Aside from health benefits, quality fresh green tea tastes great. Learn how to buy the best tea without spending too much money.
Find your flavor. Think about what kind of bagged teas you usually drink. Are they fruity? Floral? Sweet? If you're a coffee drinker, you may want to try a green tea that is roasted, such as the Hojicha variety. If you usually drink just water or light drinks, you'll want something crisp and fresh, such as a Sencha.
Find a local tea store. If it's your first time buying loose leaf tea, find a locale where you can see, smell, feel and taste the tea you're about to buy. Come armed with your list of preferences, and ask for a small sample. Your maiden trip into a specialty tea store won't be a short one, so avoid busy hours. You'll need the full attention of the employee.
Buy the smallest amount you can. Usually, the employee will suggest three to five varieties that vary in price. Many places sell sample sizes. Purchase the three varieties you like best. Also buy a tea infuser, a metal mesh container to hold the tea leaves, if you don't have one.
Savor your tea, and keep trying new flavors. After you've tried the varieties you picked up at the store, you should have a good idea of what kind of tea you like. You can either go back to the store and purchase that type, or begin searching online for new varieties.
The scent of the tea is a reflection of the taste. A tea with a strong scent will have an equally strong flavor. The color of the leaves are a good indicator of the flavor as well. Roasted green teas -- those with a brownish-green color such as Hojicha -- will taste a bit bitter and similar to a light black tea. Dark green teas, evergreen or emerald in color such as Sencha, will taste earthier and more robust. Light green teas that resemble spring leaves, such as Dragonwell, will taste light and crisp, with floral or herbal undertones.
Don't boil the water. Even the best green tea can be destroyed by using boiling water, leaving it with an astringent, bitter flavor. If you can't dip your pinkie into the water, it's too hot. Don't overbrew. Green tea should be brewed no longer than five minutes, although your preferences will vary. Don't let the leaves sit in the water once brewed. Most green teas can be brewed up to four times. Remove the leaves once brewing is complete, and save them for the next pot.
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