What Does Green Tea Taste Like?

Green tea, while always popular in Japan and China, has been becoming increasingly popular in other places in recent years. Today you can find various types of green tea on the shelf next to other popular teas, such as black, herbal, or ginger. 

When properly brewed, green tea tastes somewhat grassy, earthy, and sweet. In addition, it can also carry notes of floral tastes, fruit, and nuts. While often described this way, green tea should not taste bitter.

Often, green tea tends to taste bitter. However, if it is brewed in the proper fashion, this should not be one of its tastes. 

Types of Green Tea

Depending on the type of green tea, it will have somewhat different flavors. Some of the most popular types of green tea are Matcha, Sencha, Genmaicha, and Dragon Well.


Matcha is a green tea that has been ground down into a fine powder. It has a bright, earthy, fresh taste. It can also taste somewhat sweet and have hints of bitterness to it.


Sencha green tea has a fresh grassy flavor to it. It’s bright and often has a sour, tart flavor that can end on a sweeter note.


Unlike the other two green teas, Genmaicha has a toasted, nutty taste. You’ll still taste an earthy, grassy flavor, but you’ll get an additional flavor level. 

Dragon Well

Similar to Genmaicha, Dragon Well has a nutty flavor. However, it’s sweeter than Genmaicha and much lighter than other green teas.

Brewing Green Tea Incorrectly

Generally, the reason that some green tea tastes bitter is that it hasn’t been brewed correctly. 

If you brew the tea at too high a temperature, you’ll end up with bitter tea. If you use the wrong water, you can also end up with bitter tea. If you steep the tea for too long, you guessed it, bitter tea.

Brewing Green Tea Properly

If it’s so easy to brew green tea incorrectly and end up with bitter tea, how do you do it properly?


Using the right water is crucial. 

Minerals and additives in tap water can interact with green tea and cause it to become sour or bitter. Distilled water doesn’t develop the flavors and you end up with a weak flavor.

You only want to brew green tea with spring or filtered water.


While it’s common to boil water for black teas, green teas do not stand up well to boiling temperatures. 

Steeping green tea in boiling water will be a sure-fire way to end up with bitter tea. If you steep your tea in water that is too cold, you’ll end up with a tea that has very little flavor.

You want to try to keep the temperature of the water around 160 degrees. If you don’t keep thermometers handy, that’s essentially water that is only barely simmering.

Steeping the Tea

Over-steeping the tea will cause it to be horribly bitter. However, not steeping the tea for long enough will result in tea that tastes like little more than water.

You may need to do a little trial and error to find the optimal steeping time for your liking. However, generally, green tea is steeped for around two minutes.

Final Thoughts

Green tea can be a delicious beverage. When properly brewed it mostly tastes grassy, earthy, and a little sweet. Some types carry notes of nuts or flowers.

Unfortunately, it can be common for green tea to turn out bitter. However, if you brew a cup properly, you shouldn’t end up with any bitterness.