Green tea refers both to the widely enjoyed infusion made by steeping green tea leaves in hot water, and the leaves themselves.
Green tea leaves
- Green tea leaves, like black tea leaves, are from the Camellia sinensis shrub. What makes them green is what happens after they are plucked.
- Unlike with black tea, green tea leaves are heated soon after harvesting to stop them oxidising – a natural reaction that causes browning once picked (just like a slice of avocado exposed to the air). Their green colour, along with many of their health-promoting compounds, is thereby preserved.
Green tea infusion
- As for the hot drink itself, green tea can have an almost infinite variety of flavours and aromas. The qualities of this remarkable drink depend on a number of factors, such as brewing time and water purity; none so important as the tea leaves themselves.
- While some believe they do not like the taste of green tea, this is often because they have experienced poor-quality leaves, brewed too long and/or at too high a temperature.
- Rich in antioxidants and other bioactive compounds, green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
- Contrary to popular belief, it does contain caffeine, though generally less than black teas.
One of the wonderful qualities of green tea is that you are in control of the final taste. A number of factors can influence flavour, from water purity to steeping time. Here are some basic principles to help you get the best out of your Dragonfly Green Tea.
- Fresh water makes better-tasting tea, so avoid re-boiling and start with an empty kettle to heat your water.
- Use filtered water if possible. Tap water contains minerals that have a naturally bitter flavour and can affect the taste of the tea.
- Delicate green tea leaves don’t like boiling water! Too-hot water scalds the leaves and can cause bitterness. The optimal brewing temperature is 80-85ºC.
- A temperature-controlled kettle or thermometer are ideal, but you can either click your kettle off when it just starts to simmer or leave it to cool for 4-5 minutes after boiling. (Tip: pouring boiled water from one vessel to another will help it cool faster).
How much tea?
- Dragonfly teabags and large leaf tea pyramids contain just the right amount of tea leaves for a mug of tea (about 250ml capacity).
- For loose leaf tea, use 1-2 teaspoons, depending on taste preference and leaf size (in general, you’ll need fewer teaspoons of smaller/more compact tea).
- At Dragonfly, we know that how you like your tea is intensely personal. Whether you weigh your tea, measure it by the spoon or judge it by eye, for green tea that’s consistently perfect for you, we recommend you experiment to find the tea-to-water ratio that you love!
- Whether you bring the tea to the water or vice versa, the next step is to allow time for the subtle flavours and beneficial compounds to release from the tea leaves.
- If your tea is loose leaf or tea pearls, it’s ideal to use a strainer or sieve so you can remove the leaves at the end of the brewing time.
- We recommend an optimal brewing time of 2-4 minutes. Avoid steeping for longer than this to prevent bitterness.
- For tea that’s perfect for you, try tasting the tea after one minute of brewing, then every 30 seconds until it’s as you like it. Remove the teabag or leaves and enjoy!
- For loose leaf teas, a second and sometimes third infusion can reveal new and interesting taste variations.