Green Tea General Questions

Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

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Sep 22nd 16 4:45 am
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Green Tea General Questions

by VelociTea » Sep 22nd 16 4:45 am

I drink loose leaf Green Tea (Sencha) from DavidsTea and find if I steep it too long it's gets bitter.. But if I do it for less time it's occasionally watery! Sometimes I get it just right.. Could it be the temperature of the water?
I also have no idea how to tell if this tea is even good quality! I do enjoy it, and it is certainly better than the bagged tea I was used to drinking.. But I would hate to be missing out on something more premium.

I would love to hear some tips on how you all make a purfect cup of tea, and some recommendations for a beginner tea drinker of the some your favourite green teas.

Sep 22nd 16 9:31 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by Noonie » Sep 22nd 16 9:31 am

VelociTea wrote:I drink loose leaf Green Tea (Sencha) from DavidsTea and find if I steep it too long it's gets bitter.. But if I do it for less time it's occasionally watery! Sometimes I get it just right.. Could it be the temperature of the water?
I also have no idea how to tell if this tea is even good quality! I do enjoy it, and it is certainly better than the bagged tea I was used to drinking.. But I would hate to be missing out on something more premium.

I would love to hear some tips on how you all make a purfect cup of tea, and some recommendations for a beginner tea drinker of the some your favourite green teas.
David's tea is a good introduction into premium loose tea, though I would say their offering is towards the bottom of the scale, though like you say, it's far better than (most) tea bags.

there are many types of green tea, and the brewing parameters can vary quite a bit.

If, for example, you have Japanese sencha, you could try the following parameters: 2 tsp of tea, water at 70C, first steep for 1:30, 2nd at :30, and the third at 80C for 1:30. If it's "fukamushi" style sencha, I would go hotter water and 1/2 the steep time.

I suggest buying some tea direct from Japan, and you can find info here on recommended vendors (Ocha, Maiko, Hibiki-An...there are others). Start with their lower priced teas, and you can add a nice kyusu and cup if you can afford it!

Sep 22nd 16 2:19 pm
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by Bok » Sep 22nd 16 2:19 pm

VelociTea wrote:But I would hate to be missing out on something more premium.
Premium tea has premium price... all depends on how much you are willing to pay not to miss out :mrgreen:

Generally speaking what makes a cup a good one depends on a lot of factors, below my personal list in descending order

1. Tea leaves. No compromises here, the better the leaf, the less you will be disapointed.

2. Water. No matter how good the tea, if the water is unsuitable for tea, or overheated it will ruin even the best teas.

3. Temperature and time. That requires a lot of experience and experiments. Parameters vary according to personal tastes. Some middle ground is universal though.

4. Not essential, but the proper vessel for a particular tea will go a long way. Cups as well, different shapes and materials fit different purposes. Again a lot of this is personal and or requires a lot of practise.

Good luck and browse around here, lots of knowledge to be found...

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Sep 22nd 16 2:55 pm
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by debunix » Sep 22nd 16 2:55 pm

Green teas took me a long time to figure out, and I'm still figuring them out with every brewing. I am a bitterphobe when it comes to tea, so my goal is always to maximize the other flavors--the vegetal, the floral, spicy, nutty, whatever it is that I find particularly appealing about that tea.

The key for me was realizing that I didn't have to start with such hot water--that many greens are delightful started as low as 160 degrees F; with more confidence and shorter steeping times, I sometimes start them a bit hotter (180 or 190 to 'waken' the leaves, with a flash infusion, then go back to the 160s or 170s to start again with longer infusions. When brewing several infusions with the same leaves, it usually works better to shorten the 2nd infusion and then lengthen again with the 3rd infusion, because the 2nd time the leaves are already wetted and perhaps they're still steeping a bit in the water that clings to them after the first infusion. And 3rd infusion on, I increase the water temperature (very easy with my electric kettle, just enter the new temp, wait a bit, and then brew on). Lastly, if an infusion is too strong, it's fine to dilute it with plain hot or sometimes cool water, to see if I can find a happy spot where the tea is still pleasing--so unless I'm quite confident in my parameters for a particular green tea, I'll use cups large enough to hold double the volume of my brewing vessel, just in case.

