It’s summer. It’s hot. As I sit out on my patio writing this article, I can feel the hot sun beating down and the humidity sticking to my skin. I need a break from the heat.

So let me ask you, what better way is there to cool off than with a refreshing glass of iced sencha? 🙂

cold japanese green tea

Cold Brewing vs Hot Brewing

The two most common ways of making iced sencha are hot brewing and cold brewing. Hot brewing has the advantage of being quick, whereas cold brewing requires several hours to be done correctly. However, cold brewing is often considered to give a superior flavour. In this article, we are going to focus on the cold brewing method.

Items Required

There aren’t many items required for making iced sencha, but you will need:

  • Freshly made ice
  • A teapot, preferably on the larger side
  • A pitcher to contain the tea once brewed
  • Room in your fridge 😉

Brewing Process

For my iced tea, I am using O-Cha.com’s Sae Midori sencha. The amount of leaf used would be slightly more than when brewing hot. In contrast to my review on SM, I am using 2g per 50 ml.

scooping japanese green tea into kyusu teapot

Iced sencha is not fussy; brewing time of the first infusion can vary radically. Typically, I allow the first infusion to steep for 3 hours. I feel that this is the minimal time required.

Once steeping, place your kyusu in the refrigerator. When the first infusion is finished brewing, transfer it into your pitcher and begin to brew the second infusion. The second infusion only requires a 30 minutes to steep.

Unlike normal brewing of sencha, I find the best results come from mixing the first and second infusions together. Most of the light subtleties and sweetness comes out in the first infusion, and the body and grassiness are in the second. Combining both creates a full, balanced taste.

And that’s it! Just add ice and enjoy a refreshing glass of iced sencha.

iced sencha

More Iced Sencha Tips

Being an easy brewer, iced sencha is very versatile. Here are some additional tips to enhance your cold brewing experience.

  • You can brew a third infusion for 45 mins. However, it is not recommended mixing it with the first two steepings.
  • The first infusion can be brewed successfully from 3 – 8 hours. If you are planning to travel the following day but don’t have time to make iced sencha in the morning, go for a longer infusing time and begin steeping before you go to bed.
  • If you aren’t going to consume your tea immediately, be sure that it is kept in an opaque container.
  • Do you have a few containers of sencha with too little leaf for a regular brew, but don’t want it to go to waste? Combine the leaf and use it for cold brewing.

 

Griff is the co-founder of The Art of Japanese Green Tea website and video series.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Rob

    Hi Griff, thought I’d say hello. I really like your site, blog and YouTube videos.

    I always disliked iced tea (made using hot water that has cooled down) but I heard on one of your videos a while ago that you guys mentioned cold brewing. I tried this a few weeks back and I think it works great. I’ve made a few jugs since and will now always steep this way and be able to enjoy iced tea. So thanks for the advice.

    Also, I have purchased from O-cha based on your comments. They are indeed excellent and I’ve just placed my third order – this time for a few tea caddies, that I can see you use in the pictures, plus some Sincha which I’ve never had before.

    I have learnt quite a few things from your work, so I’m most grateful.

    Take Care
    Rob

    1. Griff

      Hi Rob, I really appreciate hearing from you!

      Cold brewing is my preferred method of making iced sencha as well. Refreshingly flavourful, it’s great on any warm day. 🙂

      I’m also glad you have enjoyed ordering from O-Cha. Over the years, I have purchased so much from them that I am incredibly confident in recommending their products.

      All the best 🙂

  2. François

    Hi there,

    Thank you for writing this and many other enlightening articles.

    Are there more budget-oriented senchas (on o-cha or elsewhere) you’d recommend for iced tea? Is it better to go for a naturally sweeter tea? For instance, right now I am going through 100g of o-cha’s Chiran Sencha (not a big fan; I find it has an unpleasant smell and is heavy on the stomach – a reviewer called it “beefy”), and I would not use it for iced tea.

    Thanks
    François

    1. Griff

      Hi François, I’m glad you have enjoyed these articles! You may find them less enlightening in the not-too-distant future as I have a positive review for Chiran coming up soon. But to each their own. 🙂

      Typically, I like to use a grassy fukamushi for iced sencha. A tea like O-Cha’s Fukamushi Sencha Kaoru would be quite suitable. However, as there are some similarities between this sencha and Chiran, you may want to try something completely different.

      I would recommend to you Miyazaki Organic Asamushi Sencha by O-Cha. At a very economical price, Miyazaki delivers a subtle sweet flavour that would brew well as iced sencha.

      If you are interested in learning more about these two sencha, here are some links to reviews I’ve done on them, as well as a link to their product page on O-Cha.com.

