Sencha Green Tea: Ultimate Guide 2023


Sencha Green Tea: Ultimate Guide 2021



Chinese sencha is a type of green tea that has been enjoyed for centuries. It’s a refreshing and healthy beverage that can be brewed in many different ways, depending on your preferences. If you’re new to sencha, you might be wondering how to brew it properly or what grade of sencha to choose. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about sencha so you can start enjoying this delicious tea.

To brew sencha, it’s important to use water that is around 80°C and steep the tea leaves for 1-2 minutes. This will ensure that the tea doesn’t become too bitter or astringent. You can experiment with different brewing times and temperatures to find the perfect balance of flavor and strength.

The grade of sencha can vary widely, from lower-grade options that are more affordable but less complex in flavor, to premium options with delicate flavors and aromas. Unshaded sencha is made from tea leaves that have been exposed to sunlight, resulting in a more robust flavor profile than shaded varieties.

If you’re new to sencha, it’s best to start with a lower-grade option and work your way up as your taste buds become more accustomed to the unique flavor profile of this tea. Don’t be afraid to try different grades and varieties until you find one that suits your tastes.

In addition to its delicious taste, there are many health benefits associated with drinking sencha green tea. It contains antioxidants that may help protect against cancer and heart disease, as well as compounds that may improve brain function and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Table of Contents

Sencha Harvesting: San Bancha, Aki Bancha, and Shincha/Ichi Bancha

San Bancha, Aki Bancha, and Shincha/Ichi Bancha: The Three Types of Sencha Harvesting

Shincha/Ichi Bancha: The First Flush of Leaves in Spring

Harvested before the leaves fully develop, Shincha/Ichi Bancha is made from the first flush of leaves in spring. This type of sencha has a delicate flavor that is highly sought after by tea enthusiasts. It is harvested early to capture the essence of the young buds and leaves before they mature. This results in a tea with a light and refreshing taste that is perfect for those who prefer milder flavors.

San Bancha and Aki Bancha: Harvested Later in the Year

San Bancha and Aki Bancha are harvested later in the year than Shincha/Ichi Bancha. These types of sencha use older leaves from the same plants as Shincha/Ichi Bancha. San Bancha is harvested during summer while Aki Bancha is harvested during autumn. Both San and Aki banchas have a stronger flavor compared to Shincha/Ichi banchas due to their age.

Kabusecha: Shading Plants to Increase Umami Flavor

Kabusecha, another type of sencha, is made by shading the plants to increase umami flavor. The plants are shaded for several weeks before harvest so that direct sunlight cannot reach the leaves. This process allows for more chlorophyll production which gives Kabusechas its characteristic green color while also increasing its umami flavor profile.

The History of Sencha Harvesting

Baisao was one of the first people to promote senchas as an alternative to matchas during Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868). He believed that senchas were healthier than matchas since they were less processed, making them more natural and closer to the tea plant’s original state. Nagatani Soen, a student of Baisao, developed the first sencha production method in 1738. This method involved steaming the leaves before rolling and drying them, which is still used today.

Different Types of Sencha Based on Steaming Process and Flavor Profile

Fukamushi Sencha: Delicate Flavor Profile with Less Bitterness and Astringency

Longer Steaming Time for a More Refined Taste

Fukamushi sencha is a type of Japanese green tea that undergoes a longer steaming process compared to other types of sencha. This results in a more delicate flavor profile with less bitterness and astringency. The leaves are steamed for approximately 1-2 minutes, which breaks down the cell walls and releases more amino acids and catechins. As a result, the tea has a sweeter taste with less bitterness.

Less Astringent Taste Profile

The longer steaming time also affects the texture of the tea. Fukamushi sencha has smaller leaf particles that create a cloudy appearance when brewed. This cloudiness is due to the increased amount of fine particles that are released during the steeping process. The smaller particles also contribute to the smooth mouthfeel of fukamushi sencha, making it feel silkier on the tongue than other types of sencha.

Pairs Well with Delicate Flavors

Due to its delicate flavor profile, fukamushi sencha pairs well with lighter foods such as sushi or sashimi. It also complements sweet desserts like mochi or fruit tarts since it doesn’t overpower their flavors.

