Sencha is a Japanese dark-green tea.
It’s more of a grade of tea that has been processed a certain way, than a tea from a particular cultivar of tea bush. The flavour, colour and taste will vary based on who has made it and where. For all, though, the leaves will be harvested in the spring.
To produce Sencha, tea leaves are first streamed for a short time, then dried with hot air, then pan-toasted, crushed and packaged.
The steaming stops the fermentation of the leaves and fixes the colour in them; it also leaves the leaves with a bit of a sweeter taste. This steaming process is what differentiates Sencha from most Chinese green teas.
80% of all green tea drunk in Japan is classed as Sencha.
To prepare Sencha tea leaves for drinking:
- warm the teapot;
- use boiled but not boiling water (water temperature 71 C / 160 F);
- per serving use 2 g (1 teaspoon) of tea and 60 to 90 ml (2 to 3 oz) of the boiled water;
- let stand 60 seconds;
It is acceptable to make a second round of tea with the same leaves, using the same proportion of water above. You only need to let the water stand for 10 seconds this second time, however.
If you are making a larger cup for yourself, Western-style, to 2 g (1 teaspoon) of tea add about 180 ml (6 oz) of boiled water, and let brew about 90 seconds.
Sencha means “roasted tea”.