How to Brew Tasty Japanese Green Tea

January 21, 2017

How to Brew Tasty Japanese Green Tea

Art of brewing Japanese Green Tea

Japanese green tea can be brewed in a number of ways. In this article, we will go over the Simple Way and the Advanced Way for brewing tasty green tea.

As you know, Japanese green tea can be categorized in two major types. Sencha and Matcha (See this article for the details about the differences), so we have segmented this article is in two parts.  Click on a link to jump to the specific part you want to read. Enjoy!

SenchaMatcha

Part 1 - How to Brew Tasty Sencha

SenchaSencha is steamed form of Japanese green tea which is usually consumed by steeping with teapot.

The Simple way is how most Japanese people consume green tea every day; the Advanced Way is what is being followed by professional green tea producers who recommends the best approach for brewing the most tasty Japanese green tea.

We recommend to start with the simple way, and enjoy the approach for the Advance Way after trying out simple ways to appreciate the difference in taste and aroma that it brings.

How to Brew Tasty Japanese Green Tea - The Simple Way

This approach does not require any special equipment such as tea pot. You can use any type of mesh strainer to filter the green tea.

  1. Dissolve 1-2 teaspoon of powder into 8 Oz of hot water. We recommend about 175°F for most common green tea.

  2. Wait for 60-120 seconds  (Please follow steeping guide on the product for specific time based on type of tea.)

  3. Use mesh strainer to filter out the green tea leave and serve hot
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How to Brew Tasty Japanese Green Tea - The Advanced Way

Fukamushi Tea Pot (Japanese Deep Steam Green Tea Pot)

 1. Selecting the right tea pot

This approach requires a Japanese Tea Pot. There are different types of tea pots, but for our green tea which are deep steamed green tea (Fukamushi-cha), we recommend Fukamushi teapot which is made specifically for Deep Steam Green Tea.

Characteristic of Fukamushi tea pot is that it has finer mesh to be able to capture finer tea leaves as Fukamushi tea usually contains finer tea leaves than other types of green tea.

The picture shown is 12Oz Fukamushi Tea Pot.  You can purchase Fukamushi Tea pot here.

If you do not have access to Fukamushi Tea Pot, you can use any type of tea pots, but try to find ones with finer mesh.

Finer mesh works for most type of green tea such as gyokuro as long as it is not powdered, so we always recommend finer mesh teapot. 

Pro Tip: There is a kind of Japanese teapot which can make your green tea tastes better.  Click here to read article about the teapot here.

  2. Selecting and boiling water the right way

Water is essential when brewing green tea. It is the best to use soft water with less mineral to get the best result. Hard water with mineral breaks down elements in green tea which breaks the taste.

If you have access to water softer filtering system, use water filtered by them. If using bottled water, do not use the ones with "Added Mineral". Evian tends to be recommended ones as they are known for soft water.

See my other article "Everything you need to know about Water and Japanese Green Tea" for more detail about how to select water for your tea. 

Yuzamashi - Technique for Water Temperature

Boil water until 212°F for 4-5 minutes and cool down to 175°F.  By boiling water first, it removes the smell of chloride. (Please note that our product page has different recommended temperature based on type of tea between 175°F - 185°F; however, 175°F can be the most common and standard temperature that would work for any type of our green tea) This approach in Japanese is called "yuzamashi" which translates to "cooled-down" water.

Green tea and japanese tea pot

3. Put green tea

Put one spoon of deep-steamed green tea leaves (about 1-2 teaspoon) in to the tea pot. (1-2 teaspoon is good for 2~3 people, approximately 1 teaspoon is good for 1 person )

Please adjust the amount of tea leaves according to your favor and the tea pot which is using.

 

Hot water for japanese green tea

4. Put hot water

Pour boiled water (8-10 Oz) which has cooled into the tea pot.

Trick is to fill the tea pot with 70% full of hot water. By doing so, it spreads the scent to the remaining 30 percent of the tea pot which then pours in to the tea cups.

Rotate the tea pot

5. Rotate tea pot

Rotate the tea pot slowly for about 60 seconds. This allows green tea to open up and soak through hot water evenly.

Pouring Japanese Green Tea

6. Pour green tea to cup

When pouring green tea to multiple tea cups, do not pour one by one (cup 1-> cup 2-> cup 3). By doing so, green tea in cup1 is lighter than cup 3 since the darker element of green tea tends to sit at the bottom of the tea.

Pour little by little by rotating each cup. (cup 1->cup 2-> cup 3-> cup 1-> cup 2-> cup 3). For 370cc tea pot in the cup, rotate about 3-4 times between cups. This action makes each cups to taste the same.

Use til last drip for green tea

7. Pour until the last drop

Please pour to the last drop. The later drops tends to be darker in color. The last drops have the most amount of aroma and elements so you do not want to miss out on the best part.

