Many people claim they don’t like green tea because of its bitterness, the reason is often times because they have never had a properly prepared cup of green tea. While tea aficionados may know that green tea thrives best at a brewing temperature much lower than boiling for only a few seconds, this is not common knowledge for the average population. Yet, even brewing green tea at the proper temperature (about 175F) I have found that it is still a bit bitter and finding a good one can be difficult. In my opinion, lower quality black teas are much more palatable than a low quality green tea. Thus to get a pleasant green tea experience, you may have to go out of your way to get one a bit higher quality than what you can get at the supermarket.
So far one of my favorite green teas is Green Tip Mao Jian from Teabook’s website. I actually received this tea as a gift after my first order was damaged during transit, and to my surprise it’s one of the best I’ve had. As I was saying, it can be hard to find a good high quality green tea at a price range acceptable to the majority of the population. This Mao Jian is a great option that is both high quality and has a nice price tag.
I love this tea when brewed hot at 175F in a gaiwan, it is very fruity, floral and can go strong for three infusions before starting to lighten up. There is no uncomfortable bitterness or astringency, and is quite smooth. While there is some astringency, I noticed that it didn’t really start showing up until later infusions and added character to the tea, not discomfort. It’s a perfect gift tea for those who want to like green tea but have never had a pleasant experience, it’s affordable and tasty, a good way to gift good tea without spending too much. The smell and taste reminded me a lot of traditional Dragon Well (Longjing) tea.
HOWEVER, this tea as a cold brew is a drastically different story. I was so shocked at how different it was, that if I wasn’t the one who put in the leaves and water, I would have thought it was a completely different tea! I used a mason jar (1.5c of water) and about a table spoon of dry tea and left it in the fridge for 12hours. Believe it or not, when I took the first sip what immediately came to mind was Japanese Sencha! Those of you who have had Japanese green tea, know that it’s very vegetal and umami. Those same type of vegetal notes (kind of like steamed spinach) were very much present and dominating in this cold brew. While there was a bit of floral notes, the fruity, slightly tart, notes of the hot brew were not really present. While it wasn’t exactly like Sencha, it was much closer to it than to a typical Chinese green tea. Cold brew, this only got two infusions and the second infusion was extremely light. I can’t say I was a big fan of this tea as a cold brew but I wouldn’t have known until I tried it!
Have you had any teas that were shockingly different cold vs hot?