How to Prepare Green Tea

For a proper cup of tea, preparation is everything. Each type of tea -- green, black, white, oolong, and herbal tisanes included -- has its own ideal method of preparation to bring out the true flavor of the leaves and allow for optimal enjoyment. And when it comes to green tea, there are specific instructions you'll want to follow for the best-tasting cup. Read on for a guide on how to prepare green tea in all its forms.

The Proper Steep

Sencha is the type of tea that first comes to mind when most people think of green tea. Made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, sencha’s leaves, along with most green teas, are rolled, steamed, and fired in a pan to produce the long-lasting tea leaves that arrive in our cups, ready for steeping. To properly steep a pot or cup of green tea, there are two key components to keep in mind: temperature and time.

Heat your water (8 ounces per serving) to 175˚F. Why is temperature so important? If the water is too hot, the delicate green tea leaves will burn, resulting in a charred, bitter taste. Before steeping, always check the instructions on the package, as some varieties may call for a slightly higher or lower steeping temperature.

Just as important as temperature, it's important to keep track of the time the tea leaves are in the water. Steep green tea for 2-3 minutes, taking a sip at the two-minute mark to test the steep’s flavor. After three minutes, the longer you steep green tea the more astringent and less pleasant it will taste, so keep an eye on the clock and be careful not to oversteep. Remove the steeping basket or pyramid tea infuser from the water once the desired flavor is achieved.

If you're using a teacup and teapot to serve your tea, it’s considered good form to pre-warm the teacup with a swirl of hot water to protect the delicate flavor as the tea reaches the inside of the cup. Of course, if your cup includes a built-in infuser basket, such as our KATI® Steeping Cup, this extra step isn’t necessary.

While some tea enthusiasts may enjoy milk or lemon (but never both) with black and oolong teas, neither is used with green tea. A hint of sugar or honey is fine, so either sweeten to taste or simply enjoy the tea on its own.