Asamushi Sencha: Bold Taste Profile with More Bitterness and Astringency

Shorter Steaming Time for Stronger Flavor

Asamushi sencha is another type of Japanese green tea that undergoes a shorter steaming process compared to fukamushi sencha. The leaves are only steamed for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, which results in a bolder taste profile with more bitterness and astringency.

Stronger Astringent Taste Profile

The shorter steaming time means that fewer amino acids and catechins are released from the leaves. As a result, the tea has a stronger taste with more bitterness and astringency. The larger leaf particles also contribute to the rougher mouthfeel of asamushi sencha, making it feel more coarse on the tongue than fukamushi sencha.

Pairs Well with Bold Flavors

Asamushi sencha pairs well with bolder flavors such as grilled meats or spicy dishes since its strong taste can stand up to them. It also complements savory snacks like rice crackers or pickles since its bitterness can balance out their saltiness.

How to Drink Sencha: Tips on Water Ratio and Temperature

Water Ratio: 1 teaspoon of sencha per 8 ounces of water

To get the optimal taste from your sencha, it’s important to use the right ratio of tea leaves to water. A general rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon of sencha per eight ounces of water. This ratio will give you a perfect balance between the flavor and strength of your tea.

Using too much tea leaves can result in a bitter taste, while using too little can make your tea weak and watery. So, it’s essential to measure out the right amount before steeping.

If you prefer a stronger or weaker taste, feel free to adjust the ratio accordingly. However, keep in mind that using more than one tablespoon for every eight ounces of water may cause bitterness.

Water Temperature: 175°F to 185°F

The temperature at which you brew your sencha also plays a crucial role in determining its taste. Sencha should be brewed at a lower temperature than most other teas because it is less oxidized and has delicate flavors.

The ideal temperature range for brewing sencha is between 175°F to 185°F (79°C -85°C). Water that is too hot can scorch the leaves and lead to bitterness, while water that is not hot enough will not extract enough flavor from the leaves.

One way to achieve this temperature range is by bringing your water to a boil and then letting it cool down for about two minutes before pouring it over the tea leaves. Alternatively, you can use an electric kettle with adjustable temperature settings.

Steeping Time: 1-2 Minutes for Light Flavor; Up To 3 Minutes for Stronger Taste

The length of time you steep your sencha will also affect its taste. Steeping time determines how much flavor and caffeine are extracted from the leaves.

For a light flavor, steep your sencha for one minute only. For a stronger taste, increase the steeping time to two or three minutes. However, be careful not to over-steep your tea as it can result in a bitter taste.

It’s also essential to note that the first steeping of sencha is usually the most flavorful, while subsequent steepings may have a milder taste. But don’t throw away your tea leaves after the first steeping! Sencha can be re-steeped up to three times, with each subsequent steeping increasing in time by 30 seconds.

Perfecting Your Sencha Brew: Water Ratio and Temperature Tips

Water Ratio and Temperature Tips for Perfecting Your Sencha Brew

Water temperature and ratio are crucial factors in brewing the perfect cup of sencha. These variables can have a significant impact on the taste, aroma, and overall quality of your tea. In this section, we will discuss some tips and tricks to help you achieve the ideal water-to-tea ratio and temperature for your sencha brew.

Ideal Water Temperature for Brewing Sencha

The ideal water temperature for brewing sencha is around 70-80°C (158-176°F). This range is lower than other types of green tea because sencha leaves are more delicate and prone to scorching. If the water is too hot, it can cause the leaves to release bitter flavors that can overpower the natural sweetness of sencha. On the other hand, if the water is too cold, it may not extract enough flavor from the leaves.

To achieve optimal results, we recommend using a thermometer or an electric kettle with a temperature control feature to ensure that your water is within this range. If you don’t have access to these tools, you can also boil your water first and then let it cool down for a few minutes before pouring it over your tea leaves.

Water-to-Tea Ratio

The water-to-tea ratio refers to how much tea you use per unit of water. A common ratio for sencha is 1:2, which means using 1 gram of tea leaves for every 2 ounces (60 ml) of hot water. However, this ratio can vary depending on personal preference and the quality of your tea.

If you prefer a stronger brew, you can increase the amount of tea leaves while keeping the same amount of water. Conversely, if you prefer a milder flavor, you can decrease the amount of tea while increasing the amount of water.

Brewing Time

The brewing time also plays a vital role in determining how your sencha will taste. Steeping sencha for too long can result in a bitter taste, while steeping it for too little time may not extract enough flavor from the leaves.

