Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mellow Monk's Three Simple Rules for Brewing Great Green Tea

In a nutshell, the Three Rules are:

  1. Use the best water possible
  2. Walk the kettle to the pot
  3. Choose a high-quality, authentic green tea. (Hint, hint.)

About the rules:

1. Use the best water possible.

Natural spring water is ideal—and I'm talking fresh-out-of-the-ground, you-bottled-it-yourself spring water, not something that's been sitting in a plastic bottle for who knows how long. Natural spring water, with its mineral content and absence of all things unnatural, makes even a mediocre tea pretty good—and a great tea even more sublime. Buy hey, let's face it—natural spring water is hard to come by, so we have to make do. But on the other hand, don't throw all to the wind: If your can't stand to drink your tap water unfiltered, then it won't exactly bring out the best in your tea.

2. Walk the kettle to the pot.

This is a Britishism that means, Let boiled water cool a bit before pouring it over your tea. (Even though the British drink—what else—English tea, the rule applies to green tea, too.) Water that's hotter than roughly 85 degrees Celsius, or 185 degrees Fahrenheit, will scald the leaves and essentially cook the tea, ruining the fresh, earthy aroma. In Japan, judges in tea-tasting competitions use water heated to a low 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it's not necessary to go that low.

However, the Mellow Monk Philosophy of Tea is to Keep It Simple. That means no thermometers or otherwise obsessing over water temperature. After all, the monks who perfected the Japanese art of preparing green tea over a thousand years ago didn't have thermometers or stop watches.

A good rule of thumb is to pour about five minutes after boiling is stopped. (Don't let the water boil too long, as doing so will allow too much oxygen in the water to escape, which will also lessen the flavor.) But again, don't reach for the stopwatch. Simple take off the kettle's lid and let the water sit for however long feels like about five minutes.

In other words, walk the kettle to the pot.

3. Choose a high-quality green tea

This website—and the company behind it—would not exist if we at Mellow Monk were not completely confident in our tea. We offer a truly high-quality, authentic green tea, grown with the T.L.C. that only a small, family-owned and family-operated tea farm can provide. These farms are also certified ecologically friendly by the Japanese government.

The big industrial farms, even with all their magic potions, can't make up for these and other of Mellow Monk's formidable advantages, such as the volcanic soil, clean air, and mountain climate of Japan's Aso region, where Mellow Monk green tea is grown. Up against Mother Nature and the generations of tea-growing tradition that's in Mellow Monk Green Tea, the big boys don't stand a chance.

—Mellow Monk

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