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A Beginner's Guide to Brewing Green Tea

A Beginner's Guide to Brewing Green Tea

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Green tea is the most popular variety of tea in Japan and China, but is notoriously difficult to brew since it turns bitter so easily. Below, we’ve got all of the secrets to brewing that elusive perfect cup. All teas, aside from herbal varieties, are made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Green tea is different from most as it is very lightly oxidized after picking, allowing it to retain its natural flavor — bringing out those grass and vegetable notes. However, it also retains more bitter tannins which are easily released, making it more difficult to brew.

Check out our A Beginner's Guide to Brewing Green Tea (Slideshow)

To get to that perfect cup, there are just a few things to keep in mind. These rules are for whole-leaf loose teas only — pre-bagged teas and powdered teas such as matcha require different treatment. Brewing instructions are mostly the same regardless of the country of origin. Most good teas come packaged with instructions for the ideal time, temperature, and amount of tea to use — when in doubt, always follow these to the letter.

Use good water. Ideally, you want real spring water, which can be found at any grocery store. If the bottle says it’s from a municipal source, that’s just tap water with a fancy label — try and find one from an actual spring. If you don’t have any spring water, distilled or filtered water are good second choices.

Keep an eye on the temperature. In general, the higher the quality of the green tea, the lower the temperature you’ll want to use for brewing. For instance, a nice Gyokuro would be brewed at 122 - 145°F, but a lower quality Sencha might be brewed around 175°F. A major exception is pan-roasted teas, such as Longjing (Dragon Well), which often require a slightly higher temperature. In general, very few greens are brewed above 185°F, as tannins are released above that temperature.

Using an electric tea kettle with a programmable temperature is recommended because it just makes tea-brewing much easier, but a normal kettle and a thermometer will work. If you need to reduce the temperature, you can pour the water between containers several times — it’s far easier to control the temperature this way than by adding cold water.

Always make sure to rinse your teaware with hot water before brewing tea in it, and keep your cups warm as well. Pouring hot water into a room-temperature container will cool it by as much as twenty degrees, which will affect your tea brewing.

Pay attention to the time. Most teas will only be brewed for 1-3 minutes, again depending on quality. Some high end teas may only require 30 seconds! Once the tea is done brewing, always immediately remove the leaves from the tea. Using a timer is a good idea — the one on your phone will work for this.

The actual container you brew the tea in does not matter as much as these other rules. You can brew great tea in a normal teapot with a strainer basket, a porcelain Gaiwan bowl, or a Yixing clay teapot — though the latter is definitely the preferred method for releasing the best flavors. Similarly, what you drink your tea out of isn’t quite as important — but good ceramic is preferred.

The amount of tea you’ll use will vary, but generally a tablespoon or less for a six ounce container is common. In general, too much tea won’t dramatically hurt the flavor, but too little won’t allow the flavor to blossom. However, most teas can be steeped several times.

Check out our step-by-step tea brewing process here.

There are four main types of traditional caffeinated tea: black, white, green, and oolong. All caffeinated tea comes from two varieties of the same plant, an evergreen shrub native to Asia, called Camellia sinensis.

The Camellia sinensis sinensis (Chinese tea) variety is native to China and is used to create green and white teas. It thrives in cool temperatures and high elevations and grows commonly on mountain slopes. It produces a sweeter, milder taste associated with green and white teas.

The Camellia sinensis assamica (Assam or Indian tea) variety is native to the Assam region in northern India. It has bigger leaves and thrives in rainy, warm temperatures. It’s used to create black and oolong teas, which have a stronger, more robust flavor.

Young leaves are harvested by hand and processed in a myriad of ways to create black, oolong, green, and white teas. The variations in color, flavor, aroma, and levels of both caffeine and antioxidants are achieved by climate, harvest, oxidation, fermentation, and aging.

If this seems like a lot of info to navigate just to pick out your favorite brew, here is a very simplified rule of thumb—the darker the tea the more caffeine and strong flavor, the lighter the tea the more antioxidants and delicate taste.

Black tea

Made with fermented leaves, black teas are robust and have the highest caffeine content. Popular varieties like English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Chai have black tea as their base. And many black teas have enough flavor to stand up to milk if so you desire.

