How to Make Green Tea Taste Good (Without Adding Anything)
By The Whistling Kettle October 21st, 2021
You may have read that you can add lemon or honey to green tea and a variety of other methods for how to make green tea taste good. But the breaking news is that green tea is not supposed to be bitter in the first place! Properly brewed green tea is light and sweet without needing anything added.
Green tea is one of the oldest varieties of teas and has been perfected over many generations. It is delicate, refined, and fresh. To make green tea taste good, follow our easy guidelines for better steeping. Now get ready to taste the best cup of green tea you’ve ever had.
Selecting the Right Green Tea
To make a better cup of green tea, you first need to select better green tea. Invest in high-quality, loose-leaf green tea to get the full flavor. You can always start small with a sample-sized amount at a reasonable price. Brew a cup and we promise you’ll taste the difference.
Teabags vs. Loose Leaf Tea
- Teabags are often made from crumbled or broken tea leaves. Broken tea leaves steep unevenly and may cause the tea to become bitter. You want to use pure, whole tea leaves to brew a smooth cup.
- Loose leaf tea has a stronger flavor with less bitterness. Loose leaf is also more sustainable (less packaging!) and will give you more control over the steeping process. You can easily find all types of infusers for brewing loose leaf tea.
How to Brew Green Tea Correctly
Steep Time for Green Tea: 1-3 Minutes
Most people accidentally steep green tea for way too long. A 5-10 minute brew is sure to be astringent and bitter. You can smooth out the flavor by steeping for just 1-3 minutes, or even 30 seconds. We recommend starting with 30 seconds or 1 minute to see how it tastes. Then if you want it stronger, slowly increase the time.
Water Temperature for Green Tea: 140-180 Degrees F.
The water temperature is just as important as the timing. Boiled water is much too hot for green tea. The green tea leaves are delicate and need to be steeped gently. An ideal water temperature is between 140-180 degrees F. for most green teas. If you don’t have a thermometer you can heat the water until there are small, simmering bubbles and pour it before it reaches a boil.
Cold Brew Green Tea
Cold brew green tea will have no bitterness at all and a well-rounded flavor. It’s also the simplest method, although it does take more time. Use 1 tablespoon of loose leaf green tea per 8 ounce cup of cold water. Put the loose leaf tea in an infuser in a cup, teapot, or pitcher and fill with cold water. Stick it in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight. Then remove the infuser and serve. We recommend putting it in the fridge right before bed so it’s ready for you in the morning.
Best Tasting Green Teas
Explore the varieties of green tea to find what tastes ‘good’ to you. Everyone has different taste buds with different flavor preferences. Green tea comes in all shapes and forms from light and floral to strong and toasted. Browse our recommendations below to find the tea that is calling your name.
Chinese Green Tea
A good type of tea to start with is Chinese green tea. These tend to be lighter than Japanese green teas and naturally less bitter. Many Chinese green teas are pan-fried which gives them a nutty, toasted flavor. Some of the most popular varieties include:
- Dragonwell – Nutty, smooth flavor.
- Pinhead Gunpowder – Invigorating with toasted notes.
- Jasmine Pearls – Floral and delicate.
Japanese Green Teas
For those who love a bold, flavorful cup, Japanese green teas are the perfect choice. Japanese green teas are usually steamed, which preserves the vivid green color and vegetal flavor profile. Our favorite part about green teas from Japan is the strong ‘umami’ flavor. This creamy, savory taste adds depth and complexity. There are many delicious varieties to try including:
- Sencha – Bright and clean taste.
- Gyokuro – Deep umami and grassy notes.
- Genmaicha – Sweet and toasty flavor.
Blended Green Teas
There are endless options for green tea blended with fruits, flowers, nuts, and other teas. We recommend trying pure green teas first to get familiar with the flavor. It can be hard to tell if your green tea tastes good when covered by other flavors. But once you get the hang of brewing pure green tea, there is a whole world of blends to explore.
Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is a unique green tea that is powdered. It has more caffeine and higher antioxidants than any other green tea because you consume the whole leaf. Matcha is prepared differently than other teas and requires some practice. You whisk the powder with hot water to make a thick green tea and drink it straight. Matcha has a much stronger flavor than other green teas, but is still fresh and vegetal. For matcha recipes and information you can read more here.
How to Make Green Tea Taste Good
With our tips and tricks you’re guaranteed to boost your green tea experience. Simply remember these four main points for a flavorful cup without any bitterness.
- Buy high-quality loose-leaf green tea.
- Choose green tea varieties that suit your tastes.
- Brew the tea with water at 140-180 degrees F.
- Steep for 1-3 minutes.
Take a sip and taste green tea as it was meant to be enjoyed. From bold, complex Gyokuro green tea to sweet and floral Jasmine Pearls, you are sure to find something you love. Once you start drinking properly brewed green tea you’ll find it doesn’t need any added sweetener to taste good.