Green Tea Brewing

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 by B. Fuller's M&P

Lovely, broad leafed Dragonwell Green Tea

Green tea- what many tea drinkers consider to be the cleanest and most pure form of Camellia sinensis. The appellation “Green” refers to the level of processing that the leaves have received, with very minimal oxidation, resulting in finished leaves that show a green color. This shade of green can range from deep, dark hue to a pale green in some types.

When brewing a cup of green tea, the important factors to remember are that steep time and temperature should be considerably lower than with more fully oxidized (Oolong, black and Pue-er) teas. Flavor and sweetness in green tea is determined by a variety of amino acids and natural sugars. Bitterness and astringency are contributed by polyphenols (“tannins”) which  dissolve at 176°F (80°C). Amino acids dissolve at 140°F (60 °C). The goal is thus to brew the tea in such a way that we dissolve and “capture” the sweetness provided by the Amino acids and sugars without letting to many of the tannins in to overpower the infusion.

In order to get your temperature into the right zone, we recommend bringing your water to just before full boil, then pouring it into a Pyrex measuring cup (or similar heat resistant vessel made for pouring) and placing a thermometer into the water. It should take 2-3 minutes for the water to lower to approximately 170°F, a full 5 minutes to reach 140°F. It is between these two ranges that we recommend you begin experiment with how you like your green tea brewed.

Starting with a lighter green, like our Yun-Wu Cloudmist Organic Green from China, you can try a lower temperature, and a steeping time for the first pass of around 2 minutes. The sweetness of the Yun-Wu should be present, and if you like a slightly more citrus sensation, you can try steeping longer or using a little more higher temperature of water, which will increase the amount of perceived astringency due to a higher level of tannins in the resulting infusion.

With a bigger, deeper green, like our Dragonwell, you might try a higher temperature to start with, and see how the umami and herbaceous flavors change as you lower temperature. Ultimately, you are the scientist here- using temperature and steep time to find the sweet spot that you like best for the green tea you are enjoying.

Happy steeping!