Since the “wellness lifestyle” became mainstream in the 2010s, green tea has become a staple in many American households.
Frequently touted for its exceptional health benefits, green tea is the quintessential wellness drink. Read any article about how to lose weight, keep your heart healthy, or improve your skin, and almost without fail, it will suggest drinking green tea.
However, I recently came across a fascinating phenomenon: the reluctant green tea drinker. This is someone who drinks green tea because they know it is good for them, even though they don’t really like the taste of it.
While many people enjoy the vegetal, earthy, floral flavors of green tea, others find it to be astringent and bitter.
However, there is no need to be a reluctant green tea drinker! There are plenty of ways to make green tea taste better.
How to make green tea taste better
Choose a high-quality green tea of a variety with a flavor profile you like. Brew your green tea correctly! Choose a green tea infusion, or add fruit juice, sweeteners, or flowers to your homemade brew. You can also serve your green tea iced, opt for a milky matcha, or enjoy a dessert-like bubble tea.
How to choose a green tea that tastes good to you
Are you wondering what the best way to choose green tea is? Well, it depends on what tea flavors you are partial to.
Here is a brief guide to the flavor profiles of the most popular green teas.
Sencha is a Japanese steamed green tea. Sencha has notes of honeydew melon and freshly cut hay. The two most common kinds of sencha tea are asamushi and fukamushi.
Of the two, asamushi is sweeter. It is steamed for less long and therefore has a milder aroma.
Fukamushi is steamed for twice the length asamushi is. As a result, it has a stronger flavor. It is often described as having an umami or savory flavor.
Gyokura is another popular Japanese steamed green tea. Gyokura is sweeter than sencha, but it also has a vegetal taste and features notes of seaweed.
Much-loved Japanese matcha powder is produced by grinding de-veined and de-stemmed green tea leaves. Matcha is the sweetest of the green teas. That said, it still has a slightly chalky mouthfeel and a lightly bitter aftertaste.
Longjing is a Chinese green tea. It has a vegetal flavor and features notes of asparagus and chestnut. It has a smokier taste than sencha or gyokura.
Unlike the Japanese green teas, which are oxidized using steam, Longjing is produced by hand-roasting green tea leaves in enormous works.
8 ways to make green tea taste better
If you have chosen a tea variety you like and are brewing it correctly but are still missing that extra oomph, try these eight ways to make your tea taste better.
1. Add a squeeze of lemon
Largely because of the gently bitter character of green tea, adding a bit of lemon to it has become a common practice. And for good reason! The natural citrusy sweetness of lemon beautifully balances the earthier tones of green tea.
2. Add a spoonful of honey
There are very few things that a dollop of gooey, sweet honey doesn’t pair well with. And it happens to taste especially good stirred into a hot green tea.
Honey balances the vegetal and umami flavors of green tea and is a perfect complement to sencha green teas, which feature notes of freshly cut hay.
3. Make a matcha latte
For anyone who likes milky hot drinks and usually opts for a morning latte, matcha is the green tea drink for you!
When combined with rich, silky-smooth milk and a sweetener of your choice, matcha powder creates a truly unique, sweet, vegetal-flavored drink.
A frothy matcha latte is nothing short of ambrosia-like.
4. Make milk-less matcha
For those who like the earthy taste of matcha but don’t like hot milk-based drinks, matcha can also be made with hot water.
Heat cold, filtered water up to a temperature of between 170 and 180 degrees. Use a matcha whisk to mix a little water with your matcha powder until you create a paste. Pour in the rest of your hot water and stir your drink.
Add in a squeeze of lemon for a delicious, refreshing tea.
5. Make green tea iced tea
Green tea makes a highly refreshing iced tea. Many people find it easier to drink green tea when it is cold.
To make an iced green tea, brew green tea in the usual way and then pour it into a heatproof jug. If you want to, mix in a sweetener of your choice at this point.
Chill your jug in the fridge.
Serve your green tea in glasses full of ice.
Don’t be afraid to get creative when serving your green tea. It tastes delicious garnished with all manner of fresh fruit or herb sprigs.
Sliced peaches or lemons not only add delicious fruity flavors to your iced tea, but they also contribute to a beautiful presentation.
6. Make a minty green tea
You can always add a handful of fresh mint to your mug of green tea. The mint leaves infuse quickly and will balance out any bitterness with a refreshing bite of mint.
7. Buy a green tea infusion
If you know you aren’t a huge fan of pure green tea, buy a loose-leaf infusion, or opt for a box of a high-quality green tea infusion teabags.
An infusion is a base tea, such as green or black, that has been mixed with flowers, leaves, or other organic products that add flavor.
Some popular favorites include lemongrass green tea, lemon ginger green tea, mint green tea, raspberry green tea, and echinacea green tea.
8. Drink green bubble tea
Matcha green tea is frequently heralded as one of the most popular bubble tea flavors.
Bubble tea is a tea-based drink that is usually made with milk and served cold. It gets its name from the tapioca boba pearls it contains, which can be sucked up through an exceptionally thick straw.
Tapioca boba are stewed in brown sugar before they are added to bubble tea, and their syrupy sweetness beautifully balances out matcha’s chalky aftertaste.
Get all the benefits of green tea, plus a delicious, milky, dessert-like drink, by choosing a matcha bubble tea.
How to brew green tea like a pro
People often think they don’t like the natural flavor of green tea, when in fact the issue is that they are not brewing their tea correctly.
One of the most common problems is that people brew green tea for too long. Green tea should not be steeped for longer than two minutes or it will become astringent and bitter.
Most tea newbies prefer green tea when it has only been steeped for about one minute. A short steeping time results in more subtle flavors. Experiment with your brewing time to see what works best for you.
Another common mistake is using water that is too hot. Many people will simply turn on the tea kettle, bring it to a boil (212 degrees Celsius), and then immediately pour the water over their tea leaves or tea bag.
Green tea tastes far better when brewed using hot water that is between 170- and 180-degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using a kettle with adjustable temperature settings, make use of these and set your kettle to turn off when it reaches the desired temperature.
If you are making tea without a kettle, use a thermometer to tell when your water has reached the correct temperature. Then, take it off the heat source and pour it over your tea leaves or bag.