To brew green tea properly with no bitterness, you just need to follow some simple instructions that I’ll show you here.
Many people don’t like the taste of green tea. The truth is that this is a super delicious tea. You miss it so much if you haven’t tasted its grassy, sweet, and vegetal flavor. Not to mention the characteristic umami flavor of high-quality green teas.
You must follow some rules when making hot green tea to get the right flavor.
To brew green tea, you must keep an eye on the water temperature, steep time, leaf-to-water ratio, and quality of the tea leaves.
Brewing temperature should be between 140°F and 185°F (60°C and 85°C); steeping time should be between 30 seconds and 3 minutes; the leaf-to-water ratio should be 2 grams of green tea per 6 fl oz of water.
You can re-steep green tea leaves two to three times.
Now let’s go into details. See the step-by-step instructions for making green tea and explain the details of every step. Every step is super important to avoid the bitter green tea cup.
How to Make Green Tea (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Here are the instructions for brewing green tea properly and always getting a cup of delicious tea with no bitterness.
What do you need to make green tea properly?
Water: 6 fluid ounces (180 ml) of water, plus a bit more to pre-warm the teapot or cup.
Loose green tea leaves: Use a minimum of 2 grams of tea leaves, or about 1 ½ teaspoon, for every 6 fl oz of water. This depends on the size and shape of the leaves.
Kettle to boil water: You can use an electric kettle with temperature settings, but if you don’t have one, simply heat the water in a pot.
Thermometer (optional): When brewing green tea, the water temperature is very important (more on this below). If you don’t have a thermometer, it’s not a problem. I’ll show you how to get the right water temperature without using a thermometer.
Teapot, strainer, tea cup: If you don’t have a teapot, you can use a cup for steeping your green tea. Just keep in mind that it needs to be larger in order for the tea leaves to unfurl and expand.
Measure the tea leaves: Take 1 ½ teaspoon of tea leaves. You can start with 1 teaspoon or 2 grams. After making the first cup, you can adjust the amount of tea according to your taste.
Heat water: Use the electric kettle with temperature settings or just heat the water to around 160°F – 175°F (more on this below). Don’t use boiling water.
Pre-warm your teapot or cup: Add a bit of hot water, swirl it around and discard it.
Put the measured tea leaves into the teapot and pour in the hot water.
Steep for a maximum of 3 minutes: Steeping time is different and depends on the type of green tea you use. Green tea is usually steeped for 30 sec. – 3 minutes.
Pour the tea into a cup and remove the leaves: After the steeping time ends, remove the tea leaves using a strainer. Don’t throw it away. The leaves can be used for second and third infusions.
Use sweetener (optional): Now you’ve brewed your green tea, you can sweeten it if you want. To avoid using white sugar, you can sweeten your green tea with honey, stevia, date syrup, or maple syrup. It is your choice.
These were short step-by-step instructions on how to brew green tea properly without bitterness. Continue reading below, because there are details about every step.
Pay special attention to the section about the water temperature and steeping time. They are crucial when brewing green tea. If you make a mistake there, your tea will be bitter and unpleasant to drink.
Prepare and measure the green tea leaves
To brew green tea with the best flavor, it is recommended to use loose tea leaves. Using a tea bag is not so bad and is good when you want a cup of tea but don’t have much time or are outside, for example.
The best option is to use high-quality loose green tea leaves, and it’s also important to use the right amount of tea leaves for the best flavor.
A good rule of thumb when making green tea is to use 2 grams of tea leaves per 6 ounces of water. Tea leaves come in different forms and sizes. That’s why it is better measured by weight.
If it’s easier for you and you want to measure by volume, start with 1 ½ teaspoon. After making your first cup, you can add more or less tea leaves depending on your taste preference.
If you want lighter green tea, use less tea leaves the next time; if you want more flavor, add a few more tea leaves the next time. After the first cup, you’ll know whether to add more or less tea leaves for the next brew.
When making green tea, whether you use loose leaves or tea bags, the temperature of the water is very important. If you use boiling or too hot water, you may burn the leaves and end up with an unpleasant, bitter cup of green tea.
Many people make this mistake and use boiling water. They get bitter green tea, and they say that the flavor of green tea is not good. They just make one crucial mistake, and they end up with bitter tea.
