Tea Culture

Some Non-Comprehensive Guidelines on Brewing Your Sencha and Other Loose Leaf Teas

Let’s learn to brew tea. We’ll describe a general process, then go into more of the specifics of how to brew hot tea and turn it into ice

The General Process

Every tea is unique and can be explored. In general, you brew one cup, experience the resulting cup, and adjust your brewing parameters accordingly. Perhaps, one way to think of it is that brewing tea can be like baking and it can be like cooking. Tea can be like baking when you follow the recommended guidelines, but exploring a tea and brewing it according to your current emotional and physical environment is more like cooking.

On our site, we list recommended guidelines for the amount of tea and water to be used, brewing temperature, brewing time, etc. You are welcome to follow these guidelines. You can also experiment with the different factors of the brewing process and explore a particular tea you are drinking. You might consider who you are drinking tea with, how much time you have, what time of day it is, caffeine sensitivity, etc. Within reason, there is not a definite right or wrong way to make tea.

Experimenting with different brewing temperatures. You can have different experiences with the same tea by changing the parameters of your brewing process.

The Specific Process for Brewing Hot Tea

Ideally, you would want…

  • High quality tea
  • Great quality water (Spring water, Reverse Osmosis, something like this)
  • Something to heat the water, like a kettle
  • A vessel to brew the tea in
  • A vessel to decant the brew into
    • This can be a serving pitcher, to pour tea into separate cups. This also known as a fairness cup (in the Japanese tea tradition you could perhaps use an yuzamashi)
  • A vessel to drink from
  • These could all be the same vessel, as is the case with out LT Tea Cup With Strainer

A Step at a Time

  1. Get yourself high quality leaf
  2. As a standard, try using 1 heaping tsp of tea for 4oz (118ml) of water
  3. Depending on the tea, heat up your water to a temperature that is appropriate for the tea. The temperature guidelines are given on our website.
    • You can boil your water, then cool it by letting it sit or by pouring it into a separate vessel one or two times. The first time would bring it to around 180F, the second time would bring it down to about 160F. See the diagram further into this blog post for a clearer picture.
  4. Put the tea leaves in your brewing vessel (a kyusu, a gaiwan, a bowl)
  5. Add your heated water
  6. Let the leaves brew in the hot water.
  7. After brewing the leaves, separate the leaves from the brew.
    • Decanting into a separate vessel would be like preparing ramen noodles by boiling them and then pouring out the boiled, starchy water into a separate container or the sink.
    • If using a vessel and metal basket with leaves in it, you would simply remove the basket from the cup, leaving behind the brew in your vessel. This would be like cooking your ramen noodles in a basket and removing basket of cooked noodles, leaving just the starchy water.
    • The idea is simply to separate the leaves from the brew.
  8. Your tea is ready! You can drink it yourself or pour it into a serving pitcher to then pour into separate cups.
    • Iced Tea: You can take the brew that you made and pour it into a vessel with ice in it. Now you have iced tea. Alternatively, you can also add ice to your brew.

Here is a short video of the first example, brewing the tea then decanting the liquid:

And here is an example of the second method, brewing the leaves in a basket then removing the basket:

Water Temperature

There are many ways to heat the water to the desired temperature. Traditionally, water would be boiled then left to cool. As mentioned above, one way to cool your water is to pour your boiled water into a separate vessel. This will lower the temperature of the water by around 20 degrees each time you do this. Please see the picture below.

Exploring Your Tea

Questions might arise when brewing: “Perhaps I should use cooler water”, “Perhaps I should steep the tea for a longer time”, “I want a more complex cup, perhaps I should use more leaf.” This would be the time where you go beyond the guidelines we provide you and experience the nuances of the tea that you are drinking by changing the different aspects of the preparation and brewing process. You might do 5g of tea leaves instead of 3g. You might up the water temperature a bit or lower the amount of water you use to make a more complex, full-bodied cup. There is nothing wrong with simply following the guidelines and not exploring your tea. Some people prefer to follow instructions get a similar result every time. Just remember that the option is always there to explore different parameters of brewing.

We hope this information helps you. Of course, if you have any questions feel free to email us at info@denstea.com. Feel free to follow our instagram and tiktok as well as subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email address in the designated area at the bottom of any page of our website.