Being Creative with Green Tea
Tea has many health benefits. As we discussed last "The Way of Tea" post, matcha is known providing us with a concentrated antioxidants and promotes brain health. Green Tea has many of the same health benefits as matcha even though we are not ingesting the tea leaves themselves but also the water that they are steeped in.
Steeping is a process where teas are prepared by placing the leaves in heated water to release the flavor, scent and nutrients in the leaves. When steeping green tea, it is very important to watch the temperature and time. Green tea should be steeped for one to two minutes maximum in water that is about 160°F to 180°F. Water that is too hot will cause the tea to be burned and create an undesirable bitter taste. When green tea is over-steeped, steeped too long, it may cause nausea due to tea's natural tannins being released into the water. The tannins in tea are the source of many of its health benefits as they give tea its antioxidants . However, as tannins are acidic too much of them in the tea will irritate your stomach lining and can prevent iron absorption.
Like matcha, green tea is also a ceremonial beverage. It is used in the Gong Fu Cha (hard work or right way tea) ceremony. Also like matcha, green tea can be included in our diets in foods as well as a beverage.
Green Tea Rice
1 cup rice
1 ½ cups water
5 teaspoons green tea
¼ teaspoon salt
Green onions (optional)
Bring water to a boil. Let sit for a minute or two and then stir in green tea leaves. Allow to steep for two minutes. Use a tea strainer or other small strainer to remove the leaves. Add the rice and salt and simmer on low-heat for about 10 minutes with the lid on. Keeping the lid on, turn off the heat and let the rice sit for about 20 more minutes, until it is soft. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions if you desire.
DIY Green Tea Blends
The subtle flavor of properly steeped green tea combines well with herbs, fruits, and spices. Try blending it with herbs and florals, such as rose petals, lavender, rooibos, mint, fresh ginger root, lemonbalm, and lemongrass. Fruits that combine well include: lemon, lime, or orange zest, dried berries, and fresh fruit syrups. Spices that you may wish to blend with it include a pinch of cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, and allspice. If you are adding a subtle flavor that takes more than two minutes to steep, such as an herbal tea, steep the herb or floral first and then stir it into the green tea after it is steeped. Otherwise, you risk burning your tea or making it bitter.
What flavors would you like to try with green tea? Do you have any successes or blunders to share? I'd love to hear them email email@example.com or comment below.
Janae J. Almen is a professional music instructor, composer, sound artist, and writer. She has a BA in Music/Education from Judson University and a MM in Computer Music/Composition from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. She is the founder of Perennial Music and Arts and is passionate about sharing her love of music and arts.