So, never use boiling water when making green tea.
The perfect water temperature for brewing green tea is between 140°F and 185°F (60°C and 85°C).
I’m not setting here an exact water temperature for brewing green tea. Instead, I give you the above temperature range because there are many types of green tea and they all require different brewing temperatures to get the right flavor and avoid bitterness.
Here are some examples of the brewing temperatures of different green tea types,
- Gyokuro green tea (104 – 122°F)
- Japanese Sencha green tea (150-170°F)
- Chinese Dragon Well or Longjing green tea (176-185°F)
As you can see, the brewing temperature is different depending on which type of green tea you use. So, it is always a good idea to ask your tea provider about the recommended water temperature for brewing your chosen green tea.
The best way to heat water for brewing green tea is to use an electric kettle with temperature settings. If you don’t have one, then just bring the water to a boil, and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
If you leave boiling water to cool for 2-3 minutes, it will go down to a temperature of 160°F – 170°F. If you leave it to cool for 5 minutes, it will get to 140°F or 150°F.
Because brewing temperature is very important, here is a detailed guide on the best temperature for brewing green tea. I recommend reading this before going on to the next steps.
Pre-warm the teapot and cup
This is optional, but it is good to do it. Use a little hot water to warm up your teapot or cup. Simply add a little hot water and stir it around. Discard the rest.
Warming your teapot or cup prevents a quick, sudden temperature fluctuation when your hot water is put into it, which would otherwise substantially decrease the ideal temperature of the infusion.
Pour the hot water into the teapot and add the green tea leaves
When the water temperature is just right, pour it into the teapot or a cup (you may use a cup if you don’t have a teapot) and add the measured loose green tea leaves.
Because green tea leaves unfurl and expand in hot water, a bigger teapot is recommended. This allows the leaves to interact with the water and release all of their flavors.
I don’t suggest using a tea infuser (tea ball infuser) because there isn’t enough room for the leaves to spread out. The full surface of the leaves will not come into contact with the water, so not all of the flavors will be released.
After combining the tea with hot water, cover the teapot or cup and allow the tea to steep.
Just like the water temperature, the green tea steeping time is super important. If you over-steep it, your green tea will become bitter and unpleasant to drink.
Depending on the type of green tea you’re making, the steep time can range anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
On average, Japanese green teas require shorter steeping times and lower brewing temperatures than Chinese green teas. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.
Here are the recommended steeping times for some green tea types,
- Sencha green tea: 45 sec.-1 min
- Genmaicha: 2-3 min
- Dragon Well: 2-3 min
- Maofeng: 1 min
As you can see from the examples, the steeping time is different. Depending on the type of green tea, the steeping time is longer or shorter.
So it is always good to read the label about the recommended steep time or ask your tea provider about it.
Besides the flavor, polyphenols (healthy compounds), and aroma, you’ll extract more caffeine from your green tea if you over-steep it. According to a 2018 study, steeping green tea for an extra minute increases caffeine levels by 29%.
Additionally, if the steep time is too short, you won’t extract enough flavors and healthy compounds from your green tea.
If you properly steep it, your green tea liquor should have a deep yellow to light or moss-green color. If your green tea brew is brownish or deep brown in color, it means that you over-steeped it and your tea will taste very bitter and unpleasant.
Also, if the color is too pale, you need to steep it longer.
Stop the infusion
When the recommended steeping time is finished, stop the infusion by removing the tea leaves from the now ready-to-drink tea liquid. The easiest way to do this is to pour the tea through a strainer.
Don’t throw away the tea leaves. Green tea can be re-steeped 2-3 times depending on the quality of the tea (more on re-steeping below in this article).
After pouring the tea into your favorite cup, it’s ready for drinking. I personally don’t like to add sweetener, but if you really like to sweeten your green tea without using white sugar, you can use:
- Maple syrup
- Date syrup
Additionally, if you don’t like the vegetal, grassy flavor of your green tea, you can add a few flavorings to make it taste better, such as:
- Lemon slices or lemon juice
- Citrus peel
Re-Steeping Green Tea
The great thing about green tea is that you can re-steep it and enjoy its flavor many more times. Re-steeping is basically adding water to once-brewed tea leaves and brewing them again.
