By now you probably have learned about the numerous health benefits of green tea, including its energy-boosting, weight loss, and detoxification effects. You may therefore be wondering, “How long do I need to steep green tea for?”. In this modern and fast-paced world, green tea is usually prepared with hastiness. Typically, you just pour hot water over a bag or two, let it sit for a minute, and then head off to enjoy your ‘green colored water’.
True tea making is not that simple! It is a delicate process that requires the right technique and equipment to get the best quality out of every brew. In fact, the taste and antioxidant levels depend on the amount of time the leaves are left to steep in hot water. More so, you get more polyphenols the longer the tea is left to steep.
In this article, we will show you some of the best preparation methods for making green tea, and how to calculate the perfect brewing time for making one of the best cups you’ve ever had!
Key Features of Green Tea
Green tea is one of the world’s healthiest beverages, filled with antioxidants, alkaloids, and anti-inflammatory compounds that help improve the body’s metabolism and boost weight loss.
It is rich in ECGG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) – a compound that offers green tea its powerful medicinal properties.
Green tea also comes in many flavors that you can enjoy. The tea is usually passed through processing methods like drying, heating, and pan-frying/steaming – all of which cause partial oxidation, hence leaving the distinct bitter taste.
However, some green teas taste more bitter than others, and this depends on the quality of the plant, the harvest time of the year, the shape of leaves (rolled and dried), and the level of oxidation.
What Happens When You Steep?
Do you remember the principles of osmosis and diffusion from science school? Steeping green tea works with these concepts. When you place your tea bag in water, water flows into the bags through osmosis and the tea leaves dissolve through diffusion, turning the water green.
So the nutritive compounds seep into the water during steeping, but at different rates based on their molecular weight.
The chemical that gives the tea its smell and flavor goes out first, and then antioxidants including polyphenols and flavonols.
How Long to Steep Green Tea?
Teabags are typically designed for fast steeping, so you can simply follow the instructions (written on the pack) on how long you should steep for. But as a general rule of thumb, steeping should be from 1-3 minutes.
Also depending on the tea, you might have to adjust the steeping time by +/- 30 seconds. However, you should wait until the leaves unfurl, and then taste to your desired strength. When you feel the taste is pleasant to your pallet, you can remove the teabags.
If you’re using loose leaf green tea, 2 to 3 minutes is usually enough for steeping. However, it is good to heat the water before steeping to avoid any bitter flavors. The adjustment of water, temperature and time is important if you desire to get the perfect cup of green tea.
Use freshwater rich in oxygen to steep to allow the green teas to infuse properly. The oxygen helps to draw out the flavor and release the aroma.
You also need to adjust the temperature to avoid a bitter taste. Aim at a temperature between 80-850C to allow each component of the tea to dissolve properly without overpowering each other. This way, the green tea will taste just perfect.
Our Final Say
Herbal teas are just one of mother nature’s many great gifts that we can turn to for improving our health. The benefits you get from green tea really does depend on the methods of steeping, so be sure to follow the instructions outlined in this article to get the very best results from every brew!
As always though, be sure to consult with your doctor or primary medical physician prior to taking any of the natural remedies, herbs or general advice given in this article. This information is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.