How to make a good (not bitter!) cup of green tea

I quickly learned when I started making green tea the “correct” way (I generally dislike the idea of a “correct” way to do anything since I like to experiment) that I was to blame for the bitter taste I had experienced on all of my previous attempts to like it.  Having been familiar only with the higher steeping temperatures required for the black teas I had always enjoyed, I didn’t give that much thought to the water temperature for a cup of green tea. My mistake. As it turns out, the “correct” way to make green tea really just means it is the way you will make it if you don’t want a bitter cup of ruined tea by which you may incorrectly judge and miss out on an entire world of glorious tea!  So… now I follow the “rules” and really, it isn’t even any trouble.

I want you to benefit from my mistakes and learn how to make green tea, good green tea.


Use filtered water and measure the tea if you are using loose leaf tea. You just need some measuring spoons.




Get a digital thermometer or start using the one you have already. I keep mine with the tea cups so it is always there and I simply have to press a button to get an immediate reading. If you steep green tea in water too hot it contributes to the unwanted bitterness.




Set a timer!  It is easy to use the microwave or oven timer, or the one on your cell phone, ipod or whatever your electronic device of choice. Leaving the tea in water too long can cause bitterness. Follow the recommended brew time for the tea you are using. Average time is 1-2 min for green tea, but some can brew as quickly as 30 seconds.


Let’s summarize these steps:


Use filtered, not tap, water.


If you are using loose leaf green tea, measure and use the amount suggested on the label. You can alter the amount later to cater to your taste, but start with the recommended amount.



Use a digital thermometer- most green teas steep best around 170-180F


Use a timer- average green tea steeping time varies so follow the recommendation on your package of tea, but average is 1-2 minutes.

One last thing…

If you are using loose leaf tea, you will also need an infuser to hold the leaves in the water while it steeps. I use a mesh cup-sized infuser as shown in the photo. I have used it for longer than I can even remember and it still works great. It is best to use an infuser of this size because it gives the tea leaves room to expand and allows for using a greater quantity of leaves if desired.

Later on we will talk about other factors (region of origin, season of harvest, etc.) that affect the taste of your cup of green tea- but for now, if you follow these steps you will be well on your way to enjoying your first, or first of many, cups of green tea! Enjoy!

a cup of green tea
enjoy a cup of green tea!

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