Most types of green tea, especially high-quality ones, re-steep very well, and you should get 2-3 steepings from high-quality green tea.
Every time you brew the same tea leaves, you’ll get a different flavor, which is a great way to save money on pricey green teas (you can make 2-3 cups of tea from one teaspoon of leaves).
It sounds easy, but there are some rules that you need to follow when re-steeping your green tea. Especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
Here are some important things to consider when making the second or third infusion:
Re-steeping green tea more than 2-3 times is not recommended because you’ll get a pale drink with little or no flavor at all.
Make the second steep (second infusion) as soon as you can. Let’s say 5-10 minutes after the first infusion. The tea leaves are already wet and they start to degrade very fast, so it is best to use them sooner.
Don’t leave any water in the cup where you discarded the tea leaves. When serving, try to pour through the last drop of tea. If you leave some water with the tea leaves, they will continue to steep, and with the next infusion, you’ll get bitter tea.
Always use the same amount of water and leaves as for the first infusion. For the second infusion, use slightly hotter water and a shorter steeping time. Reduce the steep time to about 30 or max. 60 seconds.
There are examples where people use the same water temperature and the same steep time for the 2nd infusion as for the initial steep. You can experiment here, depending on your taste. After you try it, you’ll know for the next time. If your second infusion is a bit bitter, just reduce the steep time.
Soft water is always the best option for making green tea. Try to use fresh spring or filtered water. Avoid using hard water; it contains a higher concentration of minerals that can interfere with some components of green tea and change the tea’s taste.
Also, don’t use distilled or purified water. Extremely soft water with no minerals will give you a flat tea.
Your green tea tastes bitter because you are not brewing it properly. To avoid the bitter taste, use the recommended water temperature (hot, not boiling), don’t over-steep it, use the right leaf-to-water ratio, and use high-quality loose-leaf green tea.
Loose-leaf tea is always a better option than tea bags. Loose-leaf green tea is made up of complete, unbroken leaves. Tea bags usually contain dust, fannings, and broken small leaves.
Since there are different green tea types, the taste is slightly different for each type. It can go from vegetal and grassy to sweet, nutty, and umami flavors. Your green tea should not have a bitter taste.
The best time of the day to drink green tea is an hour or two before or after a meal, before a workout, or when you’re feeling tired and unable to focus.
Avoid drinking green tea on an empty stomach, during a meal (several compounds in green tea act as antinutrients and limit iron absorption), and don’t consume it later at night because it contains caffeine.
The bitterness of green tea comes from its polyphenols, caffeine, and some amino acids. The taste of catechins (EGCG, EGC, ECG, EC) found in green tea is bitter and astringent. Also, caffeine has a bitter taste too.
In order to prevent the concentration of these compounds from overpowering the other ingredients, it is crucial to adjust the brewing parameters.
If you follow the brewing instructions when making green tea, you’ll always have a delicious cup of tea without bitterness.
The main things to keep an eye on are,
The brewing temperature: between 140°F and 185°F (60°C and 85°C), depending on the green tea type. For most green teas, it’s usually 175°F to 185°F.
Steep time: How long you’ll infuse the green tea also depends on the type you use. Usually, it’s from 30 seconds to the max. 3 minutes. For most green teas, the recommended steep time is 2-3 minutes.
Other factors that affect the taste and quality of your green tea are the quality of tea you use; opt for loose-leaf tea instead of tea bags. Water quality is also important; use soft, fresh spring water instead of hard water. If you use tap water, filter it before using it.
The leaf-to-water ratio is also important. It’s recommended to use 2 grams or 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per 6 fl oz of water. You can change this according to your taste preferences.
Finally, as you can see, it is simple to brew green tea properly with no bitterness if you follow these brewing instructions and tips.
Green tea may have a bit of astringency, but if you brew it properly, it shouldn’t be bitter. You may expect a bit of a bitter undertone from some lower-quality green teas, but the bitterness shouldn’t overpower its vegetal, grassy flavor.
Follow these instructions and I’m sure that you’ll always have a super delicious and flavorful cup of green tea!