Guide: How To Brew Each Type of Japanese Green Tea

Kyusu with sencha

 

Hiii - we’re back! We just got back from Japan on our Tèaura Tea Travels (Did you check out our Instagram?!) and have so much to share with you tea fans. There is much in Japanese design, culture, aesthetics and genteel decorum that we admire. In particular, we admire how Japan has maintained and refined its tea culture throughout the hundreds of years since it arrived by way of Zen Buddhist Monks returning from their studies in China.


We will wax lyrical about the beautiful chanoyu (Tea Ceremony) in another blog. In terms of practicalities, we had witnessed that tea making and drinking in Japan is often done with precision and with much care. Not least because ocha (green tea) is the main hot drink, whether at home or in restaurants, but also because green tea leaves are delicate, therefore, they require our careful attention when brewing. So much so that I will dedicate this entire blog to guide you on how to make delicious Japanese tea and show you a summary of the eight main teas that are enjoyed in the country.

 


Everyone can make a great cup of tea with some guidance. We promise you that you’ll never make a face at green tea ever again! Here’s how.  


General instructions for making a delicious cup of Japanese green tea


  1. Boil water and wait till it cools down to the recommended temperature. Hack: To save time in waiting, you can pour the boiled water into a new cup to lower the temperature by 10 degrees Celsius. Pour it again to another cup to lower the water temperature even further. 
    Also, filtered water is good for making tea in general or you can level up your experience with spring water!
    Teacup

  2. Place tea leaves in a teapot. Or you can use a brew basket placed in a cup. 
    Tea spoon

  3. Pour the hot (but not too hot) water into the teapot.
    Teapot

  4. Steep it for the recommended period of time. Pour all the tea into the tea cup until the last drop! 
    Tea cup in hand


Type of Tea

Amount of Tea Leaves Per Cup

Temperature of Hot Water

Amount of Water

Steeping Time

Gyokuro

3g

50C

20ml

150 sec

Sencha

3g

70C

60ml

90 sec

Kukicha

3g

80C

60ml

60 sec

Houjicha

3g

100C

130ml

30 sec

Genmaicha

4g

100C

130ml

30 sec


*For the second steeping, the above time can be shortened by ⅓.
For example, Gyokuro, first steeping: 150 sec -> second steeping: 100 sec

Matcha whisking

Summary of the main Japanese Teas Tea leaves


Gyokuro 玉露

Gyokuro is regarded as one of the highest grade Japanese teas. It is popular among green tea lovers. Gyokuro has a sweeter, less bitter taste. This is because Gyokuro bushes are shaded to avoid direct sunlight for a few weeks before being harvested. This process makes Gyokuro tastier.


Kabusecha かぶせ茶

To make Kabusecha tastier, the tea bushes are shaded from direct sunlight for about one week before harvest. Kabusecha has both the rich taste of Gyokuro and the refreshing taste of Sencha. A subtle flavour is this tea’s typical feature.


Sencha 煎茶

Sencha is the most popular green tea in Japan. Sencha can be classified into many grades in terms of quality. While average grade Sencha is drunk at home and served with meals at restaurants, high grade Sencha is often served on special occasions in Japan.


Fukamushi Sencha (Deep Steamed Sencha) 深蒸し煎茶

Most Japanese teas are steamed soon after being harvested. The steaming time for Fukamushi Sencha is two or three times longer than that for regular Sencha. The liquid of Fukamushi Sencha is deep green and rich in taste. As it contains small tea flakes and particles, the steeping time for Fukamushi Sencha can be shorter than that for Sencha.     


Kukicha 茎茶

Kukicha, also known as Karigane or Bocha is made of stems and leaves of Gyokuro or Sencha. Kukicha contains less caffeine.


Houjicha ほうじ茶

Houjicha means roasted tea. It is golden-brown, less astringent, and has a toasted flavour. It is often made from Bancha 番茶. Houjicha is often served after meals at restaurants, drunk before going to bed, and given to children instead of water.


Genmaicha

Genmaicha is a mixture of green tea leaves and roasted rice. It is popular among tea lovers because of the combination of its refreshing flavour of green tea and nutty flavour of roasted rice.


Matcha 抹茶 Matcha whisk

Matcha is powdered green tea mainly used for tea ceremonies. It is made by grinding fine green tea leaves on a stone mill. Recently, Matcha is also used as a key ingredient for making cakes, icecream, cappuccino, protein shakes, and other foods and drinks.

Organic SenchaOur Organic Premium Sencha


Jamie McKee
Jamie McKee

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