http://www.flickr.com/photos/sass_face/4637213349/Spring is in the air! That means it’s time to break out the green teas.

I’ve always thought of green tea as my thinking tea. Brewed at a lower temperature, it is very soothing and relaxes the body and mind. I love to sip and inhale the sweet aroma as I ponder my various projects. I always set my leaves aside to re-steep again. This spring and summer, I plan to explore cold green teas and green tea blends. Living in Japan, I encountered cold bottled green teas.

My first day in Japan, everyone was drinking cold green tea in plastic bottles. I envisioned myself drinking several bottles a day to cool off in the hot August sun. It was not to be. I could not swallow the first sip. Later, I discovered I didn’t like the citric acid added to the tea. Manufacturers add citric acid to ready-made green teas to prevent the tea from “falling” or “clouding.” Green tea develops an unappealing gray cloud when left sitting for too long. A solution is to add an acid. In hot tea, we usually add lemon.

Last year, I cold brewed green tea. I loved it. Put a tablespoon of Japanese sencha in a quart-sized, glass pitcher, fill it with filtered cold water, and set it in the fridge overnight. The cold water slowly extracts the sweet flavor from the leaves. This iced tea can last up to two days in the refrigerator.

This year I am adding a new dimension to my cold-brewed teas – fresh fruits and vegetables. So far, I have tried cucumbers and sencha. Sweet cucumbers add a cool, refreshing quality to the brew. I love cucumbers and green tea, so I love this combination. Moroccan mint is also a great iced tea combination.

Moroccan mint is the basic tea served throughout Morocco with a lot of sugar. It is combination of gunpowder Chinese green tea and mint. Gunpowder is an intense, smoky, flavored green tea. It is called gunpowder, because the leaves are folded tightly and resemble gun pellets. The mint, which could be either spearmint or peppermint or both, adds a nice brightness and sweetness to this tea. I wonder what fruit or vegetable I could pair with it.

This article was originally posted in April of 2011.

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