Friendly green teas to explore?

Tai Ping Hou Kui; Long Jing or Dragonwell; Mao Feng; Jasmine Pearls; Asamushi (lighter-steamed) sencha. An Ji Bai Cha is sometimes listed with the green teas and sometimes with the white teas, and is very forgiving with variable brewing.

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Sep 23rd 16 3:24 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by VelociTea » Sep 23rd 16 3:24 am

debunix wrote:Green teas took me a long time to figure out, and I'm still figuring them out with every brewing. I am a bitterphobe when it comes to tea, so my goal is always to maximize the other flavors--the vegetal, the floral, spicy, nutty, whatever it is that I find particularly appealing about that tea.

The key for me was realizing that I didn't have to start with such hot water--that many greens are delightful started as low as 160 degrees F; with more confidence and shorter steeping times, I sometimes start them a bit hotter (180 or 190 to 'waken' the leaves, with a flash infusion, then go back to the 160s or 170s to start again with longer infusions. When brewing several infusions with the same leaves, it usually works better to shorten the 2nd infusion and then lengthen again with the 3rd infusion, because the 2nd time the leaves are already wetted and perhaps they're still steeping a bit in the water that clings to them after the first infusion. And 3rd infusion on, I increase the water temperature (very easy with my electric kettle, just enter the new temp, wait a bit, and then brew on). Lastly, if an infusion is too strong, it's fine to dilute it with plain hot or sometimes cool water, to see if I can find a happy spot where the tea is still pleasing--so unless I'm quite confident in my parameters for a particular green tea, I'll use cups large enough to hold double the volume of my brewing vessel, just in case.

Friendly green teas to explore?

Tai Ping Hou Kui; Long Jing or Dragonwell; Mao Feng; Jasmine Pearls; Asamushi (lighter-steamed) sencha. An Ji Bai Cha is sometimes listed with the green teas and sometimes with the white teas, and is very forgiving with variable brewing.
I can brew the same leaves several times? :shock: Wow, I must've been wasting a lot of tea. I use disposable tea bags that I fill with loose leaf.. Is this not ideal? I notice a lot of people putting the leaves directly in the pot.

Regarding temperature.. I just use a basic stovetop glass kettle. Would you recommend I purchase an electric one to determine specific temperature or do they sell some sort of special thermometer? Is this even necessary? When I make green tea, I bring the water to a boil and then let it sit for at least a minute before steeping.

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Sep 23rd 16 3:29 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by VelociTea » Sep 23rd 16 3:29 am

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions everyone.. I really appreciate it. :D There's is certainly a wealth of information on this site I will try to browse. So many topics.. So little time.. Such a wide variety of different types of green tea I never knew existed before. I honestly don't know where to start.

I think I'll start by trying some teas direct from Japan.. Does anyone here have any experience with Hibiki-an? They have a nice organic tea sampler I was interested in trying with Sencha Superior, Genmaicha Matcha-iri and Houjicha.

Sep 23rd 16 4:35 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by Bok » Sep 23rd 16 4:35 am

VelociTea wrote: I can brew the same leaves several times? :shock: Wow, I must've been wasting a lot of tea. I use disposable tea bags that I fill with loose leaf.. Is this not ideal? I notice a lot of people putting the leaves directly in the pot.
Unless you like the taste of the teabag material :lol: Always directly into the pot. Any container will also restrict the freedom of movement of your leaves > the flavour development. Only better quality tea can be brewed several times, green tea not as many as Oolongs, Black and Puerh.
VelociTea wrote: Regarding temperature.. I just use a basic stovetop glass kettle. Would you recommend I purchase an electric one to determine specific temperature or do they sell some sort of special thermometer? Is this even necessary? When I make green tea, I bring the water to a boil and then let it sit for at least a minute before steeping.
Then your water is basically dead. Once it has boiled all the good stuff is out. Which in turns ruins your tea.

