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I would like to start drinking green tea regularly.

Unfortunately I am much more of a coffee drinker than a tea drinker. On top of my general apathy towards tea I happen to think that green tea in particular tastes rather like grass. This seems worse when I oversteep it, but I pretty much always taste an unpalatable flavor. I have even experienced this flavor with green tea that contains other herbs for other flavor notes. Since I have good reasons for drinking green tea at the moment, I'm trying to get around them.

At the moment I'm masking the flavor with sugar, sometimes lemon juice, and non-dairy creamer. Is there something else that will counter the grassy flavor or at least mute it? If there is, why does it work?

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That is the taste of green tea! It's mostly terrible. I have no idea why anyone drinks the stuff. I think it's just become fashionable. Wait a few years and we'll have Mocha-Tea or something –  TFD Mar 14 '11 at 20:58
    
I believe many people want to drink green tea as it is so healthy, it's packed with antioxidants –  nixy Mar 16 '11 at 16:34
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Why are you trying desperately to drink something you evidently do not enjoy ? Why don't you start with black (generaly easier to western palates) and try to switch slowly to Oolongs less ans less oxydized ? –  Manur May 31 '11 at 16:40
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What green tea are you talking about ? The Chinese and the Japanese methods are quite different and generally produce aromas of different categories... –  Manur May 31 '11 at 16:41
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@TFD: I would seriously doubt you could call centuries-old Chinese and Japanese traditions something that has "just become fashionable"... –  nico Apr 28 '12 at 15:37

11 Answers 11

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Green tea is not to everyone's taste. You can try adding honey instead of sugar. As honey has more of a distinct flavour than just sugar it may help mask the green tea flavour more successfully. Another suggestion is to add some mint leaves if you're a fan of mint. If you're drinking green tea solely for health reasons the mint can be excellent for aiding digestion.

Certain tea companies also sell 'light' green tea. This can be more palatable, especially for people like yourself who don't like the taste of steeped green tea so changing your brand of tea might be helpful.

It may be that with perseverance you may acquire a taste for green tea (I personally used to hate camomile tea but continued to drink it every day and now it's my favourite).

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any idea what makes a 'light' green tea different? Does it have less of the actual green tea leaves? –  justkt Mar 14 '11 at 13:44
    
You might also try agave nectar instead of sugar. –  uncle brad Mar 14 '11 at 15:03
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I'm afraid I haven't been able to determine why it is labeled 'light', but it definitely tastes more subtle. Another key point I forgot to include is that it's vital not to use boiling water as it will burn the tea leaves, it is necessary to use water that is a little cooler. –  nixy Mar 16 '11 at 16:33

I made green tea for a Chinese friend of my wife's. Apparently I was doing it all wrong. Here's the quick and dirty version, which doesn't meet my Chinese friend's exacting standards, at least doesn't cause her to hit me over the head with a teapot.

  1. Boil water.
  2. Put boiled water in pot to warm it.
  3. When pot is warm, dump water out.
  4. Put in loose leaves.
  5. Just cover with boiling water.
  6. Immediately dump the water, retaining the now wet leaves.
  7. Now add the water for the tea.
  8. Steep for about a minute.
  9. Share and Enjoy.

I can't really tell the difference, but I don't drink that stuff.

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You can grow limone grass, aka lemongrass, and use it with the tea. The stronger you make it the better it will taste.

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My answer may be worst case scenario from your point of view, since the way I drink green tea introduces a number of other strong tastes, but here's how I do it, and it can in no way be described as a "grassy" taste (perhaps astringent or bitter, with a sour edge,but not "grassy")

I use matcha (powdered Japanese green tea). I mix 1 teaspoon of matcha with a tablespoon of lemon juice in the bottom of a mug. It becomes a bright green paste. I then bring a little more than a cup of water to a boil. I let the water cool for a few seconds, then pour it over the matcha. I add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and stir vigorously.

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First, I will to submit what is obvious trolling: Vodka!

Second, I will submit that just because you are steeping the tea does not mean that another infusion (or tincture for that matter) cannot be a source of flavoring. I suggest a small amount of rosemary, as odd as it might sound. Honey seems to be pretty popular. If honey doesn't improve it at least a little, it is probably crappy tea, as suggested above. If it can be found in a supermarket chain, it's probably crap. Also, if by chance you don't enjoy any kind of green tea, you could try oolong, which is only partially oxidized, placing it somewhere between green and black teas in terms of flavor, and assumedly benefit.

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My first green tea was TAZO Zen green tea. It's light and minty flavored. Another option to try is jasmine green tea - has a light, flowery flavor. I would also strongly recommend white tea. White tea comes from the same plant as green but is being shown to have even more antioxidants and health benefits. The taste is subtle and smooth without any grassiness. Good luck.

