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Last Updated on May 26, 2022 by Scott
Green tea is an important element of traditional medicine. It has demonstrated various health benefits, including potential cancer prevention and weight loss acceleration. However, it tends to develop sour flavors when not brewed properly.
If you have tried it and don’t like it or found the flavor unpleasant, chances are you are preparing it wrong. The flavor should be herbaceous, vegetal, grassy, or nutty. It should not be sour. Choosing great green tea leaves and controlling the temperature of the water can make a big difference. The following tips will help you make your green tea taste better.
How to Make Green Tea Taste Good
1. Buy High-Quality Green Teas
Many new drinkers like buying tea bags because they are easy to use. They also offer easy ways to cleanup and brewing times. However, bags do not deliver true flavor because they do not contain good tea leaves.
Instead, they contain broken leaves that do not provide the flavor of good teas or healthy components like L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid that promotes relaxation without drowsiness. Additionally, bags are too small to enable the leaves to expand fully and infuse flavor. This results in teas that are sour.
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 how good the leaves are determine the flavor of your tea.
Tea will feel better or 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 have a better flavor or different compared to those grown along the coastal plateaus. Keep in mind that great 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 teas will be an ideal choice if you prefer sweet or vegetal flavors. These are steamed and not roasted.
If you can’t resist bags, then look for big sachets. These are big pouches with full leaves and adequate room to allow them to unfurl and infuse flavor when you add the tea bags.
2. Select Better Powders, Leaves, and Tea Bags
To make delicious green tea you need:
- Tea Bags
- Loose Leaves
Though bags are convenient, they tend to be cheap. In most cases, bags are usually stuffed with fannings of leaves and dust. These broken leaves can develop more sour flavors than powders or leaves.
Green tea bags can be recycled, however. You need to be careful with steeping times (2-3 minutes). Follow the green tea brewing instructions written on the teabag. Remove immediately from heat after the steeping is over. This is usually 2 minutes to 3 minutes.
Loose Leaf Teas
Good loose leaf teas tend to be less sour compared to bags. This is because loose leaf green tea contains whole green leaf, which packs in the better flavor and health benefits of tea.
These types of teas require room for expanding so they can release flavor. To prepare loose leaf tea, put the 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 green tea latte. Matcha is manufactured by grinding leaves into a powder.
This green tea has many health benefits. Drinkers consume the entire leaves instead of removing them and only drinking the infused water. Matcha’s flavor is more earthy compared to other types of green teas and does not turn sour.
3. Prepare an Infusion
Try making flavored tea, especially if you are struggling to enjoy the flavor of green tea. To make a flavored one, use bases such as green tea, oolong tea, white tea, or black tea. The tea base is usually blended with spices, herbal tea, and flowers for fuller flavor.
You can prepare your own herbal tea blends by adding a few dried or fresh flower blossoms to your tea. 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 ones. You can brew green tea infused with fruits as cool or hot tea.
Generally, cool are milder than hot green teas. They can also make a great starting point for many people who are used to better green tea flavors.
4. Watch Water Temperature
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 sour. On the other hand, cold temperatures 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 to get to the right temperature. Let it sit for 2 minutes before steeping the tea.
5. Brew Tea Briefly
This is where most people mess up because they tend to steep their tea for a long period. The result is usually a sour brew that is unpleasant to consume. Like cooking, steeping green tea requires you to pay attention. The 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, check the flavor you like since tea becomes sour 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 sour flavor of your pure green tea. However, it is important to note that some sugars are better than others when it comes to flavoring. For instance, you can add honey which 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 sugar 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 along with the green tea and counteract the bold flavor is stevia.
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 adding milk might work well with green tea in lessening the strong flavor of black tea, it should not be used when steeping green tea.
Like white tea, green is also a delicate tea. Milk should be avoided because it can overpower the green tea flavor profile.
7. Flavoring Add-Ins
Many people do not like the grassy or the earthy flavor of the green tea. Fortunately, you can use a few flavorings for making green tea taste better. You can add lemon slices, lemon peel or fresh lemon juice to even out any sour flavors if you have brewed your tea for a long period.
Lemons help counteract the sour 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 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 sour 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, 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
For refreshing flavors, add some fresh mint leaves. These provide a refreshing finish and offer a smooth flavor. The crisp taste helps lessen any sour flavors. Add two or three fresh mint leaves to every cup of tea. Steep with boiling water then remove them before consuming your tea.
10. Consume it Cold
If you don’t want to brew a hot cup of tea, make a mug of cool green tea with this brew method. This version of green tea is simply watered down compared to hot brews and is also refreshing. Steep the green tea as you would do for a hot cup of tea.
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 Leaves
Generally, the right ratio is six ounces of water to two grams of leaves. However, you can tweak the ratios depending on your taste. More leaves will result in a distinctive taste
Why Is Green Tea Bitter?
Green tea can taste bitter due to many reasons including:
- Incorrect water
- Wrong temperature and steeping time
- Poor green tea
Using Incorrect Water
One reason that makes green tea sour is using the wrong water. Distilled and tap water do not develop tea undertones properly. Existing chemicals and minerals 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 Temperature and Time
These two elements can cause sour flavors. Steeping at high temperatures can result in bitterness due to the polyphenols that are released at a fast rate. Brewing the tea for a long time also causes sour flavors.
Poor Quality Tea Leaves
Cheap leaves can also result in bad flavors. Loose leaves give better flavors compared to tea bags. This type of green tea contains fannings and dust which are likely to impart bitter flavors. Opt for loose leaf brands if you desire to consume something with sweeter flavors.
The solution is to follow brewing green tea methods correctly that will ensure a better flavor. More so, it is an excellent base so you can lessen the bitter undertones by adding sweeteners.
Green Tea Flavors
The flavors can differ depending on the green tea you choose, and also whether you consume green tea cold or hot. 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. It 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 green tea taste better, like other herbaceous and vegetal types which make it perfect for mixing new flavors as it can be used as a base.
You won’t have a hard time improving the flavor of green tea. Choose good tea leaves to brew delicious teas then check the brewing green tea temperature. If that does not enhance the flavor, try some of the add-ins we have mentioned above to even out unpleasant notes and sweeten the flavor in your drink.
Follow these guidelines whenever you want to make yourself a cup to steep sweet teas all the time. Do not settle for bitter flavor!
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.