Tea drinking is steeped in time-honored traditions. In the 15th century, the tea ceremony was synonymous with cultural refinement. Much later, tea drinking spread to the average person. Today frosty glasses of iced tea quench our thirst on hot summer days. Steaming cups of hot tea help to warm and sooth us on cold winter nights. Yet after hundreds of years, we still rely on a centuries-old brewing process to produce the perfect cup of tea. Even Sunphenon is extracted via a water infusion process that is inherently familiar to us all, and never uses chloroform or other illegal solvents.
Good tea depends on the quality of the tea leaves, the amount used, the amount of water added, the temperature of that water, and time that the leaves are left to steep before the tea is poured. Each one of these factors is important. Here’s something you may not know: The higher quality tea you use, the more leaves you will need.
A cup of green tea, with its deep and fresh aroma, will relax you emotionally and soothe you mentally. The secret to enjoying green tea lies as much in preparing it with loving care as in using high-grade tea leaves.
It’s also important to select the right tea to suit your mood and purpose. Depending on the occasion, you may want a tea with more of a bite to it, one that quenches your thirst, or one that best follows a good meal.
• Change the leaves often: If you drink 10 cups a day of only the first and second servings of tea, you’ll be sure to feel the full effects of the tea catechins.
• Use the correct water temperature: The catechins and caffeine will dissolve better in water at a higher temperature. The first serving should be made with water that is not too hot, in order to draw out the flavor. The second serving should be made with hotter water to draw out the astringency.
• Select quality water. In Japan, spring water is mostly soft and is ideal for green tea. If the water is too hard, the tannin cannot be fully extracted from the tea. If the water is not hard enough, the aroma cannot be completely released. If you are using bottled water, check the minerals listed on the bottle and select softer water containing less calcium.
• Drink it immediately. When green tea comes into contact with air, it quickly oxidizes, loses its aroma and darkens in color. Store tea leaves in the refrigerator in a tight-sealing container. Because tea leaves may absorb smells from other foods, buy tea in smaller quantities.
• Choose the right teapot. A smaller teapot is best for high-grade teas. For ordinary teas, an earthenware teapot will retail heat better and produce the best flavor. Keep the teapot clean and wash even the difficult-to-reach spots such as the spout.
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