You do not need a thermometer, you can do it by listening and or watching the water.
I do it visually. First small bubbles, then medium then larger ones until full boil.
Chinese call them pearl strings, crab eyes, fish eyes and dragon water. For green, crab eye is enough. Alteratively wait, or first pour the water in an intermediate container. Also pour not directly into the middle bit from the sides from a low height.

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Sep 23rd 16 4:43 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by pizzapotamus » Sep 23rd 16 4:43 am

VelociTea wrote:
I can brew the same leaves several times? :shock: Wow, I must've been wasting a lot of tea. I use disposable tea bags that I fill with loose leaf.. Is this not ideal? I notice a lot of people putting the leaves directly in the pot.

Regarding temperature.. I just use a basic stovetop glass kettle. Would you recommend I purchase an electric one to determine specific temperature or do they sell some sort of special thermometer? Is this even necessary? When I make green tea, I bring the water to a boil and then let it sit for at least a minute before steeping.
Never used those bags but it seems like you'd probably not have as much room for the leaf to expand and "breathe". Currently have a stupidly large selection of Japanese pots that the leaves go directly in, prior to that I used a mesh basket and a normal glass. If the bags work, they work, even though I'm a huge fan of over complicating things you really can get by fairly simply so don't feel like you need to spend out on all sorts of kit.

Being consistent with the temperature would play a large roll in getting consistent results from each brew. This doesn't mean you need a variable temp kettle though, and honestly I'm not a fan given the cost and that they generally only have a few set temps that they handle. I use a thermapen thermometer to check my water temp, although there are much cheaper "instant-read" thermometers out there that will get the job done. One really should have a thermometer for cooking and foodsafety anyways. However if using a thermometer for tea is too fiddly/not zen simply bringing the water to a full boil first, which ensures you're starting with a set temp, and then using a consistent method for cooling would give you a reasonably steady brew temp. Cooling method could either be waiting some amount of time or pouring the water between vessels, be it pot and cup or just cup to cup. I'd go with the pouring, it's faster than simply waiting :) I know some people also like to estimate the temp by how vigorously the water is boiling, shrimp eyes, pearls, raging, etc, and with a glass kettle I suppose it's at least easy for you to observe but that's going to have some variance especially until you're well used to it.

Sep 23rd 16 10:34 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by Noonie » Sep 23rd 16 10:34 am

Temperature of the water and green tea is so important. Many casual tea drinkers do not like green tea because they use boiling water, and this is much too hot. The idea of a tea that isn't piping hot is not appealing to some, but if the tea is lousy...

Curious - where do you line in Canada? I'm outside Toronto...

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Sep 23rd 16 1:41 pm
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by chingwa » Sep 23rd 16 1:41 pm

For green tea I would recommend getting a basic thermometer so you can be sure of the water temperature. As others have mentioned you can let the water come to the just boiling point and then take it off the heat to cool. However in general green tea does better with cooler temps which would be hard to judge by time/feel without an actual measuring device. To get the temp back down to 60 - 65 degrees you'll be waiting much longer than a minute... perhaps 5 or 6 depending on your kettle... but it's best not to guess especially when first starting out.

For more robust tea it's probably fine to just judge based on the boiling characteristics as mentioned above.

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Sep 23rd 16 3:03 pm
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by VelociTea » Sep 23rd 16 3:03 pm

Noonie wrote:Temperature of the water and green tea is so important. Many casual tea drinkers do not like green tea because they use boiling water, and this is much too hot. The idea of a tea that isn't piping hot is not appealing to some, but if the tea is lousy...

Curious - where do you line in Canada? I'm outside Toronto...
That explains a lot.. I did a 2 hour cold steep and it tasted great. I'm beginning to realize the importance of low, accurate temperature with Green Tea, which would explain my frustrations. I will be purchasing a thermometer, any recommendations?

Also, I'm in BC, just outside Vancouver.