While common, black teas can still be special. Pu-erh is a wonderful variety of black tea from the Yunnan province of China that has been fermented, compressed into cakes, and aged. This aging process gives Pu-erh a smooth, dark, and rich flavor that will continue to change as you chip away at the cake over time.

Oolong tea

While not as common in the U.S. as green or black varieties, oolong teas are highly versatile and vast. Oolong teas have been partially fermented and roasted but that’s putting it very simply—the leaves are often manipulated by bruising, tossing, twisting, or rolling.

Those methods of processing create flavor that varies from bright and fresh, like “Jade” oolongs, to dark and nutty with notes of chocolate or honey.

Green tea

Green tea has picked up in popularity in the U.S. over the last 30 years, often touted for its positive health effects and antioxidant content. Green tea is often roasted or steamed after harvesting to halt the oxidation process. This preserves antioxidants, flavonoids, and the familiar fresh, vegetal notes. But like oolong, there is a wide spectrum of flavor and body.

Green teas can run the gamut from bright and grassy to soft, fruity, and naturally sweet and contain less caffeine than black teas.

White tea

The least processed of all teas, white teas are neither fermented nor roasted and are barely oxidized at all, leaving their antioxidants and polyphenols largely intact.

White teas often have a silvery fuzz still on the leaves from their delicate handling and should also be treated gently when brewing with a lower temperature of water. White teas are naturally lower in caffeine than other types of tea.

Have You Been Brewing Green Tea Wrong This Whole Time?

You know how to make tea, right? It's not exactly rocket science: boil water, pour it over tea bag or leaves, steep to desired strength.

But. This is not how green tea should be made.

You Can Make This Herbal Tea from Anything

“Never put boiling water on green tea," says Rona Tison, senior vice president of corporate relations for Japanese tea maker ITO EN. "It will bring out the bitterness.”

In fact, the way to prepare green tea depends on which kind you have. Read on to find out more about the different types of green tea and how to make it right.

All tea comes from the same plant. But with green tea, the leaves are quickly heated after harvesting, which halts the oxidation and fermentation that would otherwise turn them dark.

In Japan and China, the two countries most famous for green tea, the processing methods differ, which, along with terroir and growing practices, factor into the immense variety of styles and flavors of green tea.

In China, the freshly picked tea leaves are pan-fired, which adds roasted, earthy notes.

In Japan, the leaves are typically steamed, resulting in more fragile, herbaceous teas, says Rona Tison, senior vice president of corporate relations for Japanese tea maker ITO EN.

It’s lower in caffeine and higher in a particular type of antioxidants called catechins, which have been linked to a host of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other ills.

Ultimate Hydrating Iced Tea

Matcha is a specific type of green tea that is ground into a fine powder. It can be used to make ice cream and doughnuts and lattes and more. But matcha powder is a lot more expensive than most other green tea, and can be harder to find. Since it's in powder form, it's also prepared differently than loose or bagged green tea leaves, as explained below.

Buy it as you would any tea—from a reputable source, and not in warehouse club–level quantities.

Look for fresh, vibrant leaves. “The brighter green, the better. If it looks sort of like hay, it’s not going to be as flavorful and fresh,” says Tison.

Avoid green tea that's stored and sold in glass canisters. Light exposure degrades the leaves. And to that end, at home, keep your tea in an airtight, preferably metal, container, away from moisture and heat.

It’ll naturally oxidize once you open and start brewing it, but if it's fresh and you’ve followed the above advice, green tea will keep for at least six months.

The Secret Ingredient Japanese Cooks Use for Super-Fast Dinners

Here are some of the most popular and a few lesser-known types of green tea.

Sencha. The classic and most consumed green tea.

Bancha. An everyday tea made from the later harvest of tea leaves.

Shincha. The opposite of bancha, a lively, fresh-tasting tea made from the first harvest of the first spring crop. “It’s like Beaujolais Nouveau,” says Tison.

Hojicha. Made from roasted leaves, and much lower in caffeine than other green teas.

