The Weight Of Green Tea

I do not know anything about tea.

People who know a lot about green tea told me that I could get a lot better tasting green tea by ordering it directly from Asia.

That is partially because unlike black tea, green tea is a “perishable” product. Time, exposure to air and exposure to light degrades the quality of green tea. Appreciating tea can get as complex as appreciating wine. The green tea cognoscenti I conversed with told me that Asian tea farmers have the advantage of centuries of experience and the right kind of environment. Many of the Asian companies that ship green tea directly to customers refrigerate their tea after harvesting it, and then air mail the tea in vacuum packed envelopes.

I ordered a “green tea beginner’s kit” from one such Japanese company ( yes, Japanese tea has been tested by disinterested parties to be safe from radiation poisoning ). I ordered the cheapest of this better quality tea, “Sakura Sencha”, $6.76 for 50 grams ( about 1.8 ounces ). This tea is of high enough quality that you can use each serving of tea leaves 3 times. I also selected a fancy Japanese airtight tea jar and an 8 fluid ounce clay pot especially designed for making Japanese green tea.

When I finally got it all, the instructions on the tea envelope called for using 0.6 grams of tea per ounce of water. I knew that “a cup” is 8 fluid ounces. No problems there, but I had no idea how many grams of tea an American tea spoon holds. I wasn’t about to weigh out tea leaves every single time I wanted to drink tea, so I asked for an approximation on a web board devoted to tea aficionados. I got answers all over the map.

Enter the new scale:
1_TheNewScale

According to wiki.answers.com a U.S. Quarter weighs 5.67 grams. This is where my directly out of box new scale is started from:
2_Weighing_A_US_Quarter

I had the intuition that shape matters. The Sakura Sencha green tea leaves are rolled into linear shapes and a round teaspoon may not fit as much as an oblong teaspoon. I did 3 weighings, one per each of these differently shaped teaspoons:
3_3_Teaspoons

I started off with the cheapo, battered, round, white plastic teaspoon I use at work, where I do most of my tea drinking:
4_Start_Round_Plastic_Spoon

I got 1.72 grams per teaspoon:
5_Weight_Round_Plastic_Spoon

Next, I moved on to a round steel teaspoon with a wider bowl:
6_Start_Round_Steel_Spoon

I got 1.85 grams per teaspoon:7_Weight_Round_Steel_Spoon

Finally, I moved on to a steel teaspoon with an oblong shape bowl:
8_Start_Oblong_Steel_Spoon

I got the highest weight, with the widest teaspoon, at 1.93 grams per teaspoon:
9_Weight_Oblong_Steel_Spoon

So, to make a cup ( 8 fluid ounces ) of Sankura Sencha Green Tea using 0.6 grams of tea leaves per 1 fluid ounce of water, I would need 4.8 grams of tea leaves.

Dividing that by the 1.72 grams per my cheapo plastic work teaspoon I get 2.79 teaspoons.

That sounds about right. Before I got the scale I found 3 cheapo plastic teaspoons to be slightly too strong and 2 of those teaspoons to be just about right.

HTH

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One thought on “The Weight Of Green Tea”

  1. thanks, this is very helpful! reading online, it’s not always clear whether “teaspoon” means standard American measure or just a small spoon for tea, and you make a great observation about the difference bowl shape makes. here you’ve given enough info for me to make reasonable estimates. thanks so much!

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