Green Tea Recipe - Green Tea Steep Time

Brewing versus steeping

While commonly called brewing, the process of making a cup of tea is actually steeping. Generally, 2 grams of tea per 100ml of water or about one teaspoon of green tea per 5 ounce cup (150ml) should be used. With very high quality green teas like gyokuro, more than this amount is used and the leaf is steeped multiple times for short durations.

Time and temperature

An overview of temperature and steep time of white tea, green tea, oolong and black tea.

White tea - 185F - 4-15 minutes
Green tea - 160F - 1-2 minutes
Oolong - 203F - 1-9 minutes
Black tea - 203F - 3-5 minutes

When brewing a cup or pot of black tea or oolong boil the water, using fresh filtered cold water. Bring water to a rapid boil for about 1 minute to bring it to the proper temperature. Rinse the cup or pot out with the hot water, allowing enough time for the entire pot/cup to heat.

Green tea steep time

Green tea steeping time and green tea temperature varies with individual green teas. The hottest steeping temperatures are 180F to 190F (81C to 87C) water and the longest steeping times 2 to 3 minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 140F to 160F (61C to 69C) and the shortest times about 30 seconds.

In general, lower quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, while higher quality green teas are steeped cooler and shorter. Steeping green tea too hot or too long will result in a bitter, astringent brew. Excessively hot water results in tannin chemical release, which is problematic in green teas as they have higher contents of these. High quality green teas usually are steeped multiple times; 2 or 3 steepings is typical.

The steeping technique also plays a important role to avoid an overcooked taste. The teapot should also be warmed beforehand so that the tea does not immediately cool down. It is common practice for tea leaf to be left in the cup or pot and for hot water to be added as the tea is drunk until the flavor degrades.

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