PS: These posts portray the opinions of the author. Strong they may be, always be aware “to each their own.” If you want to do things ‘wrong,’ do it wrong. Happy steeping!
OOPS! I Boiled My Green Tea. What Now?
There comes a time in every tea person’s life where they become lazy as a meal consisting of nothing but condiments. We toss too much green tea in a pot and boil some left-in-the-kettle water. Uninterested in steeping like usual or as we were taught, we dump a junk load of scorching water into the vessel. We wake up and realize what we did. How then do we fix our blunder?
I hope by this point you realized you used boiling water and have, in a state of near panic, promptly awoke and began to panic! Now is the time to concentrate. Now is the time to take proper steps to not only fix your lazy mistake, but perhaps make it better!
Quickly pour this malicious water out of your vessel and consider this a rinse, much like one rinses wulong (oolong). Here now is a key step for both many teas and greens as well: You are opening the leaves for further infusions.
Don’t Worry and Continue
Don’t be scared. The water has cooled a degree, or 5. This would have been more ideal than the freshly boiled water you used. You have rinsed this green tea. While still hot, pour again the now slightly cooled water into the vessel. Take care and try to pour this water onto the vessel thus avoiding a direct pour on the leaves.
A Swift, Speedy Steep
It is imperative not to keep the water with the green tea leaves for too long. Too long would be 20 seconds. Due to the rinse, the leaves have already opened. Adding water and immediately pouring out would yield a light tea. By no means will this be under steeped. Waiting 5 to 10 seconds will bring forth a nice, strong soup that I, in fact, prefer.
A Change in Taste?
I must inform you that with such a method the tea’s taste will change. Depending on your sensitivity, green tea often becomes sweeter. This increase in sweetness does not happen to all green teas. From my experience and experimentation, I would say Japanese greens or any greens that have been steamed or blanched for its “kill green” becomes sweeter than pan fried or baked.
Truth be told, I was taught this method of using near boiling (~200 °F) water for green tea. It is better to use a vessel that pours faster than a teapot. I use either a houhin or a gaiwan. Both of which pour very fast and a houhin perhaps faster as you don’t have to line up the lid. You might also go for a shiboridashi, but I’ve never tried this method with one. Maybe try to do this on purpose and see. A hint: I would use a tad greener tea than you would usually use with a shiboridashi.