General guidelines for green tea brewing
The quantity of tea should be based on weight rather than volume, ½ ounce for every 3 ½ fluid ounces (2 grams for every 100ml) of water. The larger the volume of the infusion, the smaller the relative quantity of tea should be. Thus to prepare 500ml of tea you only need to use 8 grams of tea leaves instead of 10grams. As it is not always possible to weigh the tea, for tea with leaves of average volume (most non compressed red and black teas) allow one level teaspoonful per 100ml (standard cup capacity). For bulkier teas (white, Chinese green teas, oolong teas) allow one good pinch of tea (using the thumb, index finger and middle finger) per cup. For Japanese green teas, which are dense, allow one level teaspoonful per two cups (200ml).
Relationship between water temperature and flavor and aroma Water temperature plays an important part in determining the taste and aroma of tea, and different types of tea require different water temperatures. This is because different components of tea dissolve at different temperatures. The astringency components (catechins) will be drawn out at temperatures over 80 degrees C, while the flavour components (amino acids [theanine]) require a lower temperature of around 50 degrees C to dissolve. For this reason, if one wishes to drink Sencha that is not very astringent, a temperature of around 70 degrees C is recommended, while for Gyokuro, a lower temperature is recommended to draw out the flavour more slowly.
On the other hand, for teas such as Hojicha and Genmaicha, which have unique aromas, boiling water or water close to 100 degrees C should be used. For people who prefer astringent Sencha, water should be over 80 degrees C. The target is to use water around 80C. It is recommended to use water that’s been completely boiled, and to cool down the water with preheating. Preheating is important because it makes the water temperature more stable, and also it helps bring more oxygen into the water, which will make the tea taste more lively.
Elements of Tea Flavor The most important elements which create the taste and aroma of Japanese green tea are Catechins (polyphenols/astringent), Theanine (amino acid/umami), and Caffeine (alkaloid/bitter).
Tips to Modify or Adjust the Flavour
- If you would like a softer and mellower flavour, we recommend you brew with lower temperature water for a longer time. In this way, more Theanine is extracted and less Catechin and Caffeine are extracted.
- If you would like a sharper or more astringent flavour, we recommend you brew with higher temperature water for a shorter time. In this way, more Catechin and Caffeine are extracted. However, please be careful not to use water that is too hot, as the flavour can become quite bitter.
General instructions for making Japanese green tea: As an example here is the brewing procedure for two servings of Sencha
Place 1.5 tablespoons of Sencha into the tea pot.
Pour hot water (200ml) into two tea cups to adjust the water temperature. On the first pour, it will be about 80C) which is the perfect temperature for brewing Sencha.
Pour the warm water back into the tea pot and wait for 1minute as the Sencha brews.
Pour tea from the tea pot into each teacup alternately little by little, so that the quantity and taste of the tea is equal in each cup. Please pour all of the tea out from the tea pot until the last drop, or else the second brewed cups will not taste as well.
High quality tea leaves may be reused three times. Brew for a slightly shorter time (40 - 50 seconds) for the second infusion. Use slightly hotter water and a longer brew time for the third and last infusion.
Adjusting Water Temperature for Fine Brew You can easily adjust water temperature by the following procedure: If you pour boiling water directly into teapot (Kyusu), the water temperature will become 90C unless your teapot has been in an unheated room in winter. In this case you will need to experiment with a thermometer the first few times to figure out by how many degrees the temperature goes down. And it will usually go down by 10C in each subsequent container (not plastic!) you will put it in. In order to achieve the genuine flavour of green tea it is important to let the boiled water cool off first. Therefore first pour the boiled water into the empty tea pot (kyusu).
The initial temperature of the boiled water is approximately between 90-100 degrees Celsius.
Pouring it first into the tea pot (kyusu) will cause the temperature to decline to about 80-90 degrees celsius. Pour the water from the tea pot (kyusu) into the tea cups. This will further reduce the temperature by about 10 degrees. It will now measure around 70-80 degrees celsius. This is the right temperature for good sencha.