Genmaicha. A blend of traditional sencha and roasted rice, which adds a nutty flavor.

Kukicha. Made from the leaf stems and stalks. "It’s not as refined," says Tison.

Gyokuro. The finest, richest, sweetest of all green teas. Tea plants are covered with shade a few weeks before harvesting, which amps up their green color and flavor. After steaming, the leaves are rolled into very fine needles.

Tencha. Also shade-grown and used primarily to make matcha, by grinding only the leafy parts into a fine powder.

Gunpowder. A strong-flavored tea with dark, pellet-shaped leaves.

Jasmine. A popular scented tea, traditionally made by layering jasmine blooms over the tea leaves. Commercial brands nowadays might use jasmine oil or extract.

Dragonwell (longjing, Lung Ching). One of the most famous and prized Chinese teas, with flat, sword-shaped, light green leaves and a gentle sweetness.

Pi Lo Chun (biluochun). Fragrant and vegetal in flavor. The leaves look like tiny, tightly curled snails.

For most Japanese teas, stay in the 175- to 180-degree range with Chinese teas, you can go up a few degrees. (Don't feel like taking your water's temperature every morning? Bring the kettle to a gentle boil, turn it off, and let it cool for a few minutes before pouring. The temperature should be about right for the heartier teas.) For more delicate teas such as Gyokuro, the water temperature should be even lower, say, 140 degrees, Tison says.

Steeping times can vary depending on the type of tea and personal preference, but again, as logic goes, more delicate teas get a shorter steeping time. (Matcha is the exception. It is not steeped but rather whisked with water.)

Generally, figure one minute for Japanese teas and two to three minutes for Chinese teas.

How to Make Green Tea That Tastes like Starbucks

It’s no secret that Starbucks makes some delicious green tea. This is likely something that they picked up from their acquisition of the Teavana franchise, which had a specialized section for green tea. Luckily, fans of Starbucks have found a way to make their sweetened iced green tea beverage at home.

To begin, many green tea advocates recommend specifically using the Tazo brand of tea. The Tazo brand is sold in almost every grocery store and is usually extremely cheap to purchase. Next, you will need to find a sweetener to add to your tea. This can change a bit depending on your preferences but everything from cane to brown sugar will work perfectly for this recipe.

You will need to get six bags of the Tazo tea ready for brewing. Next, simply add-in two quarts of water and let it steep. While the tea is steeping, mix together one cup of sugar and one cup of water to make the syrup for your drink. Add in syrup until you find the perfect level of sweetness for your drink, and don’t forget the ice cubes.

The 8 Best Green Tea Varieties (And How to Prepare Them)

1. Japanese Sencha Green Tea

Sencha is the most popular green tea in Japan, accounting for about 80% of Japanese green tea production. In English, the literal translation is “tea that’s infused in water.”

If you’ve traveled to Japan before, you were probably served this tea at mealtime and during social events. Organic sencha (no additives) is well-loved for its sweet, grassy flavor with undertones of pine and summer fruit.

Most sencha is steamed briefly during processing, resulting in a yellow color and a vibrant flavor. Varieties of sencha that are steamed longer tend to have a dark color, with bold earthy flavors.

To make sencha from loose leaves, try steeping it at 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit (76.5-79.5 degrees Celsius) for one minute. For a mellower flavor, brew it at 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73-74 degrees Celsius) for one and a half minutes.

2. Matcha Green Tea

Matcha is a strong, full-bodied green tea made from specially prepared, finely powdered tea leaves. Most leaves used for making matcha powder are shade-grown, and the powder is labor-intensive to make, so matcha often commands a premium price.

Because you ingest this green tea powder along with the liquid, matcha is unparalleled in its nutritional value. It has an astringent, vegetal initial taste that matures into a smooth, lingering sweetness.

To prepare matcha, add a teaspoon of the powder to three to five ounces of 175 degrees Fahrenheit (79.5 degree Celsius) water in a wide-brimmed bowl and whisk it until it’s well-blended with a foamy upper layer.

Traditional matcha preparation involves a bamboo whisk called a Chasen, but you can use a kitchen whisk or even a spoon if you don’t own a Chasen. Start by whisking slowly from the bottom to break up clumps of matcha, then whisk the top half quickly with “W”-shaped strokes.

