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Tea Brewing Advice and Some Common Questions about Japanese Green Tea

How to Brew Japanese Loose-Leaf Tea

It's simple and easy!

Equipment

Measuring cup

Teaspoon

Mesh strainer

Tea Quantity

If the tea is a very fine powder use one full teaspoon, which is approximately 4g by weight.

If the tea consists of large tea leaves* or stems, use two full teaspoon which also totals approximately 4g by weight.

* for Hojicha use three to four teaspoons.

Temperature

Please follow the suggested temperature chart provided.

Brewing Time

Hojicha for 30 seconds or less

Genmaicha for 30 seconds

Sencha for 30 to 90 seconds; larger tea leaves take longer to brew.

Gyokuro for 60–90 seconds.

Generally higher brewing temperatures make stronger tea. If your prepared tea is too strong or too weak for your taste adjust temperature, brewing time or quantity of tea.

Japanese Tea Taste Varies by Brewing Temperature

There are three main components of tea that affect the taste: the harmony of sweetness, astringency and bitterness.

L-Theanine, is a type of amino acid that tastes sweet and is the most important taste component.  L-Theanine is released at lower temperatures than other components so to enjoy the sweetness of Japanese tea controlling brewing temperature is very important.

Catechins, which are a type of polyphenol, are responsible for the astringent taste.

Caffeine is responsible for bitterness.

Q & A

Q: Can I use tea ball infuser?
A: No, please do not use a tea ball infuser for Japanese tea. Japanese teas are tightly rolled and require plenty of space to allow the leaves to open so that flavor can be extracted. Some Japanese tea leaves are in fine powdery form and a Japanese tea pot is recommended; however, if not available a mesh strainer can be used.

Q: Why do you suggest brewing Hojicha at a high temperature? Does this not make the tea strong and too bitter?
A: No, brewing Hojicha with high temperature does not make the tea taste strong. Hojicha is roasted at a higher temperature and the roasting process burns away the bitterness and caffeine. We have three strengths of Hojicha; “Hojicha Lightly Roasted Amber Premium”,” Hojicha Classic” and super mild “San-nen Bancha Roasted Tea” which is aged up to three years. View all Hojicha.

Q: Can you explain first and second infusion?
A: The first time you pour hot water onto the tea leaves, the leaves are dry so be aware of the temperature and use the lowest temperature range for the type of tea. After pouring tea make sure to remove all excess water from the leaves. If tea leaves are left soaked in water, they keep steeping, ruining the second infusion. To brew a second time, use a higher temperature than the first infusion, as the tea leaves are damp and cold and already opened, so higher temperature and shorter brewing time is recommended.

Q: Can you explain first, second, nd third flush?
A: The first flush of a tea growing season is tea picked first usually in March-April. The second flush is the tea picked at a later time, usually June-July. The third flush is during Autumn, October-November. The flushes affect the tea flavor as the taste matures and changes during the growing cycle.

Q: Should tea be stored in a refrigerator?
A: Storing un-opened packaged tea in the refrigerator is a good idea. Before use, however, please allow enough time for the tea to return to room temperature before you open the bag, this avoids temperature shocking the tea. A sudden change in temperature can cause condensation in the bag, potentially degrading the tea through moisture. We recommend, therefore, that you store your unopened tea package in the refrigerator but once it is opened, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark location.