All teas come from theCamellia Sinensis plant and differ by where they are grown, how they are harvested and how they are processed. Green tea is harvested in early to mid spring and comes from the first buds of the plant, which are the highest quality leaves. These leaves are steamed soon after being picked in order to avoid the oxidation and fermentation process (a process which leads to black and oolong teas).
The different types of green tea vary based on how much sunlight the leaves receive and how they are dried, ground and rolled. How you brew them will also will also effect the taste and experience of enjoying a cup of green tea.
The quality and freshness of the tea is very important. We recommend storing your tea away from heat, light, moisture and odors, in a sealed container at room temperature (food odors in the fridge can affect the tea). Soft water is prefered for brewing and it’s best to avoid hard, distilled or tap water.
Water temperature and brewing time are key factors for brewing tea. Although each type of tea has a recommended temperature and time, you can always tailor these to suit your preference.
How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Green Tea
To brew 2 cups of sencha, place 1½ tbsp of tea leaves in a teapot with a strainer and add 200ml of water heated to 176°F (80°C). One trick to achieving the right water temperature is to pour boiling water into two empty tea cups and wait 30 seconds before pouring the water into the teapot. Brew for 1 min with the lid on and serve. Let the leaves sit in the water and unravel naturally without stirring or shaking the pot (this increases the bitterness). Sencha may become overly bitter if brewed for too long. Brewing at a lower temperature for a longer time will produce a softer, more mellow flavor, while a higher temperature for a shorter time will produce a sharper, more astringent flavor.
Sencha tea leaves can be reused up to two or three times in one sitting. For the second brew, use a slightly shorter time, while for the third and final brew, use slightly hotter water and a longer brew time to extract the full flavor from the leaves. Try different brewing temperatures and times to find what suits you best!
Genmaicha can be brewed at a higher temperature for slightly longer. To brew 2 cups of genmaicha, place 1½ tbsp of tea in a teapot with a strainer and add 200ml of boiling water. Brew for 1½ mins and serve.
Roasting green tea leaves to makeHoujicha allows for a shorter brewing time, but requires double the quantity. To brew 2 cups of Houjicha, place 3 tbsp of tea leaves in a teapot with a strainer and add 200ml of boiling water. Brew for 30 secs and serve.
You can find these teas and more in our Japanese Green & Specialty Teas: "Ryukyu" Care Package as well as for single item purchase at our Market: Michi no Eki.