The optimal brewing time for sencha is typically between 30-60 seconds. However, this can vary depending on the quality of your tea and personal preference. We recommend experimenting with different brewing times until you find the ideal length that suits your taste.

Using High-Quality Loose Leaves

To achieve the best results when brewing sencha, it’s essential to use high-quality loose leaves. Loose leaves allow for better water circulation and extraction compared to tea bags, which can contain lower quality or broken leaves that affect the overall flavor and aroma of your tea.

Investing in high-quality loose leaf sencha may cost more upfront but can save you money in the long run by providing a richer and more satisfying drinking experience.

How to Make Sencha Green Tea: A Step-by-Step Guide with Final Words

Boil Water to 175°F

The first step in making sencha green tea is to boil water to 175°F. This temperature is crucial because it ensures that the delicate flavor of the tea is not lost during preparation. Boiling water at a higher temperature can cause the leaves to burn, resulting in a bitter taste.

To achieve this temperature, bring your water to a boil and then let it cool for about 5 minutes before using it for steeping. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can simply wait until the bubbles in the water start to slow down before pouring it over your tea leaves.

Measure Sencha Leaves

Next, measure out one teaspoon of sencha leaves per cup of water that you will be using. This measurement ensures that you get just the right amount of flavor without overpowering or diluting your tea.

Sencha leaves are often sold loose-leaf style, so make sure to use an infuser or strainer when steeping them in hot water. You can also purchase pre-packaged teabags if you prefer convenience.

Place Leaves in Teapot or Strainer

Once you have measured out your sencha leaves, place them into a teapot or strainer. The size of your vessel will depend on how many cups of tea you plan on making.

If using a teapot, make sure it has been rinsed with hot water beforehand to warm up the pot and prevent any sudden changes in temperature that could affect the taste of your tea.

Pour Hot Water Over Leaves and Steep

Now it’s time to pour your hot water over the sencha leaves and steep for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to oversteep as this can result in bitterness.

During this process, watch as the color of the liquid changes from clear to pale green-yellow hue as flavors are extracted from the leaves.

Remove Leaves and Pour Tea Into Cups

After steeping, remove the sencha leaves from your teapot or strainer. Pour the tea into cups and enjoy!

Final Words

Sencha is a delicate tea that requires careful preparation to bring out its full flavor. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy a perfect cup of sencha every time.

The Health Benefits of Sencha: Why You Should Add It to Your Diet

Antioxidant-Rich Sencha: A Health Booster

Sencha is a type of green tea that has been consumed for centuries in Japan and other parts of Asia. It is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are steamed and dried to prevent oxidation. Unlike other types of green tea, sencha is grown in full sunlight, giving it a unique flavor and aroma.

One of the most significant health benefits of sencha is its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect the body from harmful free radicals, which can damage cells and contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Sencha contains several types of antioxidants, including catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols.

Catechins are particularly abundant in sencha and have been shown to have potent antioxidant properties. In fact, some studies suggest that catechins may be even more effective than vitamins C and E at neutralizing free radicals. Regular consumption of sencha can help boost your body’s natural defenses against oxidative stress and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Another benefit of drinking sencha regularly is its potential to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels are two major risk factors for these conditions, but research suggests that sencha may help reduce both.

The catechins in sencha have been shown to improve blood flow by relaxing blood vessels and reducing inflammation. This effect can help lower blood pressure levels over time. Some studies suggest that regular consumption of green tea may help improve cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Relaxation & Reduced Stress

Sencha also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. L-theanine works by increasing alpha brain wave activity, which is associated with a state of relaxed alertness. This effect can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while improving mental clarity and focus.

Improved Brain Function

In addition to its relaxation benefits, sencha has also been linked to improved brain function, memory, and focus. The caffeine in sencha can help increase energy levels and improve physical performance, while the L-theanine promotes mental clarity and focus. Together, these two compounds create a unique synergy that can help boost cognitive function.

One study found that participants who consumed green tea extract containing both caffeine and L-theanine showed significant improvements in attention span, reaction time, and working memory compared to those who took a placebo. Another study found that regular consumption of green tea was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

Gyokuro vs Sencha: What’s the Difference? Comparing Matcha and Other Japanese Teas

Gyokuro and sencha are two of the most popular Japanese green teas available in the market. While both teas come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, they differ significantly in their cultivation and processing methods. In this section, we will explore the differences between gyokuro and sencha to help you understand which one is right for you.

