bags enhances the taste and nutritional value of the leaves.
Heat your water separately
Some people make the mistake of heating their water up with the tea leaves in the same pan as the water, so the leaves warm and cook as the water begins to come to temperature. This again ruins the taste and destroys many of the potent polyphenols and antioxidants that make the tea so healthy. Instead, you should heat your water separately, and then when it has reached temperature, pour it directly over the fresh tea leaves in a separate cup.
Steep for just the right amount of time
After pouring the water over the leaves, you should allow the leaves to steep before consuming the drink. This is where a true cup of green tea is decided as steeping too long will make the beverage too bitter and overpowering, yet steeping for too short a period of time will make it weak and tasteless. Ideally you should experiment steeping the leaves for between 2 – 4 minutes (or possibly longer if you’d like it a bit bitter).
So there you have it, just a few handy tips on how to drink green tea correctly so as to benefit not only from taste, but from the nutrient content as well. There are many different varieties of green tea currently available, so why not experiment until you find a few favourites?