It would not be wrong to say that green tea is an acquired taste. It might taste absolutely delightful to one and ruin the taste buds for another. Not everybody is going to find their cup of green tea delicious at the first go. More often than not, it’s the first timers who find the tea bitter or simply tasteless.
If you are new to green tea, then it might take a few more brews for your palate to adjust to the bitterness of the tannins found in green tea. Try a few more cups of green tea before you decide to give it up. You might change your mind!
What makes green tea bitter is the way it is made. Unlike black and oolong teas, green teas are made from the unfermented leaves of the tea plant, which keeps the antioxidants intact, but also gives them the bitter taste.
Apart from this, there can be a number of reasons why your green tea may taste bitter.
Your Tea is of Poor Quality
Tea leaves of poor quality are more likely to make a bitter brew. Green and black teas can be especially bitter when low grade tea leaves are used.
Tea bags are usually made from the fine dust of tea leaves. This allows you to brew a cup more quickly which makes it the go-to tea choice for busy-bees. However, the tea used in tea bags are often lower grade tea leaves which imparts a bitter flavor to the water if not brewed properly.
Solution: Loose leaf teas over tea bags for sure! Green tea made from good quality loose leaves are inherently better than the bagged stuff. You might also opt for organic green teas.
You Burn Your Tea
Maybe your green tea tastes bitter because it is burnt. Chances are that you use boiling water to steep your green tea.
Solution: Let your boiling water sit for a good few minutes before infusing your tea leaves. The standard temperature of water for brewing is usually 180°F. Use a thermometer for convenience.
You’re Not Storing it Properly
Factors like light, air and moisture come to play when you do not take care of your storing methods.
Exposure to light degrades the tea quality and strips the tea leaves of their color and flavor.
If you store your tea around strong-smelling food materials, then it is possible that the tea leaves absorb these odors.
Moisture is also a strong factor that can cause the tea to go bitter. Excess moisture can even render your green tea unfit for consumption.
Solution: Store your green tea in an opaque and air tight container such as a metal tin, away from other foods. Make sure that you do not store your green tea in damp places.
The Steeping Time: You’re Getting it Wrong
Steeping time for green tea may vary with the type of green tea. But, you will know when you have steeped your tea leaves for longer than required; your tea tastes bitter.
A good reason why so many people steep their green tea for a long time is because their tea looks too watery and not ‘green enough’.
Solution: You can experiment with different time to get the right taste for you. Green teas are generally steeped for 2-3 minutes. You can intervene after the first minute and taste your tea to get an idea of the taste. Does it taste bitter to you? Then, the tea is ready to strain. Think it needs more flavor? Steep for another minute and repeat.
Use the steeping instructions given by the tea manufacturers as a guide, they do know best.
You’re Going Overboard with the Tea Leaves
You want to get all the health benefits, we get it. But, using too much loose tea leaves is also what’s causing your tea to get bitter.
Solution: As a rule of thumb, you can use a single teaspoon of tea for 8 oz. of water. Again, it depends upon your preference, so it can take you a few tries before you find the right balance of green tea.
Make your cup of green tea taste better
So, you want to get the health benefits, but can’t bear the taste of green tea? You can always take the matter into your own hands and bring in the add-ins such as lemon, honey and milk to tweak the flavor of green tea.