Published August 1, 2011. From Cook's Country.
The Japanese and Chinese have sipped green tea for more than a millennium. Suddenly, Westerners are drinking it, too. So which tastes best?
The Japanese and Chinese have sipped green tea for more than a millennium. Suddenly, Westerners are drinking it, too, and even using it to give astringent, slightly bitter flavor to custard, ice cream, and even pork roast. (It’s made from the same plants as black tea but is unfermented, which accounts for its distinctive flavor.) Connoisseurs have their pick among high-end selections, but cooking with $14-an-ounce tea makes about as much sense as cooking with a $100 bottle of wine. We wanted a tea we could both sip and cook with on occasion. Supermarket green teas are affordable, but would any suit our two needs? We set the tea kettles a-boiling and gathered 21 tasters to sample five nationally available supermarket brands of bagged green tea, tasting each on its own (following manufacturers’ brewing instructions) and in green-tea infused custard. None dazzled us, but we did identify a few that were both drinkable and imparted nice flavor to recipes. We liked the mild grassiness of one tea best, sipped, infused, and rubbed on Kalua Pork.