I want to know the exact method of preparation and consumption of green tea. How much sugar can be used if recommended? Can I opt for honey instead? If so how much? How many cups can be consumed per day?
It depends very much on what kind of tea you're brewing and what you want out of it. Green tea is a huge category of different preparations of the basic tea leaf.
Therefore, it's not possible to give a specific method. You might not like how I like my tea, and the chances are extremely good that you don't have the same tea leaves anyway.
If you're brewing from a teabag be fairly brief. Teabags contain very small pieces of the tea leaf, and will start to produce some very bitter flavours quite quickly. You might like these, but since you're asking about amounts of sweetening I'm suspecting you probably won't, at least not at first. And they do tend to get rather dominant, preventing you enjoying the full set of flavours of the tea.
If you're brewing from whole leaves you're in for a much bigger treat as the flavour will generally be far superior. The temperature of water used to brew your tea will change the flavour, as will the steeping time (typically in the 1-5 minute range). Many tea suppliers recommend temperatures from 60-90C for various teas - this depends entirely on the character of the tea, and you might disagree with what the supplier thinks is best. Do experiment. Personally I do use water at the hotter end, but I let the kettle sit for a bit after boiling so it's dropped away from that super hot water which is so beloved of the traditional British cuppa.
Also, for whole leaf tea, keep the leaves - you can brew them a second time, maybe a third time, maybe a fourth time, and it'll be a bit different each time.
If you find it too bitter or dry you can add a bit of sweetening. It's entirely okay to do this if you want to. I'd be sparing though, you can always put more in, but if you put too much in you've wasted the whole cup. Your choice of sweetening affects the flavour of course - honey tastes of honey, but it's going to need a more assertive tea to stand up to it (in my opinion at least). Simple white sugar adds sweetness with very little flavour. I'm not sure I'd recommend brown sugar for any tea, but something punchy (probably not a green tea) might be able to handle it.
You should also bear in mind that if a tea is too bitter, brewing it next time with cooler water or for less time (or both) should reduce that.
I'd also advocate minimal sweetening so that you can gradually cut it back and get used to drinking green tea as-is. It's better for you (no calories!) and once you've got used to the bitter elements there is a vast wealth of flavours to be discovered.
You might like some of the blended teas, too - jasmine tea is well-known, and a good jasmine tea is fantastic (it's basically a good green tea infused with jasmine flowers - a good whole leaf jasmine tea has jasmine petals in it). Green tea with mint (often called Moroccan Mint in the UK) is great, far more satisfying than plain mint as the green tea provides something for the bright mint to sit on. I've also had great brews of green tea with chrysanthemum flowers, white tea with rose (and black tea with rose, actually), and green tea with toasted rice (yes, really).
This all makes it sound a bit intimidating I guess, so the thing to do to start with is simple:
- buy some good quality green tea leaves
- brew them for two to three minutes with water you've boiled and allowed to cool for a couple of minutes
- taste, think, sweeten a little if desired, taste again
In many countries where tea is grown, such as Japan, it is not proper to add any sweetener! However that being said, the best way to prepare tea is however you like it! The proper way to prepare, present, and consume tea depends on the culture you wish to emulate (England, China, Turkey, etc.).
What is important is that you are using fresh water for your tea. Using a tea with loose leaves will maximize the flavor, instead of the ground-up kind that comes in a teabag. Tea has become more popular in the United States, so if you live there, you can probably find loose leaf tea in the grocery store.
In terms of temperature, usually green tea is added to water that is below boiling, to avoid scorching the leaves, e.g., 170 degrees Fahrenheit (75 °C). However, it may be sufficient simply to remove your kettle from the stove before it reaches the boiling point. Again, the temperature can affect the taste, so you may prefer it to be more or less hot!
Another factor in the preparation of tea is the duration of the steeping. Longer steeping and you get stronger tea and more caffeine. So, experiment with the amount of time left steeping and see what you prefer! Loose leaf teas are great for this, since you can steep them multiple times and still extract more flavor out of them. The flavor changes each time you steep, with different compounds being absorbed from the tea in different amounts each time. Just be sure to throw them away after using them, because they will get moldy.
Usually the amount of tea consumed is chosen based on the desired level of caffeine consumption. Too many cups of tea and you may have trouble sleeping. Green tea is generally healthy and natural, so you shouldn't have to worry. In one extreme case, there once was a man who drank 4 liters of Earl Grey tea per day, which gave him muscle cramps, but those went away when he reduced his intake to 1–2 L per day! I only drink a couple of cups per day.
What green tea are you preparing? Is it from a tea bag or is it a loose leaf green tea? Generally, I recommend the following:
- Green tea bag: green tea made from a tea bag can sometimes be bitter, and adding sugar or honey is no problem at all. There's no exact amount then one's own preference, but avoid too much sugar for health.
- Loose leaf green tea: for loose leaf teas, one generally doesn't put sugar and enjoy the natural flavors. A loose tea that consists of broken or crushed leaves can still taste bitter. In such case, add some sweetener if you prefer. A full leaf or bud rich tea should have a natural sweet after taste by itself.
Other notes: If you must have sweeteners in your tea, it generally doesn't make much sense to spent money on high grade teas. From a health perspective, they're not much different from lower grades. If you're a pure tea drinker, make sure to explore the higher grade teas, you'll love them.