Preparation of Japanese green tea

How to prepare Japanese green tea

It’s not difficult to prepare Japanese green tea, but there are a few things you need to know to prepare a perfect cup of green tea. You can find a few tips below to help you get started. At Azumaya Antwerp we can give you more explanation during our workshops and degustations, so the preparation of Japanese green tea will hold no secrets for you!

Preparation of Matcha tea

Preparation of Matcha tea

To prepare Matcha tea you need the following:

  • Matcha powder tea
  • Matcha bowl (Chawan)
  • Bamboo whisk (Chasen)
  • Bamboo spoon (Chashaku)

Step 1: Preheat the Matcha bowl by filling it 1/3 with hot water. Put the bamboo whisk in the hot water to moisten the teeth of the whisk. Once the bowl is preheated, take out the whisk and pour out the water. Dry the bowl with a cloth. Pour 70 ml of hot water in a separate bowl and let it cool for a few minutes.

Step 2: Using the bamboo spoon, put 2 spoons of Matcha powder into the bowl. (approx. 2 g)

Step 3: Once the water has cooled (approx. 78-80°), pour it into the Matcha bowl with the Matcha powder.

Step 4: Whisk the water and the Matcha powder in the bowl by making a fast M-shaped movement with the bamboo whisk. Start with large, coarse movements to create a foam layer. To finish, make smaller and softer M-shaped movements to remove the biggest air bubbles from the foam. Try to make the movement from your wrist; don’t use your full arm. This is how you can get a thick foam layer with small air bubbles on top. Enjoy your perfectly made cup of Matcha tea!

Preparation of Gyokuro, Sencha, Hojicha, Genmaicha en Bancha

Preparation of Gyokuro, Sencha, Hojicha, Genmaicha and Bancha

The amount of tea leaves vs. the amount of water

The general rule is: the better quality of tea leaves, the more tea leaves and the less water should be used. Tea with more bitterness is prepared with fewer leaves and more water. Sweeter tea is prepared with more leaves and less water, in order to generate a strong and full flavour. Of course everyone has their own preference, but as a rule of thumb you can use these guidelines:

  • Gyokuro: 2 g tea for 30 ml water
  • Sencha, Genmaicha, Hojicha and Bancha: 5 g tea for 15 cl water

Water temperature

If you use boiling water for Sencha, it will release too many tannins and become too bitter. Depending on the kind of tea, these are good starting temperatures:

  • Gyokuro: 40-50°
  • Sencha: 60-70°
  • Genmaicha, Hojicha and Bancha: 90-100°

It’s best to boil the water first using a Cast Iron Nanbu-teki kettle. This makes the water softer, which is better suited to make tea. Then put the boiling water in the teapot (without tea leaves). After 1 minute pour the water into the cups, and pour out the excess water from the teapot. After 1 minute, put the water in an extra bowl and put the tea leaves in the teapot. Then pour the water in the teapot. This method accomplishes 3 things:

  • cools down the water
  • preheats the cups and teapot
  • measures the right amount of water for the cups

Infusion time

As a rule of thumb, you can use these timings:
First infusion:

  • Gyokuro: 3 minutes
  • Sencha: 1 minute
  • Genmaicha, Hojicha, Bancha: 2 minutes

Second infusion:

  • Gyokuro: 3 minutes
  • Sencha: 30 seconds
  • Genmaicha, Hojicha, Bancha: 2 minutes

Third infusion:

  • Gyokuro: 3 minutes
  • Sencha, Genmaicha, Hojicha, Bancha and Hojicha are usually only infused 2 times.