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A Beginner's Guide to Green Tea
Are you new to green tea?
Here is our Beginner’s Guide to Green tea. You will need two basic items to get started...
The right kind of teapot... Many people attempt to make their tea in a western style teapot. Although you can do this if you know exactly what you are doing, you will find it a lot easier if you use a teapot that was designed with green tea in mind. Whatever type you use, the most important thing to keep in mind is that this tea needs room to EXPAND. For that reason, tea balls or paper filters do not work well. Investing in the right type of teapot will save you a lot of trouble down the road, and they will practically last forever. Tokoname teapots are highly recommended!
When it comes to choosing a green tea teapot, first determine what kind of tea you will mostly be drinking - one with larger leaf particles, or one with very tiny leaf particles. Most light steamed green teas (as well as medium steamed teas) have larger leaf particles, while deep steamed green tea (known as Fukamushi-cha in Japanese) which have very small, almost dust-like leaf particles. If you are going to brew mostly deep steamed green tea, you may want to get a special fukamushi teapot just for that type as the tiny leaf particles can become clogged in the filters on many teapots. Generally speaking, you can brew light and medium steamed teas in a teapot that is made for deep steamed green tea, but not the opposite.
A Fresh, High Quality Green Tea
Because of the way it is processed, green tea does not have a long shelf life, much less than other types of tea. Freshness is a very important factor - you do not want a tea which has spent long periods of time on the shelf, in ocean transit, or in a warehouse. Simply put, old green tea does not stay green and does not taste good. The typical shelf life, from date of packaging, is about 6 months on unopened packages and immediately drops to 2-3 months once opened. This basically rules out the grocery store and "flavored" green teas (peach, strawberry, etc.) All O-Cha.com teas are packaged in Japan within a very short time (1-2 weeks) from when you order them.
The Best Green Tea for Beginners - We Recommend Any of the Following...
- Daily Sencha - This is our most economical tea and is from the second harvest. While not quite on the level of our first harvest teas, the quality is still above average to what you typically find at the store and on the internet. A good economical introduction, you can practice your brewing technique with this item. The 100 gram packaged will yield 22 first infusions, each of which may be repeated 2-4 times.
- Kabusecha - From the first harvest, it remains a favorite with many of our customers. With a nice grassy aroma, this is an all around great green tea for the money. It's not too fussy to brew and tastes great! The 100 gram packaged will yield 22 first infusions, each of which may be repeated 2-4 times.
- Deep Steamed Green Tea - For those who would like to try something bold. It has a thick consistency and looks cloudy green when brewed. A 100 gram packaged will yield 22 first infusions, each of which may be repeated 2-4 times. Be sure to choose an appropriate teapot for this item, however!
What you should know about the product you are buying...
- How Fresh it is. Freshness is very important!
- Where does it comes from?
- When was it packaged?
- How long has it been sitting on the shelf?
- Which harvest did it come from? (First harvest is the best, with quality going down with each successive harvest)
- Is it packaged in an oxygen free packaging? (Good quality teas are usually packaged with nitrogen gas replacing the oxygen)
Other things to consider...
Green tea is brewed differently than other types of tea. While it's not rocket science, you do need to pay attention to what you are doing or it will not turn out right. If you had bitter green tea before, there's a good chance it wasn't brewed correctly. Generally speaking, it is brewed at a lower temperature for about one minute. Before brewing your first infusion, be sure read up on How to Make Green Tea.
Also: excellent information on : green tea benefits as well as a Discovery Channel Green Tea Video Documentary featuring our very own O-Cha.com crew!