Gluterra - gluten-free and healthy

Click here to get a FREE GF Substitution Guide!

Green Tea

We drink green tea at home every morning. When I wake up, the first thing I do is to boil water and make green tea. That's how I grew up in Japan. It's an added bonus that researchers suggest that green tea is actually good for you too. You can easily find many articles about the health benefits of green tea on the Internet from fighting cancer to lowering heart disease risk. Here is one article from WebMD.

I've seen some people putting sugar in their green tea, but traditionally you don't put sweetener in green tea unless you are making dessert with it. Adding sugar sort of negates the health benefits too. I must admit that some of the cheap green tea bags are so bad that I would want to add some sugar to make it drinkable.

So what's the good brand to try? We have been importing loose sencha green tea from Japan for years. Recently, though, we found that Costco sells Kirkland green tea bags which is actually made by ItoEn. ItoEn is one of the biggest manufacturers of green tea products in Japan and the tea is actually quite decent. They are also great for trips since they are individually packaged tea bags. We take them on camping trips where we can enjoy green tea every morning.

If you drink green tea, you might have seen instructions on how to steep green tea. I have noticed that some of them are making one critical mistake in their instructions. Some tell you not to use boiling hot water so that the tea won't get too bitter. But many fail to tell you that the WATER SHOULD BE BOILED FIRST. You should then cool the water down to the optimal temperature. This makes the water taste better (maybe less chlorinated?) and therefore it makes better tasting tea. We also filter our water at home which is always a good idea.

You might ask, what's the optimal temperature? It depends on the type of tea. The rule of thumb is that the more delicate (read: expensive) the tea is, the lower the temperature should be. The temperature is generally around 160-185F. "Gyokuro" is one the most expensive types of green teas you will find, and it should be steeped at the lower temperature, maybe around 160F. "Sencha" is a type of green tea that is very popular, but the quality varies greatly. When we buy a new brand of tea, we simply try out different temperatures for the first few times until it works for us. If you find that green tea is too bitter, then the water is probably too hot for the leaves.

In Japan where green tea is part of the normal diet, many people buy an electric thermos that will boil water first, then it automatically cools the water to a programmed temperature. With this convenient electric thermos, you have the perfect hot water for green tea all day long!