Steeping a cup of green tea can be done in many different ways. Sometimes you want to take out your full tea ceremony set and perform a ritual, while there are also moments that you just want to steep casually using a straight glass.
Traditionally, loose leaf green tea is often prepared in a glass as they benefit from lower water temperatures. The delicate leaves are also hard to over-steep and can be kept in the glass while you sip. Isolation of heat is also a less important factor compared to preparing oolong or pu erh tea. Those types of tea would be better of in an Yixing teapot.
Don’t underestimate the potential of simple straight glass though. With some simple tips and tricks you can achieve almost the same quality as traditional teaware. In the video below we show you 3 ways of brewing green tea in a glass, followed by more detailed notes to tweak the brewing process based on characteristics of the green tea leaves and environmental temperature.
Rinsing the glass with hot water before brewing can be beneficial to steep better tea. This will warm the glass, and thus keep the water temperature more consistent when performing your first brew. If you want to keep it casual, for example because you’re in office, then you could decide to skip this step.
Also read: Why tea breaks are good for you
The first way of brewing loose green tea in a glass is by first adding hot water before the leaves. This method is the most suitable for smaller tea leaves because they easily absorb water and release flavor, even when they’re added after the water.
Due to the smaller size of the leaves, they’re often more delicate, and thus benefit from the water temperature to cool slightly. When you add hot water at 85 C / 185 F it will decrease a few degrees by the time you add the leaves in.
In the second method for brewing loose leaf green tea, you first fill up the glass until it’s 1/3 full, followed by adding the leaves. This is great for mid-sized leaves.
In this last method, we first add the leaves followed by filling the glass with hot water. This method suits larger leaves the best, because they tend to absorb water slower then fine leaves. The brewing time would take too long when you apply the first method to brew larger leaves.
For each method, you should apply a steeping duration of 3 minutes with hot water at 85 C / 185 F.
For green tea, applying a leaf-to-water ratio of 1:50 is a good starting point. This means that 4 grams of leaf is good for a 200 ml (6-7 oz) glass of tea that can be steeped for 3 times.
Once you’ve consumed 2/3 of the glass or whenever you feel that the taste is becoming to strong, simply refill it with hot water. A good quality green tea should get you at least 3 brews.
While above we refer each way of steeping as a ‘method’ you could rather see them as variations in the way of brewing with a glass. Choosing a method to prepare loose leaf green tea based on the delicacy of the leaves is a great starting point. However, sometimes you need to consider the surrounding environment as well.
Let’s say you’re brewing a cup of tea outside during a hot summer day. Then the first method of adding hot water could already be great for tea leaves that you would normally steep with method 2. That’s because hot water tend to cool down more slowly in such condition. In contrast, you want to use method 3 (adding leaves before pouring hot water) more often when you’re in a low temperature environment. Questions? Please ask.