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Standard Steeping Technique

Ian Chun |

Remember, these techniques are guidelines meant to start you off. Depending on your own personal taste, the water type you have available, and of course the specific tea leaves, you should learn to adjust the water amount, temperature, tea leaf amount and steep time to achieve your perfect cup of tea.

Serves: One person (or two people with smaller cups)
Water amount: 1 tea cup / 6 oz / 180 cc / 180 ml旨(ぬる)だし
Water temperature: 70-100C / 158-212F degrees (NOTE: Use lower temp for less astringency, higher temp for more astringency.)
Tea leaves amount: 1 tablespoon / 5 grams

Teaware: Any teapot will do, although Japanese teapots (kyusu) are the best. Yokkaichi bankoyaki kyusu will actually absorb the bitterness of the tea as it is steeped. If you do not have a teapot, you can use a wide bowl or mug cup, then filter using a net. Paper filters are not recommended, but we’re farmers, we understand you sometimes have to make do with what you have.

First steeping (issen me 一煎目)

  1. Place leaves into teapot
  2. Boil water and pour into the teapot.
  3. Wait about 30 seconds. (20 seconds for kabuse sencha, shincha and delicate leaves)
  4. Pour into cup to drink

Note: We highly recommend using the Warm Water Steeping Technique for shaded teas (Kabuse and Gyokuro).

Second steeping (nisen me 二煎目)

Same process but steep for a quick 10 seconds. The leftover water clinging to the leaves from the first steeping after you’ve poured the tea into your cup is still drawing out the flavor from the leaves. So this second steeping is very quick.

Third steeping (sansen me 三煎目) and more…

Same process but steep for 30 seconds. “And more”? What does that mean you ask? To be truthful, some of us continue steeping the leaves like this for 5, 6, or even 7 times. It’s a matter of personal taste how light do you like your tea. However, after the 4th steeping, most people will probably say the flavor is gone.

Houjicha is especially good for multiple steepings, and a little known secret: take the brewed houjicha leaves, steep it overnight in the refrigerator, and you’ll end up with a light, sweet iced houjicha in the morning. The last of the sugar from the stems is drawn out with this method.

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