Brewing styles change for almost every tea. So I will be including a brewing section in every type of tea. For the beginners I will have an initial post sometime in the future, but it is really important to understand that brewing parameters change with the situation.
Flavor Profiles of Green Tea
*Flavor profiles are difficult for me to explain. I can’t get over the feeling that everyone tastes differently, based on past experiences or lack of exposure to certain tastes.*
Brewing green tea can be somewhat difficult compared to other teas. We have to know what flavors we are aiming to get out of the first brews. Green tea generally gives a nutty smell and taste. Almonds are considered the ideal flavor for green tea by some. This nutty taste has been used as a high quality indicator by most experienced drinkers. In my experience, the taste and smell of green tea changes as it moves from west to east, Yunnan to Japan. As noted in my previous posts, green tea produced in Yunnan tends to be a lot stronger than the ones made in the east. So as a general rule as tea moves towards East China, it tends to become lighter in taste. This can also be related to production areas. As production areas move closer and closer to coastal lines, a more fishy taste comes out of the tea.
Green Tea Brewing
Brewing green tea can be somewhat difficult compared to other teas. If brewed correctly it will produce a very nice and light flavor, but if over brewed just a little, it could turn out sour and unpleasant.
Amount of Tea
3 grams is a standard when starting out with a regular gaiwan. Once you learn a little more you will be able to adjust to your tools. The biggest thing is to watch the amount of leaves and adjust as necessary. Too many leaves could result in an unfavorable taste initially.
Use lighter wares for green teas. Green tea is a lighter tea and people look for aromas a bit more in green tea. Lighter wares carry the more delicate aromas better. In addition, lighter wares do not hold heat for long, so there will be less of a chance to over brew the tea.
Casual brewing or grandpa style tea is usually made in a mug or tempered glass, something very relaxed. This is also one of the traditional styles of brewing. The brewer is simply trying to enjoy the tea with minimal effort. I see this a lot with Longjing tea. When brewing green tea you can either put the water in first or after you put the tea in the vessel. The fun thing about Longjing green tea is that it will stand up and then lay down when it is fully extracted. You can see this method in the YouTube video below:
Fun video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kff7OxaWhM
My tea masters says high quality green tea should be able to withstand 100 degree Celsius temperature and still produce a welcoming taste. I completely agree with him when it comes to determining quality. People adjust temperature to produce a better end result and make the tea more appealing. This can cover up all the not so good qualities that may come out in not so good tea. With that said, adjusting the temperature is all part of the skill of brewing. It is what makes Gong Fu Cha.
It is very hard to find green tea that can withstand high temperature water. The biggest challenge when brewing green tea is the temperature of the water used in the first few brews. A lot of sources say that the best temperature to brew green tea is around 65 degrees Celsius. For the second and third brews, you can use slightly warmer water. Green tea usually only lasts four or five brews.