One of the things we often get asked about is how to make green tea. Luckily, we love green teas and from our testing and years of green tea drinking, we have a few simple tips that will get your green tea tasting amazing.
Lots of people still think of green tea as something that’s bitter or astringent, drunk for health and not for taste. If that’s you, then believe us when we say green tea can be so much more – with the right leaves and the right recipe, it can be sweet, velvety and thick, rich in umami with deep grassy flavours and lots in between.
In this guide we’ll answer and demystify the differences between green teas from China and green teas from Japan and share everything you need to make green tea to discover its sweet, refreshing and invigorating flavours.
Let’s start with a few basic rules which apply to any green tea:
• Start with a high quality green tea from a single garden or origin – the key to great flavour lies in great tea leaves.
• Use slightly cooler water, not boiling – this will make sure you get more of the sweeter, high notes and smooth texture with no bitterness.
• Give the tea space to infuse – tea leaves need room to unfurl and infuse their flavour.
• Pour it all out when it’s ready – infuse one perfect cup at a time rather than letting your tea sit, stew and get too strong.
Making green tea: Is there a difference between tea bags and loose leaf?
What’s the difference between tea bags and loose tea? Well as the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. If you are using tea bags, always check the tea inside is high quality and fresh, as typically lower quality tea is used for tea bags. We’ve already written about how to check for freshnessand about reading tea labelsto know what you’re buying.
Our green tea bags, Organic Jade Sword ™ and Senchaare packed with tea leaves which go through exactly the same sourcing and quality selection processes as our loose teas. In fact, you’ll be getting exactly the same tea whether you choose our Organic Jade Sword Green Tea in tea bagsor loose leaf.
Once you know that the tea in your tea bags is good quality, you can make your green tea using exactly the same tips as when you make it loose.
It’s worth knowing the highest quality and largest variety of teas won’t ever be found in tea bags – the small batches or very big leaves will only ever be found loose. This means if you want to explore the depth and breadth of amazing flavour available from green tea, loose tea really is the way to go. The good news is that loose tea making really can be just as quick and easy as tea bags, not to mention it’s better for the environment and more cost effective. Read more about the benefits of loose tea.
How to brew Chinese green tea?
Chinese green teas are often sweet, grassy and refreshing, with handpicked young tea leaves crafted to capture the essence of spring – the season in which they’re produced. Grown at high elevation among mountain landscapes, they’re enjoyed by locals throughout summer as a cooling and invigorating drink. Here are some tips for making one our favourite Chinese green teas:
Organic Jade Sword ™ – This is a very forgiving green tea that maintains its sweetness and thick texture even if you think you’ve done it wrong or forget to pour it out (as I often do!). As with most Chinese green teas it requires cooler water around 80˚C, which is easy to achieve by adding roughly 20% cold water to your teapot or Tea-iere™before topping up with boiling water. This is our go-to recipe:
4g or 1 tea bag per 250ml; 80˚C water; 3 minutes per infusion (can be re-infused twice)
Top Tip: High quality teas, especially loose leaf, can be re-infused multiple times. So don’t chuck out Jade Sword after one go, add some fresh 80˚C water and infuse for 30 more seconds than the first time.
How to brew Japanese green tea?
Japanese green teas tend to be grassy, smooth and satisfying with characteristic umami flavour, enhanced by the steaming of the tea leaves during their processing. Often grown at lower elevations in perfectly arranged tea gardens, green teas are the most popular type of tea in Japan with many unique varieties. Here are some tips for making our staple Japanese green tea:
Sencha – These fine leaves offer plenty of the umami-depth and gentle sweetness that we love from Japanese tea. Japanese green teas often use even cooler water (sometimes even as low as 50˚C), but for Sencha 70˚C is best to ensure a balance of rich taste and smooth texture. Again, adding a little cooler water to the leaves first before topping up with boiling water will certainly do the trick. This is our go-to recipe:
4g or 1 tea bag per 250ml; 70˚C water; 3 minutes per infusion (can be re-infused twice)
Top Tip: Try to use freshly filtered water for the best tasting infusion. It ensures clarity of flavour, especially from the more complex green teas like Gyokuro, also from Japan.