Sunday, June 22, 2008

Green Tea

Tea is culture, art and history in liquid form. If the scientific studies, some impartial some biased, can be believed, green tea may also be the ultimate health drink.

Unfortunately “green tea” flavored goodies are starting to appear all over the place, mixed in with sugar and artificial coloring. These products are preying on consumers who have come to recognize green tea as a health term which can bring in the big bucks.

This short article will help you enjoy this drink in its pure form and more importantly take the mystery out of brewing the perfect cup.
The many benefits of green tea are enjoyed by the Japanese because they drink the brew in place of pure water. In other words, the lowered risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity among green tea drinkers is due to the fact that they consume several cups a day consistently over an entire life time.

One reason why tea has not caught on in the United States is because it is not “instant”. Green tea absolutely must be brewed carefully. Rather than carry a teapot and tea leaf container to the office you can cut some corners by acquiring high quality tea bags.

Here is a list of things to assure a fast and flavorful brew:
Look for an expiration date or packing date on the box.
The bags should be made of nylon mesh which do not add a paper “flavor”. If you must use paper bags you'll be able to assess quality if the bags are “yellow” and therefore old.
The tea should not be “dust” but fine leaves. If you want to spoil yourself, buy “sencha” grade tea which has a pleasant delicate taste. Good tea has a slight sweet and grassy taste and a light yellow or green color often compared to that of spinach water.

Green tea is very delicate and is best brewed at 175 degrees from 1.5 to 2 minutes maximum. If you don't have access to a kettle to boil water simply pour bottled water into your mug and microwave it. If you measure the water with a thermometer a few times you will be easily able to determine the exact number of minutes and seconds to set the microwave. You may do the finger test to be sure the water is not too hot nor too cool. Of course, this last technique requires cleanliness and some experience.

Although the tea may be a bit expensive just remember that each bag may be used more than once. After removing the bag from your mug you can place it in a tall thermos full of warm water and take it to your cubicle or you can place it in a tall glass pitcher full of cold water.

As mentioned earlier, green tea is not instant like most of the coffee we drink but perhaps the 2 minutes spent allowing the leaves to expand in the water is much needed time for you to close your eyes, relax and block out all the noise and electronic chatter pervasive in our daily lives. You can use this moment of quiet to count how many breaths you take, stretch your muscles or go through the motions to alleviate neck and back strain from sitting in front of the computer too long.

The last reason why green tea may not be promoted as much in the United States is that it cannot be paired up with the sugar industry nor flavored dry and liquid creamers. Green tea is always taken without sugar nor cream however people who are not used to the grassy taste may add small amounts of honey to the drink and gradually lessen the amount over time.
Many people have heard of the elaborate tea ceremony in Japan where people not only enjoy the simple brew but the serene space shared with friends. While we may not bring that ritual into our daily lives, it is still possible to enjoy green tea on the go.

Remember healthy living means great loving.

Silapa Jarun is the author of the mxm erotic work of historical fiction KATANA DUET: Samurai's Forbidden Love . The story is set in war torn Japan and in Wisconsin during the nineteenth century. The bond of brotherhood between the samurai grows into a forbidden relationship as they realize "Katana Duet" is not the only stage show they must perform for money but they must also play out an elaborate act to free themselves from a deadly game in a household full of secrets.


Tess MacKall said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe for the perfect cup. I do enjoy green tea, but unfortunately it seems to be all those types you mention that aren't exactly healthy.

I'll definitely try this.

Rowan said...

Very cool article. I love green tea and drink it every day, but my friends always give me head tilts because I can't stand it with sugar or cream or anything else mixed with it. lol.

-- Rowan McBride