The Truth About Green Tea

The Truth About Green Tea
Article By: @MayKingTea

As a tea note speaker, I’m often asked many questions about tea and green tea in particular.  Here are some frequently asked questions and my accompanying answers. Make a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy.

Why Does Green Tea Taste Bitter?
Green tea is not supposed to taste bitter but is possibly due to one, some or all of the following:

  1. Tea trapped in a teabag is often made with the lowest grades of tea, known as ‘dust’ or ‘fannings’.  Now don’t worry, dust does not mean the sweepings off the floor, it merely refers to the size of the leaf.  The purpose of a teabag is to generate a quick cup of tea with a notable absence in nuances in aroma and flavour.
  2. It doesn’t matter how much butter and jam you slap on a slice of burnt toast. It will still taste burnt won’t it?  The same goes for a burnt cup of tea. If one makes green tea with boiling water, you will burn it. Use 158-185 degrees F (70- 85 Celsius) water to make green tea.  Don’t have a thermometer?  Once the kettle has boiled, wait a good 3-4 minutes for the water to cool, or coat the bottom of your cup / teapot with cold water as this will instantly bring the temperature down when you add boiling water.
  3. Steeping time is really important.  That is, how long have you left the tea leaves (or teabag) sitting in the cup / teapot?  Many customers have admitted to leaving the green tea teabag in the cup/teapot for some time as the tea generated seemed to be very light in color, and I can fully appreciate this. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?  A good cup of green tea will never turn a coppery red like a black tea, but can give a range of colors from a pale honeydew melon yellow, to a manuka golden honey tone. So don’t steep the tea leaves in the cup/teapot for long; 2-3 minutes is recommended, but do experiment with your tea, as the taste I like in my cup might be too delicate or too robust a flavor for your palate.

I don’t like green tea but I drink it because it’s good for me.
It has often been said that when you are told something often enough then you’re more likely to believe it.  As a lot of health benefit studies have been conducted on green tea, people often jump to the conclusion that green tea is the healthiest.  To be honest the difference in the amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals found in green tea compared to other teas is slight so why waste time sipping a tea you don’t like?  Find a tea that you like and keep drinking it.  You can get your daily source of health benefits by incorporating the sipping of tea into a healthier lifestyle.

Is green tea the best tea for weight loss?
Green tea has a reputation for assisting in weight loss.  This is due to the presence of EGCGs  (epigallocatechin gallate) which are a potent form of antioxidants.  Like Oolong teas though, just drinking tea for weight loss is not enough and you can read more about that here.  Not a green tea fan? Don’t worry as whilst green tea contains EGCGs, these antioxidants are converted into a different type of antioxidants (theaflavins and thearugibins) during the processing of black tea.  so you see, drinking black tea can also give you your daily source of antioxidants.  In fact, any tea derived from the Camellia Sinensis bush can contribute to your daily recommended fluid intake.

Are you sure green tea isn’t bitter? 
There is bitter and there is astringency and the two terms have been used interchangeably albeit incorrectly.  Astringency is a sought-after drying sensation experienced with some green teas due to the presence of tannins.  Imagine sucking on a lemon, your mouth puckers up and you draw in breath.  This is what I liken astringency to be.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but hopefully readers will now be able to appreciate the difference between bitter and astringency.

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