      Miyazaki:
      http://theartofjapanesegreentea.com/miyazaki-organic-asamushi-sencha-review/
      http://www.o-cha.com/miyazaki-organic-sencha.html

      Fukamushi Kaoru:
      http://theartofjapanesegreentea.com/fukamushi-sencha-kaoru-review-how-to/
      http://www.o-cha.com/Fukamushi-Sencha-Kaoru.html

    1. Griff

      Every year since I began ordering from O-Cha I have purchased Kirameki (Uji San no Ma) as a shincha season treat. I would highly recommend trying it. 🙂 Though I am also very interested in trying Asamushi Watsuka…it may be a little over my budget though 😉

  3. Haukim Lex

    So I did find the time to make the iced sencha, and it worked! I made it with a 1200 JPY (for 100g) asamushi from Horaido. It turned out a bit too bitter, becaused I used too much leaf (I used all the leaf I had left in my canister since I saw there wouldn’t be enough for another brew), but all in all this was the best iced tea I’ve ever had! Driking it now from a tall glass with a lot of ice-cubes. The only downside is that I am now out of sencha until Ujibashi San no Ma arrives, which will probably be either Saturday or Tuesday as long as it doesn’t get stuck due to customs issues. At least I have about 25g of matcha left, so that should get me through the rest of the week.

    1. Griff

      I’m really glad it worked out for you 😀 There is nothing more refreshing than a tall, cool glass of iced sencha on a muggy August day.

      I hope your sencha arrives soon but remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder. 😉

  4. Mitschu Myy

    There has been some warm weather lately in Germany and since summer is coming I reviewed your article on Iced Sencha. I am excited to try Iced Sencha.
    Up until now I have done some iced tea from black tea or green tea or even some herb infusions the hot brewing method and it has been a good refreshment on hot days 🙂

    1. Griff

      I’ve been meaning to do an article on hot brewing iced sencha for a while. There is definitely merit in the speed and convenience of hot brewing. However I still find the taste of cold brewed superior (with green tea at least). You will find cold brewed sencha to be incredibly fresh and grassy without astringency. Perfect for a hot summer’s day! 😀

  5. Andrew

    hi Griff,

    I’m a complete newbie to green tea – I just recently decided to try iced green tea for my mornings as an alternative to coffee, and I want to do cold brew so I found this article through Google searching how to do it.

    I mainly mentioned that to preface my question which I hope isn’t embarrassingly obvious: what do you mean when you say to mix the first and second infusions? As I understand it, you instruct: after the first infusion, transfer this liquid to the pitcher and steep again. Then the confusing aspect – mix these two infusions together? If I’ve taken infusion one, poured it into a pitcher, then steeped it again, isn’t it just one batch of tea, steeped twice? What am I mixing?

    I must be just missing you on a step – any help/explanation would be appreciated – again, my precious knowledge about this is nil.

    1. Griff

      Hey Andrew,

      Don’t worry, your question isn’t embarrassingly obvious (even if it was, there wouldn’t be anything to be embarrassed about. Answering questions is the bread and butter of this site, no matter how basic or advanced they are.) 🙂

      Anyway, when it comes to Japanese green tea, the leaves can be steeped multiple times. Each steeping is often referred to as an “infusion”. Typically, the first infusion is the tastiest, and each subsequent infusion is less and less flavourful.

      I think the confusing part is that each infusion uses new water. What I mean when I suggest mixing the first and second infusion is this:

      1) Brew the first infusion in a teapot.
      2) Once it has finished steeping, pour the liquid into a new vessel.
      3) In the teapot (with the leaves still in it), pour in FRESH water and allow it to steep. This is the second infusion.
      4) Once the second infusion has finished steeping, pour that liquid into the same vessel you poured the first infusion.

      I hope that makes sense. If further clarification is required, don’t hesitate to ask. 😀

      1. Andrew

        hey Griff, I’ve been cold brewing Sencha for almost a month now, and I love it. Instead of mixing infusions, I’ve just been steeping one infusion for a longer period of time (anywhere between 12 and 24 hours). Essentially, I pour my infusion out of my kyusu in the morning, then do a quick cleaning of it and put the tea and water in for an all-day steep till the next morning (or if I don’t have time, I do it when I get home, which is why it’s only sometimes 12 hours).

        I’ve also been adding chia seeds for a little bit, now, which makes the whole thing feel even healthier, and somewhat filling and more energizing. So, even though I didn’t follow your method to a tee (mostly because 2 infusions is just tougher on my schedule), you’ve helped me on cold brewing journey and I am grateful!

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  7. Mojca

    Thanks for this post Griff and bringing the joys of iced sencha to more people! I love iced sencha, or even just cold-water-brewed sencha (no ice). A question though – what’s the volume of the pot you brew your sencha in, a typical kyusu usually only holds between 250 and 350ml?
    I usually brew it straight in a 1 or 1.5 l jug/pitcher and leave between 3 and 12 hours in the fridge. Tastes delicious. Have you ever tried that, brewing in a larger amount of water and if yes, what are your thoughts?
    Many thanks!

  8. Rich

    Hi Griff, I’ve recently bought a Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Tea Pot – and by your calculation, I’d need to use roughly 40g of tea per 1l of cold brew, Sencha is said to be able to be brewed a few times, would topping it up after a glass still taste ok?

    I’m a bit hesitant to try as I brought home some amazing teas from Japan and don’t want to waste them.

    Thanks!

    1. Griff

      Hi Rich, you should be able to get 3 steepings out of your iced sencha- 4 if you don’t mind it being mild. I haven’t tried constantly topping up my teapot with more water instead of individual steeps, but I can imagine it would be a good method. 🙂

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