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Sep 24th 16 1:15 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by pizzapotamus » Sep 24th 16 1:15 am

VelociTea wrote: That explains a lot.. I did a 2 hour cold steep and it tasted great. I'm beginning to realize the importance of low, accurate temperature with Green Tea, which would explain my frustrations. I will be purchasing a thermometer, any recommendations?
As mentioned I use(and love) a Thermapen thermometer by Thermoworks, which thanks to the influence of an Environmental Health Office I had for cooking before I got into tea. The Thermapen is pretty much the gold standard and is hard to beat for accuracy or responsiveness, however it's also quite expensive at 80usd for the 'classic super-fast' that I currently have and 100usd for the newest mk4 model. I've not used it myself but for a more reasonably priced alternative I've heard good things from multiple sources about the Thermopop thermometer by the same company.

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Sep 24th 16 1:47 am
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by victoria3 » Sep 24th 16 1:47 am

pizzapotamus wrote:
VelociTea wrote: That explains a lot.. I did a 2 hour cold steep and it tasted great. I'm beginning to realize the importance of low, accurate temperature with Green Tea, which would explain my frustrations. I will be purchasing a thermometer, any recommendations?
As mentioned I use(and love) a Thermapen thermometer by Thermoworks, which thanks to the influence of an Environmental Health Office I had for cooking before I got into tea. The Thermapen is pretty much the gold standard and is hard to beat for accuracy or responsiveness, however it's also quite expensive at 80usd for the 'classic super-fast' that I currently have and 100usd for the newest mk4 model. I've not used it myself but for a more reasonably priced alternative I've heard good things from multiple sources about the Thermopop thermometer by the same company.
I still use a thermometer and scale for my Japanese teas and keep a log on all my teas as steeping parameters vary between teas.
An affordable reliable thermometer I have been using for several years now is a Taylor Elite Digital Thermometer. I posted about it here;
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... er#p241390

At Amazon 19.99$ USD
https://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Precision ... B003LXU5EE

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Sep 24th 16 8:56 pm
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by VelociTea » Sep 24th 16 8:56 pm

victoria3 wrote:
pizzapotamus wrote:
VelociTea wrote: That explains a lot.. I did a 2 hour cold steep and it tasted great. I'm beginning to realize the importance of low, accurate temperature with Green Tea, which would explain my frustrations. I will be purchasing a thermometer, any recommendations?
As mentioned I use(and love) a Thermapen thermometer by Thermoworks, which thanks to the influence of an Environmental Health Office I had for cooking before I got into tea. The Thermapen is pretty much the gold standard and is hard to beat for accuracy or responsiveness, however it's also quite expensive at 80usd for the 'classic super-fast' that I currently have and 100usd for the newest mk4 model. I've not used it myself but for a more reasonably priced alternative I've heard good things from multiple sources about the Thermopop thermometer by the same company.
I still use a thermometer and scale for my Japanese teas and keep a log on all my teas as steeping parameters vary between teas.
An affordable reliable thermometer I have been using for several years now is a Taylor Elite Digital Thermometer. I posted about it here;
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... er#p241390

At Amazon 19.99$ USD
https://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Precision ... B003LXU5EE
The Taylor looks nice.. Affordable too.

The Thermopen mk4 is over $130 in Canada.. That is ridiculous! :lol: I don't think I could even bring myself to spend that much on a thermometer.

Thanks everyone!

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Sep 24th 16 10:19 pm
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Re: Green Tea General Questions

by JRS22 » Sep 24th 16 10:19 pm

I started my tea drinking life with an analog thermometer but found that by the time the thermometer registered the temperature it had changed somehow and I just couldn't get consistent results. When Adagio introduced an electric kettle with presets I purchased it and i couldn't voluntarily return to using a thermometer, certainly not for green tea. What I discovered was that I could select the nearest suitable preset and adjust time and procedure based on that. The lowest preset is 150° which is too high for gyokuro so I pour the water into a small pitcher, a yuzamashi (forgive my spelling) and then back and forth into cups a few times to lower the temperature. I get consistent results w/o using a thermometer and going back and forth to the stove. Many people here are happy with the Bonavita gooseneck kettle but I didn't learn about that before buying my Adagio kettle.

As for Hibiki-an, I found that the teas I ordered from them were disappointing. The similar teas I purchased from O-Cha were much better.