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Green tea is an important element of traditional medicine. The tea has demonstrated various health benefits, including potential cancer prevention and weight loss acceleration. However, green tea tends to develop bitter flavors when not brewed properly.
If you have tried the tea and found the flavor unpleasant, chances are you are preparing it wrong. The taste should be herbaceous, vegetal, grassy, or nutty. It should not be bitter. Choosing high-quality leaves and controlling water temperature can make a big difference. The following tips will help you make your green tea taste good.
- How to Make Green Tea Taste Good
- 1. Buy High-Quality Green Teas
- 2. Select Better Powders, Loose Leaves, and Tea Bags
- To make delicious green tea you need:
- 3. Prepare an Herbal Infusion
- 4. Watch Water Temperature
- 5. Brew Briefly
- 6. Add Sweeteners
- 7. Flavoring Add-Ins
- 8. Use Spices
- 9. Add Mint Leaves
- 10. Consume it Cold
- 11. Use the Correct Amount of Tea Leaves
- Why Does Green Tea Taste Bitter?
- Green Tea Flavors
- Wrap Up
How to Make Green Tea Taste Good
1. Buy High-Quality Green Teas
Many new tea drinkers like buying green tea bags because they are easy to use. They also offer easy cleanup and brewing times. However, tea bags do not deliver true flavor because they do not contain quality tea leaves.
Instead, they contain broken tea leaves that do not provide the flavor of quality teas or the healthy components. Additionally, tea bags are too small to enable the leaves to expand fully and infuse flavor. This results in teas that are bitter.
Therefore, opt for loose leaf teas from a reputable store. They contain all the flavorful and healthy compounds of the leaves. It is important to mention that the quality of tea leaves determines the flavor of your green tea.
Tea can also taste different depending on climate, the nutritional content of the soil, and where it was grown. For instance, teas cultivated near the Himalayas at high altitudes will taste different compared to those grown along the coastal plateaus. Keep in mind that quality green teas are grown in Japan and China.
Opt for Chinese teas if you like toasted flavors. These leaves are roasted to produce a smokier flavor. Japanese green teas will be an ideal choice if you prefer sweet or vegetal flavors. These are steamed and not roasted.
If you can’t resist tea bags, then look for big tea sachets. These are big pouches with full tea leaves and adequate room to allow them to unfurl and infuse flavor.
2. Select Better Powders, Loose Leaves, and Tea Bags
To make delicious green tea you need:
- Tea Bags
- Loose Leaves
Though tea bags are convenient, they tend to be of poor quality. In most cases, tea bags are usually stuffed with fannings of tea leaves and dust. These broken leaves can develop more bitter flavors than tea powders or loose leaves.
Green tea bags can be recycled however. You need to pay attention to steeping times. Follow the brewing instructions written on the tea bag. Remove immediately from heat after the steeping time is over. This is usually two to three minutes.
Loose Leaf Teas
High-quality loose leaf teas tend to be less bitter compared to tea bags. This is because loose leaf teas contain whole green leaf, which packs in the flavor and health benefits.
These types of teas require room for expanding so they can release flavor. To prepare loose leaf tea, put the tea leaves in a kettle or cup of boiling water then strain before serving.
Tea infusers such as large sachets or tea balls can also be used for easier removal of the leaves. For every 8 ounces of water, use one teaspoon of loose leaf and steep for a maximum of 4 minutes.
Powdered green tea is referred to as matcha green tea. This is very popular in Japan. It is commonly brewed in the United States as a latte. Matcha green tea is manufactured by grinding tea leaves into a powder.
This green tea has many health benefits. Tea drinkers consume the entire tea leaves instead of removing them and only drinking the infused water. Matcha tea’s flavor is more earthy compared to other types of green teas and does not turn bitter.
3. Prepare an Herbal Infusion
Try making flavored tea, especially if you are struggling to enjoy the flavor of green tea. To make a flavored tea, use tea bases such as green tea, oolong tea, white tea, or black tea. The tea base is usually blended with spices, herbal teas, and flowers for fuller flavor.
You can prepare your own blends by adding a few dried or fresh flower blossoms to your tea leaves. The most common tea blends include lavender green tea and jasmine green tea. You can also infuse rose petals or fresh chamomile from your garden to make your own.
Flavored green teas can also be found at your favorite tea shop or grocery store. Other common alternatives include infusing green tea with fruits. The flavor of these fruit teas tends to be more vibrant and sweeter than standard green teas. Green teas infused with fruits can be brewed as hot tea or iced tea.
Generally, iced green tea tastes milder than hot green teas. They can also make a great starting point for people who are used to green tea flavors.
4. Watch Water Temperature
Water temperature is an important aspect of steeping a good cup of green tea. Teas that brew in water that is too hot or for a long period tend to turn bitter. On the other hand, cold water results in weaker teas with little flavor.
Green tea should be steeped at temperatures between 150 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Chinese green teas should be brewed between 170 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit because they are hardier. Japanese teas should be steeped at lower temperatures between 150 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
To control water temperature, use a tea kettle equipped with built-in temperature controls. In case you do not have this, use a stovetop to boil water then remove from heat after boiling. Allow it to sit for one or two minutes before steeping the tea.
