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Does green tea taste like grass?

Those of us who like green tea are often told that it tastes like grass. I always though that that was nonsense. But in the back of my mind, I thought to myself maybe they actually know what they are talking about? Maybe it really does taste like grass? I decided to find out.

First, some operational assumptions of my experiment:

  1. Similarity of taste is a symmetric relationship. Hence, if green tea tastes like grass, grass must also taste like green tea.
  2. When people compare green tea to grass, they mean fresh grass.

It can be very dangerous to ingest plants if you don't know if they are poisonous or not. Luckily, I know a botany PhD, and he told me that all grasses in Norway are safe to brew tea on.

Step 1. Harvest

I was considering to collect grass from the lawn, but since it has been mowed recently, it would be difficult or impossible for me to tell whether I was harvesting actual grass, or some kind of weed that could possibly be poisonous. So for safety I opted for a place farther out in the terrain, where I could see the entire plant.

Step 2. Cut up

Coarsely cut grass on cutting board I did not bother to cut the grass very finely, as shown in the picture.

Step 3. Brew

Casserole with tea strainer immersed in a light green liquid I had no idea what a reasonable brewing time and temperature for fresh grass is, so I tried eight minutes at sub-boiling temperature (about 85°C) for starters, as is recommended for green tea. It seemed to have worked fairly well.

Step 4. Taste

The grass that I harvested tasted nothing like green tea at all. It tasted like... well, taste is mostly smell anyway, so the aroma I sensed when chewing on fresh grass was about the same that you can smell on a freshly mowed lawn or in a silo.

Glass with bright green transparent liquid The grass tea, on the other hand, tasted completely different from both green tea and fresh grass. It was quite acidic, more so than any other tea I've tasted. It reminded me most of all of black currant toddy, but that description really does not do it justice — it was a quite remarkable taste, but neither pleasant nor unpleasant.


There is no valid basis at all for saying that green tea tastes like grass.

Brewing teas on grass is not as preposterous as it sounds, and it may be reasonable to try experimenting with different types of grasses.

[Tuesday, Aug 02, 2005 @ 02:07] | [] | # | G