It is important to store tea leaves away from air, light, moisture and odors from other foods. It is best in a cool dry place in an opaque and airtight tin. Refrigeration is not recommended.
Each type of tea requires its own unique brewing procedure to draw out its characteristic delicate nuances or strong flavors or even medicinal qualities; and so, we’ll now address the best method of preparing your Green Tea. You already have your tools at the ready (if not, please click back to our main Tea page).
Like Black Tea and Oolong, Green Tea is one of only four true teas (Green, Oolong, Black and White), and all derived from one tea plant – the Camellia sinensis – with many varieties included. It is only the level of oxidation or lack of oxidation that determines the type of Tea. Unlike Black or Oolong Teas – but like its counterpart, White Tea - Green Tea undergoes no oxidation at all. The leaves are steamed or fired to inactivate polyphenol oxidation and then dried. Thus, they retain the high concentrations of catechins, which are present in fresh tea leaves. Green Tea is high in polyphenols that are said to possess potent antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties, and the specific catechin in the polyphenols, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is said to be over two-hundred-times more powerful than the known antioxidant, vitamin E, in neutralizing free radicals. The strong, grassy vegetal notes that typify Green Tea are closer to tasting like fresh leaves or grass than Black or Oolong Teas and are also lower in caffeine content with higher antioxidant properties and are thus preferred for their health-giving properties. Read more about the differences in caffeine content among different teas.
Green Tea is made from more mature tea leaves than White, and may be withered prior to steaming or firing. After the leaves are plucked, they are (sometimes) laid out to wither for about eight to twenty-four hours. This allows most of the water to evaporate. Then, in order to neutralize the enzymes and prevent oxidation, the leaves are steamed or pan-fried. Some varieties are not even withered, but are simply harvested and fired. Next, the leaves are rolled up in various ways and tightness. After that, a final drying takes place. Since no oxidation took place, the Tea has more of a green appearance. From there, it goes off to be sorted, graded and packaged. Green Tea is mostly consumed in Asia and the Middle East. However, because of Green Tea’s rising reputation as an extraordinary health tonic, it is becoming more popular in the West, which traditionally drinks Black Tea. The first shipment of tea to Europe in 1606 by the Dutch East India Company was Green Tea.
The following steps will guide you through the preparation of Green Tea:
Assuming that you have already pre-heated your teapot (or cup), by swirling boiling or nearly boiling water around in the empty pot and then pouring it off, we will now put the proper amount of tea leaves into the pot – using one level teaspoon of tea per eight-ounce cup of water as a guide – although some old-timers like to add an extra spoon or “one for the pot.” It’s all a question of taste.
It is also considered important to brew tea in a vessel that matches the quantity one is preparing. Brewing a single cup in a large teapot will never taste quite right because there is too much room for the heat to dissipate if the pot is only partially filled with hot water; this is the time for a smaller teapot or a covered cup.
Now for the water: When steeping Green Tea, heat the water to steam - but not to the boil. If your water does come to the boil, remove the kettle from the burner and allow it to cool for one minute. When it comes to Green Teas, the key point is not to brew delicate Green with boiling water. Lower temperatures help protect against bitter taste; however, longer steeping will extract more antioxidants in Green Tea. But remember, the longer you steep, the more bitter your tea will be.
Now it’s time to pour the water over the tea and steep your Green Tea for only about two-to-three minutes at 165-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it steep; do not stir. Add more tea leaves to produce a stronger brew. Watch the clock, not the color, as many teas brew to a quite light color. Never reheat your brewed tea.
Finally, it’s time for you to sit down, relax and sip your tea. Delicious? Relaxing? Just what you needed: The Perfect Cup of Tea and You!
These are guidelines for reference only. Experimentation will yield the perfect cup of tea.