When you see foam, it’s ready to sip! For best flavor, drink matcha tea within three minutes.

Here’s our recommendation for the best ceremonial grade matcha:

Pique Sun Goddess Matcha

The world’s purest matcha, crafted to the highest standards of the finest ceremonial grade matcha. Designed for mindfulness. A mug full of zen.

3. Jasmine Green Tea

As one of the most famous scented green teas, jasmine green tea first became popular in 17th-century China during the Qing Dynasty. Jasmine green tea is a true tea, but unlike sencha and matcha, it’s a type of flavored green tea. Green tea leaves are infused with the scent of jasmine flowers during oxidation.

The soft, smooth scent and flavor of jasmine green tea is light and grassy, with a lingering floral note. Usually, jasmine blossoms aren’t included in the final product, but in some cases they are. If you want maximum floral flavor, buy green tea with jasmine blossoms included.

Steep jasmine tea for two to four minutes at 175 degrees Fahrenheit (79.5 degrees Celsius). Longer steeping times will yield more jasmine scent and taste.

Here’s our recommendation for a high-quality jasmine green tea:

Pique Jasmine Green Tea

Catechins in full bloom. Clean energy + gut support. Exotic fragrance to transport the senses.

4. Genmaicha Green Tea

Genmaicha originated centuries ago when Buddhist monks supposedly mixed their green tea with browned rice that was left in the bottom of kitchen cauldrons.

This rich, full-bodied green tea combines tea leaves with popped rice kernels for a unique, toasty flavor.

If you enjoy the taste of coffee, you’ll love Genmaicha. Those with discerning palates may notice that the toasty flavor of the rice can tame the astringent qualities of the tea.

Steep Genmaicha for two minutes in water that’s 175-185 degrees Fahrenheit (79.5 to 85 degrees Celsius).

5. Gunpowder Green Tea

Gunpowder green tea is a form of Chinese tea where each leaf is rolled into a small pellet. It gets its English name from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. Another name for gunpowder tea is zhū chá, which translates to “pearl tea.”

Production of gunpowder tea dates back to 7th-century China, during the Tang Dynasty. In the past, individual leaves were hand-rolled, but today only the highest-grade gunpowder tea is rolled by hand. Rolling prevents damage to the leaves during transport and helps them retain their character and flavor longer.

Most gunpowder tea is bold with a slightly smoky flavor and may have pleasing oaky notes as well.

The ideal water temperature for gunpowder green tea is 158-176 degrees Fahrenheit (70-80 degrees Celsius). You can brew it multiple times–one minute for the first and second steep, and longer for the third.

6. Longjing (Dragon Well) Green Tea

Longjing or Dragon Well tea is the most famous, highest-quality hand-produced green tea from China. It originates from Longjing Village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

While the very best Longjing green tea commands exorbitant prices, you can still find excellent Longjing green tea for affordable prices.

This tea has a mellow, sweet, nutty flavor that contrasts pleasantly with its vegetal undertones and full body. You may notice hints of chestnut and sweet pea as you sip Longjing.

Steep this special tea in water that’s 167-176 degrees Fahrenheit (75-80 degrees Celsius) for one to three minutes.

7. Gyokuro Green Tea

Gyokuro tea is a shaded green tea variety from Japan. The literal translation of Gyokuro is “jade dew.”

Before harvest, these plants are covered for three to six weeks to boost the production of chlorophyll and other plant nutrients.

This tea is characterized by its bright, flavorful, vegetal tasting notes and creamy body. People also describe Gyokuro as having a “marine” taste resembling a hint of seaweed.

Compared to most green teas, Gyokuro requires a much lower steeping temperature. When you brew it, use water that’s 122-140 degrees Fahrenheit (50-60 degrees Celsius) for a maximum of two to three minutes, or until the leaves unfurl.

8. Mint Green Tea

Mint green tea is a special variety of flavored green tea. It uses chopped mint to enhance the fragrance and underlying qualities of the tea leaves.

