How To Make Green Tea
Brewing Secrets FAQ Guide

Want to learn how to make green tea? Do you know that how you pour water has an important effect on the quality of your brew?

Tea and Vessel

Temperature, Pouring and Brewing



Here is a summary of the main steps involved:

1. Standard recommendation is to brew 3 grams of leaves in an 8-ounce (225 milliliters) cup.

2. Boil water, then pour hot water in a 26-ounce thermos flask to keep warm.

3. Pour the hot water into your cup using the Phoenix method (explained below).

4. Steep 2 to 10 minutes, until the leaves fully swell up and sink to the bottom of your cup.

5. Decant, leave one third to act as seed for the next infusion, then re-brew using more hot water.

6. A good green tea can be infused for at least 3 times.

Make Green Tea Section #1:
Tea and Vessel

What do you need?

Brewing green tea is easy. The simplest method is to use two vessels, one glass and one white porcelain container. This simple method will be described below.

(Even a wine glass is a good starting point, just make sure the hot water won't break the glass.)

If you want something more fit for purpose, get yourself an glass or ceramic mug infuser.

Other useful items are tea kettle and if you want to avoid re-boiling water - a stainless steel thermos flask.

How much tea?

Standard recommendation is 3 grams in an 8 ounce (225 milliliters) cup. In practice, you can use as little or as much as you like.

Many of the teas I sell need only 1 to 2 grams each time as they are higher grade. Experiment to find the amount needed.

Which is better - more or less?

Here's a golden rule that you can't ignore: If you are unsure, use less leaves.

With too much leaves, the tea can easily taste bitter and tannic, especially for low quality tea.

How do I measure out 3 grams?

If you don't have a scale, then you might have to experiment with the tea amount to get the right tea to water ratio.

Counting tea shoots may help. For HQ's Tribute Dragon Well green tea, 1 gram is about 60 tea shoots, where each shoot consists of one bud and two leaves.

Glass or ceramic?

If you are starting out, I highly recommend you use a glass to brew tea. A glass ware disperses heat faster - so there is less chance of your tea tasting bitter because the water is too hot.

Glass is also good when you want to admire how the beautiful leaves swell, stand and dance in the hot water.

In China, people usually make green tea using a glass.

Another popular vessel is gaiwan - which is a ceramic/porcelain tea bowl. It is good for admiring the yellowish-green color of the liquor.

Since ceramic may contain lead, makes sure you get something that has been certified lead-free, or at least - is manufactured in the United States or another developed country.

I use both in a single brewing session - as you shall see later.

Do I need a tea infuser?

Highly recommended.

Make Green Tea Section #2:
Temperature, Pouring and Brewing

What water temperature?

Experts recommend that we make green tea at 70 to 85 degree Celsius or 160 to 185 Fahrenheit.

In reality, actual brewing temperature will vary depending on

  • The ambient temperature

  • How you pour water

  • Whether you drop leaves or pour water first

  • Whether it is the first or subsequent infusions

The implication being the actual brewing temperature will be somewhat lower than kettle temperature. I will explain what this means very shortly.

How do I pour water?

How you pour water is probably an important part of making green tea that is often neglected.

There are two ways to pour water:

  • Slowly down the side.

  • Lift your kettle high and pour it down in 3 distinct movements creating bubbles in what's called Phoenix Nodding Head 3 Times.

Both methods have the advantages of cooling the kettle water down from boiling point.

What's the Phoenix Method?

It is called Nodding Head 3 Times to symbolize making 3 bows to your guests as a sign of respect.

For Dragon Well and most other teas, it is recommended that you pour water using the Phoenix method. This has several advantages:

  • Cool water from boiling point, so that you don't need to wait and measure the temperature before you pour.

  • Oxygenate the water and make green tea tastes better!

  • It makes tea leaves appear more spongy.

How do I drop the leaves?

There are 3 types:

  • Bottom dropping. Most commonly used, you drop the leaves first, then pour 1/3 of water. Swirl the cup, then pour water again.

  • Middle dropping. Fill a third of the cup, then drop the leaves. Swirl the cup, then pour water.

  • Top dropping. Fill the cup with water, then drop the leaves. Swirl the cup.

For most teas, including the Dragon Well green tea, you use bottom dropping: i.e. leaves first, then water.

For more delicate teas such as the Biluochun tea, it is better to surface-drop i.e. water first, then leaves.

You can also experiment with surface-dropping as brewing progresses.

What else do I need to know about water temperature?

If you haven't got a thermometer, don't despair!

When you pour water using the Phoenix method, the water will cool considerably.

By lifting your kettle high when pouring and creating movements, the cup and its surrounding air will take some heat off the water.

How do I make multiple infusions?

Unlike teabags, loose green tea can brew 3 times or more.

First infusion is richer and more bitter. This is because caffeine is highly soluble and there tends to be more of it in the first infusion.

Making multiple infusions is easy. Pour water, steep, decant, then re-steep.

What do you use for the second cup?

I like to use white porcelain for the second cup, as it allows me to admire the yellowish-green color of the liquor.

What is the One-Third Decant method?

The One-Third method leaves about a third of the tea liquor behind to act as seed for the next infusion.

Using this method, you can prolong HQ's Tribute Dragon Well tea from 3 to 5 infusions.

Make Green Tea Section #3:

What water should I use?

There is a saying that the best water for brewing tea tends to come from where the tea is grown.

This is the reason why Dragon Well tea is often paired with the Hupao spring water.

The ideal water is not hard, not chlorinated and not distilled. It should contain a small amount of minerals.

What if my water is hard?

There is no easy solution, unless you have a water softener or purifier. You can try using bottled water with mineral content of from 10 to 100 milligrams per litre.

What if my water is chlorinated?

Try leaving them overnight.

What about rain, snow or distilled water?

Not ideal as they have no mineral! Try adding a small quantity of salt.

Any more questions?

Ping them onto the FAQ form and I will try to find you a solution!

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