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HOW TO BREW GREEN TEA

tea ceremony in chiran, kagoshima prefecture

how to prepare your green tea

before you start

Green tea is a delicate beverage to prepare if you wish to enjoy fully its taste, aroma and properties. For this reason, it is the perfect drink to prepare when you need to take a break from your daily activities and rest your mind. At IKKYU we don't seek only the taste, but as importantly we look for this contemplative moment that you can own, share and enjoy.

For each type of tea, there is a specific process with different water températures and timing: be careful not to confuse them! What's more, you can enjoy the different flavors of the same tea leaves by brewing several pots. The following advices are general. All our teas come with detailed and easy instructions on their packages to help you with the various steps.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that even though these instructions are practical guidelines for the ideal brewing conditions as provided by the producers themselves each and everyone has different tastes,  and you should try to seek for your ideal brewing and taste within the safe margins we provide.
Green tea is best enjoyed in japanese teaware
A.Bloise 2014

what you need...

water

Water has a huge influence on the flavor of green tea. To reach the perfect balance of flavor, bitterness and astringency, you should use water with a pH at least between 6 and 7, and a hardness of up to 180 mg/l.

Tap water varies greatly depending on your location. Tap water filters is a good option to eliminate chlorine and other chemicals that affect the taste, also important  is to keep using the same water in order to get the minerals to be absorbed by the kettle (for the same reason do not descale your kettle).

Some well-known mineral water brands available in Western countries are also suitable.
One of numerous cascade in Kyushu. Lot of water trickles from the mountains and is often used as drinking water.
Higashi Sonogi, Nagasaki.

The right temperature

water thermometer

Water temperature is also a crucial factor and should be carefully monitored. For this, a water thermometer can be useful, unless you have an automatic kettle where temperature can be set.

Alternatively, you can use the cups system in order to get the right temperature without any thermometer. At some point you will no longer need it as you will be able to get the temperature by simply touching the cup surface where the water rests before pouring it in the teapot.

As a first tip, when new to green tea start brewing your tea within the lowest temperatures when given a set of températures. If the ideal temperature is between 70 to 80 C, then start at 70C and try hotter next time until you find your ideal taste.
Old iron kettla in a traditional charcoal Hibashi, Higashi-Sonogi - Nagasaki Prefecture
A.Bloise 2014

Not only the taste

teaware

If possible, Japanese teaware, although not mandatory is recommended for an authentic and successful brew and a memorable green tea experience because the size of teapots and cups are perfectly adapted.

Also, some materials used in Japanese and Chinese teaware will further improve your brewing, especially natural red / purple clay teapots and iron cast kettles.

In general, small-sized utensils are recommended. For preparing matcha in particular, if you try to use Western utensils, the tasting results can be affected.

Enjoying the use and sight of teaware you like is a complete part of the traditional tea ceremony in Japan. Take the time to truly appreciate the forms, colors and textures of your utensils.

And if you can't find any adapted teaware nearby, you can check out our selection of tea utensils and teaware !
A sample of Japanese traditional teaware during a learning session in Higashi-Sonogi - Nagasaki Prefecture
A.Bloise 2016

BREWING PROCESS

General guidelines

GYOKURO

traditional brewing method

8-10g leaves
For 2 servings (two cups): Put 2 tablespoonsof leaves in your teapot (8 to 10g / 0.28 to 0.35 oz) that should have a filter mesh. Correct amount of water for about 10g of gyokuro is 80ml - 100ml /2.5 FL OZ. This small amount of water will provide a very concentrated taste that is the true essence of gyokuro.

Generally speaking, gyokuro requires using double the amount of leaves that sencha does.
80-100ml
Boil water for a few minutes. Water should be as alkaline as possible. Allow it to cool down to 35º ~ 50ºC (90 F ~ 122 F). This is where most mistakes are made since this is much lower than for sencha. You can use the teacup transfer method (mawashi tsugi) : using 3 teacups, pour boiling water into the first, wait a minute, then transfer it to the second, and then to the third. Each cup transfer will lower the température of about 10ºC.
35º ~ 50ºC
120 - 180 seconds
Pour the water from the last cup into the teapot, close the lid and wait for 2 to 3 minutes (depending on your personal taste). Do not stir. Slowly pour tea into the teacup(s), a little at a time until the last drop.

A high quality gyokuro can be rebrewed 3 to 5 times. Seeping time should be halved after the first brew.
Enjoy it !

KABUSECHA

traditional brewing method

6g leaves
For 2 servings (two cups): Put 8 g(about 0.28 oz) of leaves in your teapot (with a filter mesh).
120 - 160 ml
Correct amount of water for this quantity of shiraore is 120 - 160 ml /2.0-2.7 oz. Pour the near boiling water into the empty cups and allow the water to cool down to 60°C (176 °F) in the empty tea cups.
60°C60°C
90 - 120 seconds
Pour the water from the cups into the teapot and allow the tea tobrew for 90 - 120 seconds, with the lid on. Do not stir, shake or mix.