5. Brew Briefly
This is where most people mess up because they tend to steep their tea for a long period. The result is usually a bitter brew that is unpleasant to consume. Like cooking, steeping green tea requires you to pay attention. The tea leaves are delicate and can end up burning the way foods do.
Green tea should be brewed for two minutes and no more. Start by steeping a new blend of green tea for one minute. After every 30 seconds, taste to check the flavor you like since tea becomes bitter when steeped for too long. Steep the tea for short period if you like light flavors.
6. Add Sweeteners
Adding certain sugars will help reduce the bitter flavor of your green tea. However, it is important to note that some sugars are better than others when it comes to flavoring. For instance, honey is an excellent choice because it dissolves in hot water easily. It provides a natural choice for consumers who are health conscious.
Granulated sugar should be avoided as it does not dissolve in lower temperatures well. It can also stick to the bottom of your cup. Another natural choice you can use to add sweetness and counteract the green tea bold flavor is stevia leaves.
Just add a maximum of two leaves to your kettle or cup and steep along with your green tea. Remember to remove before serving. Though milk works well in lessening the strong flavor of black tea, it should not be used when steeping green tea.
Like white tea, green tea is also delicate. Milk should be avoided because it can overpower the flavor profile of green tea.
7. Flavoring Add-Ins
Some people do not like the grassy or the earthy flavor of the green tea. Fortunately, you can use a few flavorings to make your tea taste good. You can add lemon slices or fresh lemon juice to even out any bitter flavors if you have brewed your tea for a long period.
Lemons help counteract the bitter notes while increasing the fragrance of your tea. You can also use other fruit to add sweetness. Popular alternatives include green apples, peaches, and oranges. Muddle these fruits to make fruit teas before blending with your green tea.
Also, adding a stevia leaf, raw sugar, or a bit of honey can help add some sweetness to the earthy undertone.
8. Use Spices
Spices can help soften any bitter notes and add new flavors in green tea blends. The most common spices for green tea include cardamom, cinnamon, and fresh ginger. Apart from ginger delivering a subtle flavor to green teas, it also provides digestive health benefits.
Cinnamon sticks offer a spicy kick while adding some sweetness. On the other hand, cardamom adds a citrusy flavor to green tea.
9. Add Mint Leaves
For refreshing flavors, add some fresh mint leaves. The leaves provide a refreshing finish and offer a smooth flavor. The crisp taste helps lessen any bitter flavors in the tea leaves. Add two or three fresh mint leaves to every cup of green tea. Steep with boiling water then remove the leaves before consuming your tea.
10. Consume it Cold
Instead of brewing a hot cup of green tea, make a mug of iced tea. Iced green tea is watered down compared to hot brews and is also refreshing. Steep the cold green tea as you would do for a hot cup.
Allow the tea to cool to room temperature before keeping it in the refrigerator for a while. Garnish with a lemon then serve with ice cubes.
11. Use the Correct Amount of Tea Leaves
Generally, the right ratio is six ounces of water to two grams of tea leaves. However, you can tweak the ratios depending on your taste. More tea leaves will result in a distinctive taste
Why Does Green Tea Taste Bitter?
Green tea can taste bitter due to many reasons including:
- Incorrect water
- Wrong steeping time and temperature
- Poor quality green tea
Using Incorrect Water
One reason that makes green tea taste bitter is using the wrong water. Distilled water and tap water do not develop tea undertones properly. Chemicals and minerals present in tap water can end up reacting with green tea chemical compounds and change the taste to sour.
Distilled water results in weaker teas because it does not release flavor. Thus, we recommend using spring, filtered, and pure water when preparing your tea.
Wrong Steeping Time and Temperature
These two elements can cause bitter green teas. Green teas steeped at high temperatures turn bitter due to the polyphenols that are released at a fast rate. Brewing green tea for a long time also causes bitter flavors.
Poor Quality Green Tea Leaves
Low quality leaves can also result in bad flavors. Loose tea leaves give better flavors compared to tea bags. The tea bags contain fannings and dust which are likely to impart bitter flavors due to poor quality. Opt for loose leaf teas if you desire to consume green teas with sweet flavors.
The solution is to follow brewing methods correctly that will ensure your tea tastes good. More so, green tea is an excellent base tea so you can lessen the bitter undertones by adding sweeteners.
Green Tea Flavors
The flavors of green tea can differ depending on the green tea you choose. For instance, Japanese green teas are usually steamed to impart a slightly nutty undertone with a vegetal taste.
One of the best tasting and most common green tea is the Japanese matcha. The tea has a full-bodied taste and a rich creamy texture. It’s usually taken as a matcha latte with the addition of frothed or steamed milk.
Matcha tea tastes like other herbaceous and vegetal teas which make it perfect for mixing new flavors as it can be used as a base tea.
It is not difficult to make green tea taste good. Choose quality tea leaves to brew delicious teas then check the brewing temperature. If that does not enhance the flavor of your green tea, try some of the add-ins we have mentioned above to even out unpleasant notes and sweeten the flavor.
Follow these guidelines whenever you want to make yourself a cup of green tea to steep sweet teas all the time. Do not settle for bitter tea!