Green tea has lots of health benefits. A steaming cup of green tea (or an iced glass of the stuff) is full of antioxidants that protect your cells, and it's great for both your body and your brain's health. But you probably drink this lightly caffeinated tea at least partly for its herbal taste. And it's not just the tea leaves that give a cup of tea its flavor: The temperature of the water plays a role in how your tea tastes.
You'll see a lot of different people claim the "perfect" temperature to steep green tea, and many of these temperatures will vary. It depends on how sweet or bitter you like your tea. If you're working with loose tea — tea bags have less flavor already, so it doesn't matter as much — then most people steep green tea in water that's about 170 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can experiment with going lower because green tea steeped in hot water tastes bitter and almost "grassy" instead of sweet. Green tea doesn't need to steep as hot as black tea or herbal tea.
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Steeping The Right Way
To understand what your ideal temperature is, it helps to understand what steeping at the wrong temperature does for your tea. Water that's too cold has trouble extracting the best flavors from the tea, which makes it taste flat. On the other hand, water that's burning hot will pull out too much from the tea and leave an acidic, bitter taste. This comes from the tannins in tea, which are healthy substances found in tea but have very bitter qualities in them. If you ever find you've steeped your tea too hot, you can use honey or milk to help bring that bitterness down.
Your goal while brewing tea should be to bring out some of these flavors but not enough to ruin the taste. Also, keep in mind that tea that is steeped in hotter water will result in more caffeinated tea. Of course, the amount of time you steep your tea matters too: For green tea, about two to four minutes is recommended. Any longer will also make your tea more bitter.
Green Tea Varieties
We've focused on standard green tea so far, but there are lots of different teas that fall under the surprisingly wide umbrella of "green tea." Gyokuro tea is a special kind of green tea -- considered the most elite in Japan -- made by growing the tea plants in the shade instead of the sun. It should be steeped at a lower temperature (around 120 degrees Fahrenheit) because of its powerful flavor.
Matcha and green tea aren't technically the same thing, although matcha is certainly a kind of green tea. Both come from the Camellia sinensis plant, just like several other teas, and both are green in color, but they're harvested differently. With all that said, you still want to brew matcha at about the same temperature as normal green tea: About 175 degrees, while 160 degrees or lower will get you a more mellow flavor. So once you have your boiling water, let it cool just slightly before steeping to avoid scorching your tea.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.