How to prevent your tea from getting bitter is one of the major problems of many tea lovers who have just stepped into the world of tea. Read about three basic ways and one suggestion that will make sure your tea never turns bitter.
The scenario goes like this: you bought a tea, maybe even spent a little more money because a salesman persuaded to buy a higher-quality tea that tastes really great. The brewing instructions on a bag say you should steep it for 2-3 minutes. Let’s say this is a green tea. You take your teapot or a tea strainer, place the exact amount of tea leaves as written in the instructions and let them steep for three minutes. You leave it to cool a bit and eagerly wait to try it. Then, a big disappointment follows, you curse the sellers name, and your friend who convinced you to go to that specific tea shop because their tea is really good. Maybe the problem is not in tea itself (or in the seller), maybe you are brewing it in a completely wrong way.
Unfortunately, so far I have not seen that any of our Croatian tea shops (and many European) has the correct brewing instructions. They are always the same for each tea type – green for 2-3 minutes, white, oolong and black for 3. But the fact is that two different green teas may require a different brewing process, as well as two different oolong teas.
Kako spriječiti gorčinu čaja

Three ways on how to prevent your tea from getting bitter

Lower water temperature

Maybe you are using water that’s too hot. Every tea is different, even two different sencha teas can be brewed differently. To get to the optimum water temperature and feeling for right brewing, you need to experiment. General rules of 70-75 degrees for brewing green teas excluded, for ex. genmaicha. You can use boiling water for genmaich. Or for example gyokuro. Gyokuro sometimes requires water temperature to be as low as 40 degrees Celsius.

Use shorter steeping time

Two-three minutes steeping rule should not be used to often. Some types (for eg. some gao shan teas, some tie guan yin, some shu pu’er teas), turn out excellent after one loooong steeping which can be up to 10 minutes. But, the green tea leaves should almost never be left in water for two or three minutes (first steep). Bitterness will become inevitable.

Use less tea leaves

Use less tea leaves. Maybe you are using too much tea leaves, which is causing your tea to be too strong or bitter. But, if I really had to chose between using too much or too little, I would opt for too much. Using too much tea leaves can result in a tea that’s bitter, but using too little will never get the good results. If the tea is prone to bitterness, be careful. Always look for the optimum quantity and don’t use teaspoons or tablespoon. If you are trying to become a serious tea drinker, invest in a small kitchen scale showing up to 0.1 gram. Later when you get the feeling about quantities, you will be able to judge by the eye.

Drink tea while still hot

Drink tea while still hot. Some teas react badly to cooling down and are not meant to be drank cold. If you want to drink cold tea, use cold-brewing – poor cold water over leaves in a large teapot and leave it in a fridge for 12 hours (or at least 4). If you let your tea cool down, not only will bitterness get stronger, the taste will also be changed and in many cases bad. That kind of tea I usually use for watering the plants.

Keep in mind

Some teas require a little bit of bitterness. That bitterness will cause a sweet aftertaste after gulping up your cup. However, no real tea in the world should be bitter in a way you cannot even drink it. Japanese and Chinese green tea should not be overly bitter, and with the right brewing you can achieve the ultimate experience and taste.

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