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What brand of "green tea" are you drinking? What grade of "green tea" are you drinking? Do they come in a paper tea bag? Loose leaf? Green tea has such a large range. At the bottom end, you have generic tea bags that are simply labeled "green tea", these I find to be extremely harsh and taste like well, tea bags and maybe even "grass". Not to mention, if you're drinking green tea for health reasons, these green teas probably aren't really given you as much as you could be getting...

I drink a fair amount of tea (as well as coffee), and currently in my cupboard I have teas where they are naturally overwhelmingly sweet (nothing added), to a stronger "tea" flavour, to many others. The place I would start isn't with additives, or brewing methods, but I'd go to a proper "tea" shop, and get a good loose leaf tea. I don't know if your area has a good chinatown, but there's bound to be a good tea shop there somewhere. Otherwise, even a more European influenced tea shop, should have a wide variety of green teas. Regardless of the tea shop, make sure they let you smell (waft with your hands or the lid of the canister, some shops get grumpy if you stick your nose in) the tea. Does it smell grassy? Does it smell pleasant?

If your tea tastes grassy, the solution isn't to mask it. It's to find tea that doesn't taste like grass.

Edit: I should also add that to be careful of how you steep green tea. It's much more prone to oversteeping than a dark tea. It should be steep for less time and at a lower temperature. No hotter than around 90C for 2-4 minutes I'd say.

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Often even 80°C –  nico Apr 28 '12 at 15:32

If you don't like green tea, perhaps you should research other, more palatable sources of catechins (which are reputed to be the active ingredient, and unless you're just after the caffeine, are what you're looking for).

Dark chocolate, the skins of dark fruits (cherries, blueberries, apples, blackberries), and oolong and black tea all have catechins. They are not so concentrated as green tea--typically half the concentration per serving, but if they're more palatable to you they might be a better place to look.

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I'll have to do some research into what, exactly, is supposed to cause the particular benefit I'm after, which is not one I saw cited in any of the quick google links I've seen on catechins. Thanks for the tip, though! –  justkt Mar 14 '11 at 14:28
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Bear in mind that if the benefit you're seeking is hard to find associated with green tea, that may be because few people think it has that effect. It might be that you're burning up your tastebuds on tea you hate for no reason. Not saying that's so, but saying that you should look carefully at health claims when you're dealing with unregulated things like herbs and teas. –  bikeboy389 Mar 14 '11 at 14:36
    
definitely agreed. In this case there will be a measurable affect that I will either see or not see in a short time, so I'll know soon! –  justkt Mar 14 '11 at 14:42

I am not a big fan of green tea either. A few years ago I tried a random raspberry green tea I picked up in a day-old-bread store. I really liked it. Then later I found that Bigelow has a Constant Comment green tea. Well - I had to try it, as Constant Comment is my favorite tea anyway. I loved it. They actually have a variety of green tea. Even more flavorful than that is the Earl Grey green tea.

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what makes these green teas better than standard? Why do you think the flavors work? –  justkt Mar 14 '11 at 14:14

I have added a drop of vanilla essence a few times when I don't want a strong taste of green tea. It almost tricks the palate into believing that you've sweetened the tea without sugar. Only add a drop though - it can be VERY overpowering!

If you can't find vanilla essence, vanilla sugar could be a substitute.

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is vanilla essence the same as vanilla extract? Vanilla oil? Something else? –  justkt Mar 14 '11 at 14:05
    
@justkt: According to some sources, essences are highly-concentrated extracts and usually contain no alcohol. Although I found some instances of "vanilla essence" being equivalent to the extract - seems to depend on where you are. –  Aaronut Mar 14 '11 at 19:21
    
I've always been recommended vanilla extract over vanilla essence. –  nixy Mar 14 '11 at 21:33
    
FWIW, I've used both vanilla essence and vanilla extract. The taste in such a small quantity is pretty well the same. In Australia, vanilla essence is actually the one with the alcohol base and is cheaper. The manufacturer of both say the vanilla extract is "a concentrate from real vanilla beans". It's been made with fructose and glucose from cane sugar. –  KimbaF Mar 15 '11 at 19:27

There are a lot of teas commercially available that are "green tea and something". A lot of the time, the "something" gives a completely different flavour to the tea.

I find that jasmine in green tea causes the tea to taste of jasmine rather than green tea. It can work also with camomile, lemon, lemongrass, ginger or mint.

It may also help to use honey instead of sugar, because it has more of its own flavour.

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I have a green tea and pomegranate that didn't taste at all like pomegranate. Maybe one of the other flavors will be stronger. I will definitely look into trying honey. –  justkt Mar 14 '11 at 13:43

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