Brew Like a Pro

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Green Tea

I have always found green tea to be absolutely disgusting. The only reason I would force the dreaded brew into my mouth, offending my innocent tongue, was because I learned about all the amazing and numerous health properties that green tea contained. But I still hated the look, the flavor, and how its bitterness would hurt my teeth and shrivel my lips.  When I drank it I looked like an old-lady who had lost her teeth! Only a moron would choose that disgusting concoction over the rich, full-bodied beauty of coffee!

Well it turns out I was the moron who had been making it wrong all these lip-shriveling years. But I wasn’t the only one!  Restaurants were making it wrong, you’ve been making it wrong, most people have been wrong about how to prepare green tea. When prepared correctly, green tea is subtle, not bitter at all, and has a pleasant earthy flavor. I’m telling you right now, a simple temperature/time change will allow you to sip green tea with a smile on your face, as opposed to looking like you just sucked on a lemon.

You see, most people think that in order to make any type of tea you need to boil water and immediately pour the boiled water over your tea bag. That is 100% lame-o wrong. Just like you shouldn’t cook chicken breast at the same temperature/time as you would a slab of salmon, you shouldn’t brew all tea in the same way either you unsophisticated savages! The type of tea you’re brewing also dictates the amount of time that tea should steep. So, without further ado, click the link below for a general guide to make your tea taste better:

Brew Like a Pro!

You probably had the same reaction I did when seeing the brew time and temperature for green tea. Mine was, “WTF??? How can it even brew at such a low temperature? How can all the health properties come out if it’s not boiled to smithereens?!”  Unfortunately the American nature predisposes us to higher, faster, larger, more gooder!!!  But trust me, a lot of the time less is more.  I’ve been brewing my green tea at the proper temperatures and the difference in flavor is like a McDonald’s burger vs. one home-cooked on the grill.

So how can you create the perfect brew every time? You have a couple choices:

  1. You can throw down a lot of moolah on a fancy kettle. These amazing devices can heat water to the exact temperature you want, with no need for monitoring time or measuring with a thermometer. They can be anywhere from $50-$200 dollars depending on the quality. Example here: Cuisinart Kettle.
  2. You can get a cheaper water kettle that isn’t exact in regards to heating temperatures, and then use a thermometer to test. This is actually what I do because I already had a thermometer to check meat temperature, which you ALL should have anyway. Here’s a pretty good option: Harbor Instant Read Thermometer. The kettle I use is this one: Tfal Kettle. The lowest setting is usually good for green tea.
  3. Simply heat water on your stovetop and use a thermometer to measure the temperature.
  4. Be a rebel and skip the thermometer altogether.  Just know that boiling water is good for black tea and water just below a boil is good for green tea.  It’s not exact, but it’s better than nothing!

TeaThe quality of the tea matters as well. Awhile ago I switched back to pre-bagged grocery store tea after drinking loose-leaf tea and almost vomited. It tasted like wet dog’s feet (don’t ask me how I know that)! If you care about flavor alone, that’s enough reason to purchase high-quality tea. But another (and more important) reason is that the nutritional value varies greatly depending on the quality of the tea (great article explaining why here). Why drink gross tea if you’re not even getting the benefits? Here are a couple of places I’ve tried and loved in order of preference:

http://www.teaembassy.com/

http://www.artoftea.com/

http://www.lupiciausa.com/

http://www.teavana.com/

I know what you’re thinking… Why the HELL would I ever want to switch from coffee to green tea? And why the heck would I want to deal with the hassle of making a perfect cup of green tea? My brown bean juice rocks mah socks!

I’ll tell you why you untrusting jerks. Coffee is tasty and has some perks associated with it, but it has a lot of potential side-effects as well.  And if coffee and green tea battled to the death, green tea would kick coffee’s delicious monkey-butt. For instance, coffee can be great for some but not everyone. For instance, people with diabetes, IBS, hypertension, genetic predispositions, etc. will reap the negative effects more than others. While coffee can give you the shakes, stress you out, and cause insomnia, the caffeine in green tea is “mellowed” out by the amino acid L-thianine.  You get sustained energy with less diarrhea.

Basically, it you want to improve your health without a lot of side effects, you’ll want to drink green tea. Let’s look at my handy dandy table of pros/cons of green tea vs. coffee:

  Coffee Green Tea
Diuretic Yes Yes
Antioxidants Some TONS, LIKE SO MUCH
Shakes/negative side effects Yes Rarely
Digestive Problems Yes No
Blood sugar negative affect** Yes No
Insulin negative affect** Yes No
Slow/Steady Rush No Yes
Cancer fighting No Yes
Acidic Yes No
Stains teeth Yes No
Fattening* No/Yes No
Cost Average*** $1.38-$2.45 $.50-$1.00
Resteep/rebrew No Yes
Related to Ulcers/IBS Yes No
Heartburn Yes No
Poop Causer Yes No
Affects Iron absorption Yes Yes
Helps with anxiety HELL NO Yes
Inhibits Cancer Growth No Yes

*Only 35% of coffee drinkers take their coffee black.  The majority of coffee drinkers take their coffee with cream and/or sugar seriously upping the unhealthy factor. Most people who drink green tea take it as is.

**Please reference articles below.

***Unless you purchase your coffee from coffee shops. Then the average cost jumps to about $3.45 for espresso drinks. Considering that the average American drinks 3.1 coffee drinks per day, that could add up to $11 per day!

If I went into all the information regarding studies on green tea vs. coffee and the benefits of green tea, you’d need 5 cups of coffee just to make it through the article. So, if you’d like to investigate on your own, here are some interesting articles to peruse:

Caffeine for Your Health-Too Good to be True?

Ten Reasons to Quit Your Coffee

Coffee and Hormones

Green Tea Benefits

11 Benefits of Green Tea that you Didn’t Know About

The Effects of Green Tea on Weight Management

You just got learned. Now go forth and improve your health!