How to brew the perfect green tea

I've historically hated coffee (although that is changing).  Instead, I've usually opted for tea, and green tea more specifically.  But I never really knew how to make a good cup of tea until a few years ago.

I still remember the day I walked into a particular tea store for the first time.  Looking around, all the strange scents and aromas bought a pleasant and warm feel to the place, even though it made me feel like a hipster.  Speaking of hipsters, the sales guy was definitely one, with well-oiled beard that had been groomed to provide a casual-edgy sort of look.  He was talking to customers and drinking from a pint-sized tea cup.

"Can I help you?" he asked.

"Yes.  I like drinking tea but know nothing much else about it.  Can you help me?"

"Sure bro", he replied, "Let's begin at the beginning."

He proceeded to teach me that:

  • Ice tea is a completely different product to hot tea.
  • Black tea is best steeped at 90 degrees celsius.
  • Green tea is best steeped at 70-80 degrees celsius.
  • Green tea steeped at a temperature higher than this will burn the tea leaves, resulting in a bitter taste.
  • That the easiest way to get a nice cup of tea without buying the whole tea pot set is to buy an infuser and tea leaves for use with a cup.
"In order to get the temperature right, the easiest way is to boil water in a kettle and to fill your cup with 20-30% cold water before adding the boiling water and the infuser carrying the tea leaves.  Then let it steep for about a minute.  If you want to reduce the caffeine, you can throw out the first steep and repeat the process."

And that is how I have made my tea ever since.

How do you make your favourite cup of tea?

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