Why Many Tea Drinkers Hate Green Tea (but shouldn’t)

Have you ever heard someone declare “I hate green tea”? To some diehard tea drinkers, this is like saying “I hate air” or “I hate sunshine”. That’s because they know how intricate and rewarding the flavors of a properly steeped green tea can be. They also know that the person making this declaration very likely had some poorly prepared green tea as an early experience and has never gotten over it nor learned how to prepare green tea properly. Time to rectify that.

Green Tea Experiment

Click on photo to see the story:

There are right ways and wrong ways to infuse green teas (and oolongs and black teas and white teas and pu-erhs). It can vary by the type of green tea you’re having and your personal taste. In fact, a bit of experimentation is needed on your part to get just the right taste from your green teas. So some time and patience and a willingness to keep trying are needed.

Time and Temperature Matter

The first error the novice makes is the water temperature. Using boiling water seems to be hard-wired into our brains. Sadly, such high temperatures assault the green tea leaves, taking a sledgehammer of heat to the leaf cells and totally bursting them into what can best be described as a vegetal mess.

The second error is steeping the leaves too long. Some green teas can endure 3 minutes while others need only 30 to 60 seconds. Senchas are usually in the latter category, needing only a short steep time. A recently oversteeped sencha ended up being a vegetal, spinachy, bitter mess. (You don’t have to waste a tea like this that you spoil; just heat more water and thin the tea out. It won’t be perfect tasting, but it will be drinkable.)

The Green Tea Matters

Another reason that someone might declare “I hate green tea” could be the green tea he/she had. There are some low-grade green teas out there, and some even get presented as a more high-grade green tea. Gunpowder (160°F and 2 minutes steeping) and Chun Mee (175°F and 1 to 2 minutes steeping) are more low-grade, while Dragonwell (180°F and 1 to 3 minutes steeping) and Gyokuro (120-140°F and 90 seconds steeping) are more high-grade. Proper steeping will bring out the best in each, but there is still a big difference between the low-grade and the high-grade green teas when it comes to aroma and flavor. They will be less bitter, less vegetal, more subtle and more soothing in flavor and aroma.

So, next time you hear someone say “I hate green tea,” let the tea geek in you take over and educate them, perhaps inviting them to a private tasting. But then again, it might be better if she/he remains ignorant so there’s more green tea for the rest of us. Hm… decisions, decisions!

Handy Guide for Infusing Your Green Tea

Step by step green tea infusion to get the best of your green teas (click on each photo for details):

© 2016-2020 World Is a Tea Party photos and text

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