A Tale of Two Teas

by Liz on August 27, 2010

(Hey everybody!  I’m back in school for another semester so apologies if the posts are infrequent until I figure out my rhythm. I promise I’m still cooking, but I’m in adjustment mode. Also, this post will be fairly to the point, but it is something I’ve wanted to write about for awhile.)

For the longest time, I thought I didn’t like green tea.  I thought it tasted burned, and it gave me dry-mouth. However, once I learned to make it the right way, my world was changed!  Now let’s change yours.  I decided to make two different green teas to show you that not all tea is the same and that even if you’re convinced you “don’t like green tea”, that you might change your mind!

First, you need some tea.  I used Rishi Tea’s Bancha, and Emerald Lily.

And here’s what it they look like:

Notice the difference between the teas?  Even though they are both green teas?  That just goes to show you how different teas can be from each other.  Also, make note that I am using full-leaf tea, which is the best kind to use.  Most tea that comes in a bag is just bits and pieces, which can also contribute to bitterness and generally a poor tasting cup.

I use plastic filters to put the tea leaves in before I put them in my cup. There are many tea-making devices out there. Feel free to use the one that works best for you!

(Aren’t those the cutest cups? They aren’t really tea cups, but they sure are pretty.)

Let’s get brewing!

Here’s the thing about green tea. Green tea doesn’t like boiling water.  It doesn’t like it at all. As long as you can remember this, you’re golden!  What I like to do is just go ahead and boil the water, and then have a little bit of cold water running or ready to bring the temp of the water down.  Technically, green tea likes water around 180-185 degrees, but I don’t really like to get that technical. As long as it’s hot but not boiling, I assume I’m close.

Now, let the tea steep for about 5 minutes.  Make sure to follow the directions on whatever tea you’re using because steeping times can vary between teas.  I use about 1 tablespoon of tea per 8 ounces of water for green tea.

(The one on the left is Bancha, the one on the right is the Emerald Lily.)

How did these teas taste?  I found the Bancha to taste a lot like something you might get at an Asian restaurant, but better.  It was the kind of tea I would want to drink on a cold morning in the fall or winter.  The Emerald Lily was a bit more floral, and would work well for an iced tea.

I transfered the teas to clear glass so you could see the difference in color between the two:

A couple of notes, since there won’t be a recipe per-se.

1.  Buy good tea.  I can’t say enough about Rishi Teas.  I think they are the best, but basically just try to find full-leaf tea from a respectable store or tea shop.

2.  Follow the directions on the tea, if it comes with any.  Otherwise, for a green tea, remember not to pour boiling water on it, and you’ll be safe.

3.  Use about 1 tablespoon of tea per 8 ounces of water.  Oh, and try to use filtered water!

4. You can reuse your leaves!  Yes, this makes full-leaf tea much more affordable when you factor in being able to reuse your leaves.  Just try to use them again in the same day, but when you make your second cup, let it steep a minute longer than the first time.

5.  You can decaffeinate tea yourself!  Just let the leaves steep about 20 seconds, then dump the water out, and steep according to the instructions, and you will have decaffeinated tea!  There might be a little left, but it won’t be much.

6. Enjoy!  Green tea can taste good!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie @ crunchybetty September 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Ooh. Love all this! (And I adore green tea.)

Y’know, it took me a year of making green tea to learn NOT to steep it for very long. I always thought green tea was just really bitter.

Not so much, when you do it right. Heh.

Love the blog!

Liz September 2, 2010 at 6:50 am

I have definitely had pu-erh tea! It’s pretty intense, but good!

OffTheCuffCooking August 31, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I love loose-leaf tea. Have you ever tried Pu Erh teas? I only just recently got some ginger apricot (I think that’s what it was) pu erh, and it’s quite flavorful! Very intense aromas.

I think I had some vague idea that I wasn’t using the right water temp for my green tea, though. I like the little dragon pearl green tea that unfolds in the hot water- it’s so cool to watch, like a little animated sequence, all ‘zenned out.’ (Ha ha ha. Not like I’m a Buddhist or anything!)

Doug August 29, 2010 at 11:45 pm

in Japan they have green tea Kit Kats.

charity August 28, 2010 at 8:46 am

fun!

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