Enjoy Japanese Green Tea

8. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy our mellow and tasty Japanese Green Tea poured with traditional Japanese way.

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How to Brew Cold Japanese Green Tea 

  1. Dissolve 3-4 teaspoon of powder into 30 Oz of cold water.  For best result, use filtered water, bottled water. Alternatively, you can boil water and let it cool down until room temperature. 

  2. Keep in refrigerator for 3 hours or more. Key point is to use longer time to disolve. This way, sweetness increases, and it does not break down theanine and vitamine C.  For best result, let it sit for overnight. 

  3. Stair the water first, then use mesh strainer to filter out the green tea leave and serve cold.  

Japanese Green Tea Cold

I have written an entire article about how to cold-brew Japanese green tea. You can read more here or click on the image below.  

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Other Points to Consider (Sencha)

Enjoy the Second Infusion

In Japan, it is common practice to do 2nd infusion to get 2nd cup. You can use the same green tea after pouring the first cup, and infuse one more time. The first infusion is called "Issenme", the second infusion is called "Nissenme". In order to get tastier 2nd infusion follow below steps.

  • After the infusion, open the top of the tea pot and let go the hotness inside the pot. If you don't do so, the tea leaves inside the pot get warmer and cause to reduce the taste in the 2nd infusion.

  • Follow above steps except that you want to wait for 10 seconds rather than 60 seconds after pouring hot water. Use higher temperature for the 2nd fusion.

Relationship between tea and temperature of water

When the temperature of water is high, green tea gets bitter and change the balance of the taste. So, it is important to boil water and cool it for some extent based on the bitterness you prefer.

When the temperature of water is higher than 175°F, the taste gets bitter and has more astringent.

When the temperature of water is below 140°F, the taste is less bitter.

See my other article "Everything you need to know about Water and Japanese Green Tea" for more detail about how to select water for your tea. 

Oxygen is the enemy to your tea - Store your tea properly

How you store your tea is very important to make the most out of your tea.  Here is an article explaining detail about the best way of storing tea. 

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Part 2 How to Brew Tasty Matcha 

Matcha

Unlike Sencha, Matcha is a powdered green tea that is grown and harvested in a more labor-intensive way to gain a unique quality of flavor, caffeine, and nutritional benefits.  (Click here to learn more) Matcha is used in all Japanese tea ceremonies.

In this section, I will first show you the traditional way of preparing matcha, then will introduce you to a varieties of ways to enjoy them.


Traditional Matcha Preparation - Koicha vs Usucha

There are two forms of matcha used in a Japanese tea ceremony. The first is usucha, which is a thin green tea matcha. Usucha is the common form of matcha used during a daily tea ceremony. Usucha is harvested from buds and leaves of the tea plant.

The second form is koicha, which is a thick green tea matcha. Koicha is typically used in more formal Japanese ceremonies. Koicha is typically hand harvested from the choicest buds of older tea plants.

Both forms of matcha have a unique flavor and tend to be full-bodied, with a luxurious and grassy essence. But keep in mind that koicha matcha never can be created from usucha matcha. We recommend that you first try matcha usucha until you become accustomed to the deeper flavor of koicha matcha.

Usucha matcha and koicha matcha are made using similar utensils, but each has a slightly different process, resulting in the exclusive texture and flavor. The following gives you a step by step instruction on how to make delicious Japanese matcha.



Usucha Matcha Steps (Traditional Way):

UsuchaUsucha is harvested from buds and leaves of the tea plant.

Step 1.
Preheat your tea bowl by adding hot water. Place matcha bamboo whisk tips into water and let set (do not immerse the whisk completely – just the tips).

Step 2.
When your tea bowl is heated thoroughly, remove bamboo whisk and water from tea bowl. Dry tea bowl with linen cloth.

Step 3.
Measure approximately 1/3 cup boiling water (70 ml or 2.3 oz) into a separate bowl and allow to cool to approximately 160°F (71°C) to 185°F (85°C) – here you can use a thermometer to cool the water to your preference.

Step 4.
Measure approximately 1 ½ to 2 scoops (approximately 1 ½ to 2 tsp or 2 grams) of matcha powder with bamboo scoop or ladle, placing into matcha powder sifter. Sift powder into tea bowl, gently shaking and spinning powder with ladle to remove any powder clumps.

Step 5.
Once water has cooled to the correct temperature, pour slowly into tea bowl.

Step 6.
Hold tea bowl in one hand and take whisk in the other hand. Whisk matcha and water rapidly and in an “M” and “W” pattern motion (left to right and up to down) until liquid has a thick foam on top with lots of tiny bubbles at the surface.

Step 7.
Pour matcha tea into a tea bowl or tea cup.

Step 8.
Enjoy tasty Japanese matcha - usucha.

