Steps to process and make your own green tea

Steps to process and make your own green tea

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Do you have a tea plant and want to know how to make your own green tea? It’s really not that hard! But it can be slightly time-consuming, so be prepared to devote about an hour to it.

I’ve been asked if it’s possible to simply throw a bunch of tea leaves into a pot of boiling water, similar to making a tea with other herbs. This method can make a decent tea, but it is not necessarily green tea.

All types of tea come from the same plant, so it is the processing of the leaves that determines whether it is green, oolong, or black tea.

Green tea is unfermented or un-oxidized. Steaming is the most important step in making green tea because it stops the leaves from fermenting.

Picking tea leaves

I went to the Green Pia Tea Farm in Shizuoka, Japan where I learned how to pick green tea leaves and process them myself.

To pick the best leaves, choose a shoot that has at least five leaves. Then, pick the top two or three leaves. These are the youngest leaves and are usually a yellow-green color.

Left: Mecha, Genmaicha, Houjicha; Right: Sencha, Karigane (Kukicha), Powered Sencha (on right), BanchaLeft: Mecha, Genmaicha, Houjicha; Right: Sencha, Karigane (Kukicha), Powdered Sencha (on right), Bancha

How to make your own green tea

I’ll explain two common methods to process and make your own green tea.

1. The Traditional Method

What you need:

50 grams of raw tea leaves (about 2 handfuls)
Hot plate or frying pan
Newspaper
Makisu: Bamboo sushi-rolling mat
1/2 cup water

Steps:

  1. Preparation. Pour the water onto the hot plate and preheat to 200 – 300° F. Rinse the leaves.
  2. Steam the leaves. Put the green tea leaves on the hot plate when the water starts to boil. Keep stirring until the tea absorbs all the water. Remove the leaves before all the water dries up.
  3. Roll the leaves. Place the Makisu on top of some newspaper. Put the green tea leaves on the Makisu. Knead the leaves like dough for about 3 minutes. Roll the leaves back and forth to pull out the moisture. The water should drain through the Makisu onto the newspaper.
  4. Dry the leaves. Turn down the hot plate to 100 – 150° F. Spread the tea leaves out on the hot plate. Separate and stir the leaves for about 5 minutes to release moisture.
  5. Repeat steps #3 and #4 three more times.
  6. Dry completely. Turn down the hot plate to 50 – 80° F. Spread the tea leaves out on the hot plate and dry completely for about 15 – 20 minutes. Separate and stir the leaves making sure not to burn them.
  7. Store. Store in an air-tight container.

2. The Microwave Method

What you need:

50 grams of raw tea leaves (about 2 handfuls)
Plastic wrap
Cutting board
Hot plate or frying pan

Steps:

  1. Preparation. Rinse the leaves.
  2. Steam the leaves. Wrap the leaves in plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes.
  3. Roll the leaves. Put the green tea leaves in the middle of a cutting board. Knead the leaves like dough for about 3 minutes. Roll the leaves back and forth to pull out the moisture.
  4. Dry the leaves. Put the leaves in plastic wrap and microwave again for 1 minute.
  5. Repeat steps #3 and #4 three more times.
  6. Dry completely. Preheat the hot plate to 50 – 80° F. Spread the tea leaves out on the hot plate and dry completely for about 15 – 20 minutes. Separate and stir the leaves making sure not to burn them.
  7. Store. Store in an air-tight container.

Sources

Zee, F. (2003). Small-scale tea growing and processing in Hawaii. Honolulu: Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Becki
Becki Benedict has a Master’s degree in International Studies and has traveled extensively throughout Asia. She has lived and worked in Japan, China, and Thailand.

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