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daffyduck
03-24-2007, 08:50 AM
I make a lot of green tea and I do it by steeping 15 tea bags at a time. It would seem that there must be a limit to how small a volume of water I could use before it would become saturated and no more tea would move from the leaves into the water. Is there any practical way to determine this in my home? I'd like to heat only as much water as I need for the steeping process. I dilute it to a final volume of two gallons with cold water as I drink it iced. Yeah, it's weak, but that's the lower limit for me of tea to water and have it still taste like tea to me.

My suspicion is that the smallest amount of water necessary to steep the 15 bags is pretty small. Like maybe a cup or so. In practice, it takes more than a cup of water to contain the 15 bags and I'm currently using 4 cups of water but I sometimes wonder if I'd extract more "tea" from the tea bags if I used more water for the steeping process or if I would be wasting tea bags if I used less water.

WhyNot
03-24-2007, 09:23 AM
How strong do you want it and why? And why, for Og's sake, are you using teabags to make bulk tea? Not only are they obscenely expensive per ounce, but they tend to be the stale dregs of the tea industry AND you can't get ideal water flow and chemical extraction around the paper. Get some good quality bulk green tea. Doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be bright green and you should see more whole leaf (might be loose, might be rolled into balls) than powdery stuff. Powder is bad.

Go get yourself a french press style coffemaker, any size you want. One of these guys. (http://www.thecoffeeplanet.net/Store/Details.asp?ProdID=147) Put bulk leaf tea in the bottom, fill with hot, but not boiling water and put the cover on. Give the plunger a quick up-n-down to make sure all your leaves are wet, and then leave it in the up position to steep. For green tea, you want a 3 minute steep, no longer or the bitter alkaloids overwhelm the antioxidants and caffeine. (translation: longer steeping yields icky bitter tea without any more of the good stuff) Push the plunger down, and there you go. 5 cups of perfect green tea.

As to ratio of tea to water, a simple herbal drinking tea is usually about 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of herb to 1 cup of water. Black tea sometimes up to a teaspoon per cup. A medicinal tea is generally 1 tablespoon of herb to a cup of water - about 5 or 6 times stronger. That's the dose I recommend for green tea for weight loss and blood sugar support. Your 15 tea bags are probably only about 3-5 medicinal doses, so I wouldn't do less than 3-5 cups of water for them. So you're intuiting about the right strength for your tea if you're using it medicinally.

If you're trying to make green tea more concentrate than that, you'll need special equipment to evaporate off water without losing your volatile oils and antioxidants. Probably what you'll end up with is green tea flavored water that's not terribly chemically active.

Hope this helps,
WhyNot, herbalist

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