This type of green tea is refreshing and invigorating, with a sweet taste and aroma. (No sweeteners needed!) The mint is both soothing and enlivening, and enhances the stimulating qualities of tea. Without a doubt, mint green tea is one of the most delicious teas for summer, especially when served with ice.

Steep it at 170 degrees Fahrenheit (76.5 degrees Celsius) for one to three minutes, or overnight in cold water for iced tea. Or, for a more convenient alternative, try high-quality organic mint green tea crystals.

How to Make Green Tea: Our Top Tips

If you’re hoping for a delicious cup of green tea, loaded with health benefits, you’ll need to start with high-quality leaves.

Loose tea is usually fresher than bagged tea. And, because the tea is allowed to breathe, it’s often tastier, too.

Keep in mind that tea doesn’t last forever, even though it’s dried. If your supply has been sitting around in the cupboard for months untouched, your best bet is to buy a new bag.

You can extend the life of your green tea, regardless of quality, by storing it in a sealed airtight container out of direct sunlight.

Serving Size

You’ll want to start with one teaspoon of tea leaves (or one teabag) for every cup of water. In the future, you might prefer a stronger or weaker brew, but this basic green tea recipe is the perfect starting point.

For a perfectly balanced tasting cup of green tea, you’ll want to let the leaves steep for two to three minutes.

So, if you want a weaker tasting tea, you can reduce the time. But, brewing green tea for longer than three minutes usually delivers a bitter taste.

If you’re brand new to tea making, start by brewing a cup for two minutes. Then, give it a taste every 30 seconds until you find the perfect flavor.


Boiling water is too hot for green tea making, because of the leaf’s delicate flavor.

Using water that is too hot will result in a bitter and astringent flavor. And, using water that is too cold won’t extract the tea’s full flavor.

If you don’t want to use a thermometer to watch the perfect water temperature, we’ve got a trick for you.

Watch the water in your pot as it warms up. Soon, you’ll see tiny bubbles beginning to form on the bottom. Once these small bubbles form small but steady streams rising toward the surface, your water is ready.


If you’re using loose tea instead of teabags, you’ll need to strain it after steeping.

A traditional “ball” strainer works well for brewing green tea, as long as its exterior is made from fine mesh. Larger holes will allow pieces of tea to pass through, creating sediment and bits at the bottom of your cup.

Some strainers, designed to rest on the top of a teacup, work well for tea fanatics on the go. This style is easy to take to work or carry along when you travel.

If you enjoy the convenience of tea bags but prefer the taste and quality of loose tea, you can also buy empty bags and fill them yourself. Be sure to opt for an unbleached paper sachet if possible.

Extra Ingredients

Unlike black teas, you’ll never want to add milk to this brew.

Instead, opt for a spoonful of honey or a squeeze of citrus. If you aren’t a big fan of green tea’s “grassy” flavor, try adding a fresh sprig of mint, a stick of cinnamon, or a small amount of fresh fruit to your cup during brewing.

Alternative Methods

Green tea originated in China, where it has been consumed for centuries. But, as it has grown in popularity, it’s become an everyday household tea found in homes around the world.

So, it’s no surprise that there is more than one method for brewing.

Powdered green tea, often referred to as Matcha, is traditionally used during Japanese tea ceremonies. But, its unique taste and concentrated levels of caffeine and antioxidants make it a top pick among green tea enthusiasts.

Just like coffee, tea can also be cold brewed. This method requires a much longer period for steeping, but the results are worthwhile. Cold-brewed green tea has a milder flavor and even more antioxidants than a traditionally made cup!

8 Homemade Tea Blends

1. Homemade Ginger Tea – Andrea at our sister site Vibrant Wellness Journal walks you through how to brew ginger tea from real ginger. She also gets into the health benefits of sipping on delicious ginger tea.

2. Homemade Herbal Tea Blends – Andrea is such a tea maven! She shared a few of her favorite homemade herbal tea recipes over at Green Living Ideas. The lemon-vanilla blend intrigues me the most!

3. Homemade Chai – Chai tea is still cool, right? I hope so, because this spiced tea blend is my favorite non-coffee hot drink. This is the hand-mixed chai recipe that I created for holiday giving a few years ago.

