The Do's and Don'ts of Brewing Japanese Tea

by Krystina Quintana

Sure, you could brew a cup of tea by adding a tea bag into hot water. Though, if you're in Japan, you may get a few odd looks! Japan has a particular set of traditions, rules, and methods for many aspects of life, including Japanese tea.

Whether you're planning on traveling to Japan or want to learn more about the culture, you'll want to know how to brew a proper cup of tea according to Japanese standards.

Below, you’ll find the do’s and don’ts of brewing Japanese tea.

What Is The Proper Way To Brew Japanese Tea?

So, what is the proper way to brew tea in Japan? Well, you’ll need high-quality loose-leaf tea, a teapot with a strainer, and hot water. If you can find a kyusu, a traditional Japanese teapot, you can also use that to brew your tea.

While the quantity of tea will vary depending on the type of tea, typically, two teaspoons are enough for two people. After adding it to the teapot, you should boil your water. A crucial step is letting the water cool slightly before adding it to the tea. If water is too hot, it will take some of the nutrients out of the tea.

Then, add the hot water to the teapot, let it steep, and you'll have the perfect cup of tea brewed and ready to drink.

Of course, you can create tea from tea bags as well. Many people avoid tea bags in Japan, as it’s assumed they have lower quality tea in them. However, there are plenty of high-quality tea bags that will create the perfect cup of tea each time!

Do You Put Tea Bags In Boiling Hot Water?

The short answer to this question is no. You don’t want to put boiling water over teabags. Like loose-leaf tea, it's best if you use slightly cooled water. This helps prevent your tea from getting burned, giving the tea a bitter flavor. Using boiling water can also cause the tea not to release its flavor notes properly.

How Long Should You Brew Tea?

The amount of time for brewing tea depends on which type you're brewing! For example, high-quality matcha green tea only requires 30 seconds for the perfect cup. If you're making a cup of hojicha tea, it will need to steep for about two minutes.

What Are Traditional Japanese Teas?

In Japan, drinking green tea is popular because it has so many health benefits. It's even said that Japanese green tea has more benefits than regular green tea. Since this tea is so popular, there are quite a few varieties. Here are a few of the most common Japanese teas.


Sencha tea is only grown in the sunlight. It's offered as a loose-leaf tea option. When you brew sencha, it will create a cup of translucent tea. This brewed green tea can range in colors from yellow to brown. You'll notice a delicious herbal and grassy flavor when you drink sencha.

The Matabay Uji Sencha Tea (1 Bag) is the perfect way to see if you enjoy sencha. Spoiler alert: it’s hard not to love this type of tea!


Hojicha is a bit different from other green tea varieties. These green tea leaves are harvested much later in the season and are roasted before being sold. It has a delightfully nutty, warm flavor. This option is typically caffeine-free or lower in caffeine so that you can drink it in the afternoon safely.

Try the Bokksu Organic Hojicha Tea (1 Bag); you may even like it more than your usual morning cup of coffee!

Matcha Green Tea Powder

Matcha powder comes in ceremonial grade and culinary grade varieties. While most teas are brewed from loose leaves, matcha green tea is ground into a super fine powder and mixed with water.

This tea is also discernible by its bright green color. Matcha is grown only in the shade, contributing to its color and flavor. Matcha has a naturally slightly sweet taste and bitterness.

If you’re looking to make a cup of ceremonial matcha, try Kyoei Seicha Ceremonial-Grade Matcha: Unryu (30g). You’ll also need a mixing bowl, tea whisk, and scoop like the Kyoei Seicha Ceremonial Matcha Tea Starter Set. This variety is not ideal for matcha lattes.

Culinary matcha works great to make a matcha latte or similar morning drink. Matabay Uji Matcha Cappuccino (1 Stick) will help add some pep to your step.

What Is The Number One Tea In Japan?

The number one tea in Japan is hands down, green tea. From the varieties available, sencha is the top option. Any restaurant you visit in Japan will likely serve sencha tea alongside your meal. It's also a common choice in households.

What Is The Best Temperature For Brewing?

Like the amount of time required for the tea to brew, the temperature depends on which type of tea you’re making. The best temperature ranges from 120F-175F+. However, the majority of Japanese teas have the best flavor at 175F.

If you’re unsure of what temperature you need, start with 175F. If your tea is bitter, you've used too hot water. If your tea doesn't have much flavor, your water is not hot enough.

Don’t be afraid to play with the temperature slightly until you reach the desired level of flavor.

Bokksu Boutique has the perfect Japanese snacks to pair with Japanese tea. Whether you prefer Japanese candy, Japanese sweets, or savory treats, you can find it all at Bokksu. Try the Japanese snack subscription box for a set of snacks and tea that goes well together. If you still need more snacks for your cupboard, there are plenty of Japanese snack box options and Japanese candy box choices.

Now that you're super acquainted with tea, watch our video on how to drink tea in Japan!

Author Bio

Krystina Quintana is a 29-year-old copywriter living outside of Chicago, IL. Her passion for Asian culture began at a young age as she learned to create Asian-inspired recipes like homemade sushi with her family. This interest in Asian culture continues today with time spent in the kitchen and copywriting pursuits. Krystina has worked with customers ranging from small businesses to food Youtubers with 70,000+ subscribers. With a passion for food and travel, she seeks to help businesses bring traffic to their page by writing blog posts that are engaging, informative, and fun to read.