Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Good Slap in the Face

My Brother-in-law is visiting from Italy.  He mentioned once on a previous visit that green tea is very expensive in Italy, so I always have a bag of his favorite Japanese Sencha on hand during his visits.  I brewed it for him once or twice using the brewing instructions my mom and I painstakingly created for Two for Tea. Each of our bags of hand packed tea came with brewing instructions for maximum enjoyment.

Mr. Brother-in-law laughed when I pulled out the timer the first time. "You take tea way too seriously," he quipped.

Of course I take it too seriously, I thought--duh!

I have actually heard him say, on more than one occasion, that he likes his Sencha so strong "it jumps up out of the cup and slaps him in the face." Yuck! Apparently my perfectly timed brew is a bit weak for his taste. We shared a laugh about his comment, but to me over brewing is no laughing matter. Because I drink mostly Black tea, when I want Green or White tea I have no shame in referring to the instructions, getting out the measuring spoon and setting the timer.

Here are my key points on appropriately brewing tea: Use good water (spring or filtered tap) and measure both the tea and the water. Using too much tea can taste as bad as over brewing. Generally speaking you will want to use 1 heaping teaspoon for each 6 ounce cup. For Green Tea the water temperature is critical! Heat the water to 185 to 190 F. How the heck do you know when it is 185? If you don't have a programmable kettle--and I don't--heat the water until the first few wisps of steam start to escape.


Follow the manufacturer's steeping time suggestion and pour all the tea from the brewed leaves at once. Any liquid left in the pot continues to steep. Green and White teas usually brew for 1 to 2 minutes, Black tea for 3 to 4 minutes.

Adjust to suit your taste. Or for a good slap in the face.

Sharing the love of tea,


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