Pour small amounts of tea into each cup at a time and go around until the very last drop. Kabusecha can brewed twice, but the second time, only wait for 10 seconds before serving.
Enjoy it !

SENCHA

traditional brewing method

6-8g leaves
For 2 servings (two cups): Put 6 g to 8 g (about 0.21 - 0.27 oz) of leaves in your teapot (with a filter mesh).
120-160ml
Boil water for a few minutes. Correct amount of water for this quantity of sencha is 120-160 ml /2.0-2.7 oz.

Water should be as alkaline as possible. Allow it to cool down to 70°- 80°C (158 °F ~ 176° F) into the empty tea cups. You can use the teacup transfer method (mawashi tsugi) : using 3 teacups, pour boiling water into the first, wait a minute, then transfer it to the second, and then to the third. Each cup transfer will lower the température of about10ºC.
70°- 80°C70°- 80°C
60 - 90 seconds
Pour the water from the cups into the teapot, close the lid and wait for 60 to 90 seconds (depending on your taste). Do not stir. Pour small amounts of tea into each cup at a time and go around until the very last drop.

Note that sencha can be brewed up to 3 times. You can slightly increase the température from the second pot and shorten the brew time. The taste will get less and less strong with each brewing.
Enjoy it !

MATCHA

traditional brewing method

Matcha is prepared in a very different way compared to the other kinds of Japanese tea. Along with a measuring cup and thermometer, you will need the following utensils: a matcha bowl (Chawan), a bamboo matcha whisk (Chasen), and a bamboo matcha scoop (Chashaku).
Matcha bowl
Bamboo Matcha whisk
Bamboo matcha scoop
Chawan
Chasen
Chashaku
Preheat the matcha bowl by filling it about 1/3 full with hot water. Then place the whisk facing down into the hot water to wet the tips of the prongs (only). Once the bowl has been thoroughly preheated, empty out the water and dry the bowl out preferably with a cloth. Set the whisk aside and then measure out 70ml of hot water for making thin matcha, or 40ml for a thick matcha into a measuring cup and leave it to cool.
Thin Matcha
Use the scoop to measure the matcha powder, about 2 scoops for a thin matcha or 3-4 scoops for a thick matcha and place it into the bowl.

Sifting the matcha prior to measuring out the matcha is highly advisable to remove any clumps of powder.
Thick Matcha
Once the water drops to 70°C-80°C, pour it into the matcha bowl. Take the whisk in one hand and hold the rim of the matcha bowl with your other hand.

For thin matcha, whisk the matcha briskly in a W motion until the matcha has a thick froth with many tiny bubbles on the surface.

For thick matcha, the idea is to avoid making a frothy consistency. The resulting tea should be reasonably thick, smooth and without froth.

KAMAIRICHA

traditional brewing method

6 - 10g leaves
For 2 servings (two cups): Put 6 g (about 0.21 oz) to 10g (about 0.35 oz) of leaves in your teapot (with a filter mesh).
120 - 160ml
Boil water for a few minutes. correct amount of water for this quantity of kamairicha is 120-160 ml /2.0-2.7 oz.

Water should be as alkaline as possible. Allow it to cool down to 70°-80°C (158 °-178°F) by pouring it into the empty tea cups (some kamairicha can be brewed at 90°C (194°F)).

For details, please use the detailed instructions on the package.
70°- 80°C
60 seconds
Pour the water from the cups into the teapot and allow the tea to brew for 60 seconds, with the lid on. Do not stir, shake or mix.

Pour small amounts of tea into each cup at a time and go around until the very last drop.

Kamairicha can be brewed up to three times, using higher water températures.
Enjoy it !

TAMARYOKUCHA

traditional brewing method

8g leaves
For 2 servings (two cups): Put8g(about 0.28 oz) of leaves in your teapot (with a filter mesh).
120 - 160 ml
Boil water for a few minutes. Correct amount of water for this quantity of tamaryokucha is 120-160 ml /2.0-2.7 oz.

Water should be as alkaline as possible. Let it cool down to 70-80°C (158-176 °F) by pouring it into the empty tea cups.
70°- 80°C
60 seconds
Pour the water from the cups into the teapot and allow the tea to brew for 60 seconds, with the lid on. Do not stir, shake or mix. Pour small amounts of tea into each cup at a time and go around until the very last drop.

Tamaryokucha can be brewed up to 3 times, at the same water température, with a longer brewing time.
Enjoy it !

sHIRAORE

traditional brewing method

8g leaves
For 2 servings (two cups): Put 8 g(about 0.28 oz) of leaves in your teapot (with a filter mesh).
120 - 160 ml
Correct amount of water for this quantity of shiraore is 120 - 160 ml /2.0-2.7 oz. Pour the near boiling water into the empty cups and allow the water to cool down to 80°C (176 °F) in the empty tea cups.
80°C>
60 seconds
Pour the water from the cups into the teapot and allow the tea tobrew for 60 seconds, with the lid on. Do not stir, shake or mix.

Pour small amounts of tea into each cup at a time and go around until the very last drop. Shiraore can be brewed up to 3 times, at the same water température, with a longer brewing time.
Enjoy it !

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