In an earlier entry I included tips on selecting green tea from Kevin Moore, Supreme Tea Poobah at O-Cha.com. Kevin was kind enough to provide me with samples of a few of his green teas. I'll be reviewing them soon, but let's just say that my review of the Uji tea bags, the only one I've tried so far, will be very positive.
O-Cha.com includes explicit brewing instructions with shipments and at their Web site. After reading them I've got a better idea of why my green tea infusions have so often been less than impressive.
First on the list - water. I think I've got this one pretty much figured out. I use tap water filtered into a Brita pitcher and chilled. I think I've also got my proportions figured out, for the most part. Moore's instructions call for a heaping teaspoon of green tea per 10 ounces of water.
Temperature is where things start to fall apart and, as Moore notes, "this is where most mistakes are made." I was aware that green tea needs cooler water, but I had a tendency to boil mine and then wait only a few seconds before steeping. No good. As Buster Poindexter would say, "hot, hot, hot."
Another one of my screwups has been in allowing the tea to steep too long. I've been going with the three minutes most tea merchants recommend. Moore suggest two minutes. He also cautions against mixing, stirring or shaking while steeping, which was a new one to me.
There are various other points covered in O-Cha.com's instructions, but these, at least for a knucklehead like me, seem to be the most pertinent. As a matter of fact, using this advice and one of O-Cha.com's Uji tea bags I managed to come up with a killer cup of tea - well, several actually. But more about that in another installment.