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Koicha Matcha Steps (Traditional Way):

KoichaKoicha is typically hand harvested from the choicest buds of older tea plants

Step 1.
Preheat your tea bowl by adding hot water. Place matcha bamboo whisk tips into water and let set (do not immerse the whisk completely – just the tips).

Step 2.
When tea bowl is heated thoroughly, remove bamboo whisk and water from tea bowl. Dry tea bowl with linen cloth.

Step 3.
Measure approximately 1/4 cup boiling water (40 ml or 1.3 oz) into a separate bowl and allow to cool to approximately 160°F (71°C) to 185°F (85°C) – here you can use a thermometer to cool the water to your preference.

Step 4.
Measure approximately 3 to 4 scoops (3 to 4 tsp or 4 to 5 grams) of matcha powder with bamboo scoop or ladle, placing into matcha powder sifter. Sift powder into tea bowl, gently shaking and spinning powder with ladle to remove any powder clumps.

Step 5.
Once water has cooled to the correct temperature, pour ½ of water slowly into tea bowl (this is important to avoid clumping).

Step 6.
Hold tea bowl in one hand and take whisk in the other hand. Whisk matcha and water slowly and in a kneading and circular pattern, until liquid has become a thick and smooth consistency.

Step 7.
Add remaining hot water and whisk slowly until smooth. There should be no foam on top.

Step 8.
Pour matcha tea into a tea bowl or tea cup.

Step 9.
Enjoy tasty Japanese matcha – koicha.

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Quick Cheat Sheet for Matcha Measurements

Here are cheat sheets summarizing the differences between koicha and usucha

Usucha:

  • 1/3 cup boiling water (70 ml or 2.3 oz)
  • 160°F (71°C) to 185°F (85°C)
  • 1 ½ to 2 scoops (approximately 1 ½ to 2 tsp or 2 grams)


Koicha:

  • 1/4 cup boiling water (40 ml or 1.3 oz)
  • 160°F (71°C) to 185°F (85°C)
  • 3 to 4 scoops (3 to 4 tsp or 4 to 5 grams)
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Other Points to Consider (Matcha)

  • Drink the matcha tea immediately after it is prepared, as the matcha powder can settle to the bottom of the tea bowl.
  • Make sure to allow your water to cool after boiling, or matcha will be bitter.
  • Make sure to whisk the matcha tea completely, or matcha will be bitter.
  • Make sure to whisk usucha matcha until a thick foam with tiny bubbles appears so the flavor is not bitter.
  • Make sure to whisk koicha matcha so it is smooth with no foam or froth when complete.
  • Make sure your matcha powder is sifted into the tea bowl to aver clumps
  • If your usucha matcha does not froth, check to make sure you have used sufficient matcha powder or too much water
  • If your usucha matcha does not froth check to make sure you have whisked enough
  • Store unused matcha powder in a dark and cool place, and use opened matcha as quickly as possible to maintain freshness
  • Usucha bamboo whisks typically have 50 to 125 thin prongs
  • Koicha bamboo whisks typically have 32 to 48 thick prongs
  • Matcha contains a higher level of caffeine than other teas. Unlike coffee, however, matcha is absorbed slowly by the body and gives a slower, more consistent level of energy (6 to 8 hours). Additionally, matcha does not typically produce the negative effects, such as the “jitters”, associated with caffeine.
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How to Enjoy Matcha - Non-Traditional Way

Now that we have covered the traditional ways, here’s where it gets more interesting.  Matcha can be used in variety of ways and we have many articles exploring different ways of using matcha in non-traditional ways.  Here are some popular ones. 

how to enjoy matcha

FRESH HEALTHY RECIPE - MANGO BUBBLE TEA WITH GREEN TEA

Matcha isn’t just delicious to drink. Healthful Japanese matcha is an incredible addition to make unique matcha recipes from your simple regular recipes. Now that you know how to create tasty Japanese matcha, try more delicious matcha recipes that include the healthy benefits and unique flavor of tasty Japanese green tea matcha.

For more delicious ways to try tasty Japanese matcha in cooking, take a look at my book, Cook With Matcha & Green Tea.


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If you have ever thought that Green Tea is an “acquired taste” or that it is “too bitter” to enjoy, we’re here to change your mind! We want everyone to experience the health benefits of Green Tea and show you that this can be an amazing, refreshing, and delicious drink when made correctly. With just a few tips on how to brew this powerful leaf we can change your mind about the taste and enjoyment of drinking Green Tea.

Don’t miss out on the health benefits of tea!

  • Improve health
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We know that you will love this tips to brewing tea and getting the most flavor and elegance out of every cup.  Sign up for Free Japanese Green Tea Club and get this great informative manual on brewing green tea. You will learn what it is that makes it one of the most popular beverages in the world.

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