4. Sweet Tea Vodka – You can use hand-mixed or store-bought tea to make this robust vodka infusion. It makes a great gift for the cocktail enthusiast on your list!

5. Homemade Red Chai – Chai is a versatile tea. Seriously, this list could be just made up of different takes on this one type of homemade tea. Andrea’s red chai recipe is naturally caffeine-free.

6. Mint Tea – Is the mint in your garden getting out of control? Follow these instructions to dry it, then crumble it into airtight jars to make homemade mint tea. If you need more ideas on how to use all of that garden mint, Julie’s got you covered!

7. Lavender Tea – Lavender tea is fragrant and soothing, and you can make your own from the lavender in your garden! Those same drying instructions from #6 will work here.

8. Grow a Tea Garden – The last couple of teas are good examples of herbal tea ingredients that you can grow. Patricia at Eat Drink Better shares her favorite tea herbs to grow. You can turn this into a gift for gardening-inclined friends by gathering seed packets for some tea herbs and including growing instructions and brewing directions.

A note about tea and pregnancy: If you are pregnant or are making a tea blend for someone who is, there are some herbs you may want to avoid. Here’s a list of pregnancy tea dos and don’ts to help you out!

How to Make Iced Green Tea

Iced is a refreshing way to enjoy your favorite green tea. It's ideal in hot summer months where you might want the taste of green tea but not want a hot cup. It is also convenient since it can easily be kept in the fridge so you can have iced green tea whenever you'd like. Green tea has a plethora of health benefits. It has been shown to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol. The antioxidants in green tea can even help fight and prevent cell damage. What better beverage to keep in your fridge?


How To Make Iced Green Tea

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil on the stove. Measure the temperature until it reaches 190°.
  2. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let steep for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags 3-4 minutes and allow around 10 minutes for tea to cool.
  4. Pour over 2 cups of ice
  5. Serve

Note that it is important to mind the exact temperature while brewing green tea. Every variety of tea has a specific temperature to brew for best results. Black teas tend to brew best at higher temperatures whereas green and herbal teas are lower.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is simple and versatile. Green tea's flavor is naturally mild and lends itself well to customization. Mint goes very well with green tea and can be added while the tea bags are steeping. You could also add fruit such as lemon slices or berries for a cold infusion in the pitcher. You can even mix it into other beverages such as lemonade or fashion a cocktail like a mojito with iced green tea.

How to Brew Green Tea Sachets

  1. For best flavor, bring spring or freshly drawn filtered water to 185℉. Without a thermometer, this can be achieved by letting boiling water cool for about 2 minutes.
  2. Pour about 8-10 ounces of hot water into your chosen vessel, whether it is a teapot or teacup. Place the green tea sachet in the hot water.*
  3. Allow the tea to steep for 3 minutes.
  4. After 3 minutes, remove the sachet and enjoy.

* Unlike black teas and herbal infusions, you will want to bring the tea to water when brewing green, white or oolong teas. In other words, pour the hot water into the brewing vessel and then add the tea to the water. This method allows for a more delicate experience without extracting the bitter notes from the leaves.

This is probably something that people neglect when brewing any tea. In most cases, you would just grab a pot of water and use it to heat at a rolling boil. Well, this just not might be a good idea.

If you, for example, use water that has too many minerals, there is a high chance that they can produce a very strong taste and smell. Also, if you use stale water, you'll consequently get a bitter tasting tea.

Therefore, using fresh, bottled or spring water for brewing green tea will produce the best taste. The water that is completely free of pollutants can actually improve the taste of tea for the better.

Now that you finally know how to properly brew green tea, you can go ahead and start experimenting with different types in order to to see which you like best. Indulge yourself with a nice cup of green tea, relax and enjoy your fresh brew! After you do that, visit Teabloom for the best tea recipes, tips and techniques.

Watch the video: Πλήρης οδηγός για την e-me by Panagiotis Chatzisavvas (July 2022).


  1. Dirg

    I can not remember.

  2. Jarred

    very funny message

  3. Beverley

    Thank you for your help in this matter, the simpler the better ...

  4. Meldrick


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