Cultivation Methods

Gyokuro is grown in the shade for several weeks before harvesting. This process, known as “shading,” causes the tea leaves to produce more chlorophyll and less catechin, resulting in a sweeter and more delicate flavor compared to sencha. The shading process also increases the amino acid content of the leaves, particularly L-theanine, which gives gyokuro its distinct umami taste.

On the other hand, sencha is grown under direct sunlight or light shade for several months before harvesting. This method produces a tea with a stronger flavor and aroma than gyokuro due to its higher catechin content. Sencha is also less expensive than gyokuro because it requires less labor-intensive cultivation methods.

Processing Methods

After harvesting, both types of tea undergo different processing methods that further differentiate them from each other.

For gyokuro, after being harvested by hand or machine (depending on quality), it undergoes several stages of steaming and drying before being rolled into thin needles. The needles are then sorted by size and shape before being packaged for sale.

Sencha goes through a similar process but with some variations depending on type. Regular sencha undergoes a short steaming period followed by rolling into long needle shapes while fukamushi sencha goes through an extended steaming period resulting in finer texture but still retaining its needle shape.


Matcha is another type of Japanese green tea that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. It is made from shade-grown leaves, which are ground into a fine powder. Unlike gyokuro and sencha, matcha is not steeped but whisked with hot water to create a frothy beverage.

Matcha has a distinct umami flavor due to its high L-theanine content, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy the taste of gyokuro. Matcha also contains more caffeine than gyokuro or sencha due to the consumption of the whole leaf rather than just an infusion.

The History of Sencha Green Tea: From Ancient Japan to Modern Times

The Origins of Sencha Green Tea

Sencha green tea has a long and rich history in Japan, dating back to the 8th century. It is believed that the first tea seeds were brought to Japan from China by Buddhist monks who used tea for medicinal purposes. At this time, tea was consumed as a powdered form called matcha, which was used in religious ceremonies.

It wasn’t until the 17th century that sencha became popular in Japan. During this time, Japanese merchants began trading with China and were introduced to new methods of preparing tea leaves. The Chinese method of pan-frying or roasting the leaves was replaced by steaming them for only a few seconds, which helped to preserve their delicate flavor and aroma.

The Art of Preparing Sencha

Preparing and serving Japanese tea is considered an art form in Japan, with many traditional ceremonies and rituals still practiced today. The Japanese tea ceremony, also known as chanoyu or sado, is a cultural activity that involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha green tea.

While sencha is not typically served during formal Japanese tea ceremonies, it still holds an important place in Japanese culture. The art of preparing sencha involves several steps: heating the water to just below boiling point; warming up the teapot; adding loose leaf sencha into the pot; pouring hot water over the leaves; steeping for about one minute; pouring out into cups; and finally enjoying the delicious taste and aroma.

Sencha Today

Today, sencha green tea is one of the most popular types of Japanese green teas around the world. Its popularity can be attributed to its unique flavor profile – it has a light sweetness with a slightly bitter aftertaste – as well as its numerous health benefits.

Studies have shown that drinking sencha may help reduce stress levels due to its high levels of L-theanine – an amino acid found almost exclusively in green tea. Sencha is also rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

In addition to its health benefits, sencha has become a staple in Japanese culture and is enjoyed by people of all ages. It is often served at restaurants, cafes, and even vending machines throughout Japan.

Sencha Green Tea – A Delicious and Healthy Beverage

In conclusion, sencha green tea is a popular and delicious beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries in Japan and around the world. With its unique steaming process, it offers a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from other green teas. Drinking sencha can be an enjoyable experience with the right water ratio and temperature, making it perfect for those who want to explore different types of tea.

Not only is sencha delicious, but it also provides numerous health benefits. It contains antioxidants that help protect against free radicals, which can damage cells and contribute to aging and disease. Sencha also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body.

When choosing your sencha tea leaves, look for high-quality whole leaves that have been steamed rather than roasted or pan-fried. This will ensure you get the best flavor and health benefits possible. You can brew your sencha in a teapot or using a traditional Japanese method called “kyusu.”

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