If you are going to drink green tea you want to drink it properly. The Japanese have a whole tea ceremony which can take up to four hours! The Japanese actually go to special classes to learn how to do this ritual correctly.
However you don’t have to learn the Japanese Tea Ceremony in order to drink green tea! Which is just as well as most people don’t have that much time to dedicate to tea ceremonies (outside of Japan of course) before drinking their tea.
There are lots of different green teas available, so buy small quantities of different green teas and experiment. Why not try a plain green tea for everyday and perhaps have a green tea with jasmine, which gives a very delicate flavor, for special occasions.
If you plan to drink green tea regularly you might like to get some special cups to enjoy your tea better. Japanese and Chinese teacups or bowls are ideal for green tea, and you can buy a nice teapot with matching tea bowls in your local Asian market. These types of tea cups only hold a small quantity of tea, and are usually made of porcelain. Or you might prefer a larger English china teacup and saucer so you can use it for black tea as well. The Koreans use special green glazed teacups and matching saucers that come with a ceramic tea strainer and a lid so that you don’t have to have a teapot. With this type of cup you put the leaves in the strainer, add boiling water and leave the tea to infuse with the lid on the cup. When the tea has infused for long enough you remove both the lid and the strainer and put them together and then drink your tea, leaf free.
Green tea comes in both leaves and teabags but if you really want to enjoy your green tea it’s best to use tea leaves. To infuse tea leaves properly you really need a teapot, unless you are using the Korean style teacups. It is important to warm the pot with hot water for a minute or two, which you then throw away, before putting in your tea leaves. This is especially true if you use a porcelain teapot as the pot might break if you put boiling water in it when it is cold.
Making Green Tea Having chosen your tea, cup and teapot, you now need to make the tea. After warming the pot, put in one teaspoon of tea per person. Fill the teapot about 3/4 full with boiling water and leave the tea to infuse (steep) for about 5 minutes. It is important that the water is boiling otherwise it won’t make a proper infusion. As you get familiar with how you like your tea, you can adjust the amount of tea and the length of time you leave it to infuse. The more tea leaves you use and the longer you leave the tea, the stronger your tea will be. With green tea you can always add extra hot water if you want another cup or you prefer a weaker cup of tea. Don’t forget to use a tea-strainer when you pour out your tea to catch the leaves.
Drinking Your Tea Green tea is usually drunk plain without milk or sugar, although you can add a bit of sugar or honey if you must, but definitely no milk or lemon.
Sip your tea slowly and enjoy.