What is Sencha Tea?
Known as the most popular green tea in Japan, Sencha is made from young sun-grown Camellia Sinensis leaves that have been through the Japanese steaming process, rather than a Chinese firing or baking treatment.
Making up about 80% of Japan’s tea production, Sencha is known for its delicate leaves, vegetal taste, and green-gold brew color.
Sencha literally means “simmered tea”, as “sen” translates to “simmer” and “cha” translates to “tea”.
How do you pronounce Sencha?
The proper way to pronounce sencha is “sen-chuh”.
What do you need to make Sencha tea?
Using loose tea leaves really will give you the best tea-drinking experience. By letting loose leaves steep in the boiled water, they have room to unfurl and release all of their natural aromas. If you can’t use loose leaves, a tea sachet is the next best thing, since they have more room than a traditional tea bag.
How do you make Sencha properly?
To make the perfect cup of Sencha tea, you will want to use 1.5 teaspoons of tea leaves for each 8-ounce cup. If you don’t have loose-leaf tea, use 1 tea sachet or 1 tea bag.
Tea tip: if you want a stronger flavor, add more tea leaves rather than steeping them for a longer period of time. Most people don’t realize this, but steeping tea too long doesn’t increase the good flavors, it actually can make it more bitter.
Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.
Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.
Step 2: Boil your water.
For an optimal flavor experience, bring the water to about 160°F. This is important because boiling water is too hot for the delicate Sencha leaves, and will make its flavor quite bitter. If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, just bring your kettle to a simmer, then immediately remove it from the heat and let the water sit for a moment before steeping the tea.
Step 3: Warm up your teapot.
First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your teapot or steeping vessel and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Then you can discard this water in the sink.
Step 4: Put your Sencha tea leaves into the teapot and add the rest of your hot water and then cover the pot.
Step 5: Steep your tea leaves for up to 2 minutes.
Some people enjoy Sencha with a short 30-second steep. Others prefer a stronger vegetal flavor achieved with a 2-minute steep. However, we recommend capping the steep time at 2 minutes to avoid a bitter taste.
Step 6: Strain your tea leaves.
This is easiest if you have a teapot with a strainer.
Step 7: Decant your infused tea into your teacup and enjoy!
Can you cold brew Sencha?
Yes you can definitely cold brew Sencha Green tea for a delicious and refreshing drink!
Keep reading for the steps to Cold Brewing Sencha at home.
Did you know cold brewing is the best way to make iced tea? To learn all about it, check out our post on everything you need to know about cold brew.
How do you make cold brew Sencha properly?
To cold brew Sencha, use 1.5 teaspoons of Sencha Tea leaves for every 8-ounce cup of water.
STEP 1: Add your tea leaves to a pitcher with an infuser.
STEP 2: Pour room-temperature filtered water or spring water over the tea and stir gently.
STEP 3: Put your pitcher in the refrigerator to steep for 3 to 4 hours
STEP 4: Strain the leaves and enjoy!
If you would like to sweeten your cold brew Sencha, we recommend using simple syrup, which will easily dissolve in your cold brew. You can follow our guide to make your own simple syrup at home!
What does Sencha taste like?
Sencha is known for its fresh, earthy, and grass-like taste. Its vegetal notes of kale, spinach, kiwi, and herbs tend to increase with steep time. While many feel Sencha is an acquired taste, its complex flavors and notes of umami make it one of the most popular green teas across the globe!
How much caffeine is in Sencha tea?
The exact amount of caffeine in a cup of Sencha can vary based on the variety and brew time, etc. The caffeine content in a cup of Sencha can range from 15 to 75mg, but thanks to short steep times, it most often is about 30mg.
To compare, a cup of coffee typically has about 95 mg of caffeine.
In Japan, Sencha is often enjoyed at all times of the day, since it has enough caffeine for a little pick-me-up, but not so much that it will keep you up all night!
What are some health benefits of drinking Sencha?
Sencha has many health benefits including antioxidants, heart health, and cholesterol control.
For the full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of green tea.
What are the different types of Sencha?
There are several types of Sencha that vary by harvest location, processing, and more. The most important differentiator is the “mushi”, or the amount of time they have been steamed during processing.
Translating to “new tea”, Shincha is made from the first harvest. Its young leaves make it highly coveted and rare, and also give it a sweet flavor.
This variety has the shortest steaming time of all the Sencha varieties, being steamed for just 20 to 30 seconds, resulting in the brightest color and lightest, most delicate flavor.
This variety has a stronger flavor than Asamushi, thanks to its longer steaming time at one full minute. It is also considered the most “traditional” Sencha flavor.
Fukamushi is the darkest, boldest, most flavorful variety, thanks to its steaming time coming in at 90 seconds to 2 full minutes!
What is the difference between Sencha and Matcha?
Sencha and Matcha are both different types of Japanese Green tea. Some key differences you will notice between Sencha and Matcha are:
- Sencha comes from tea leaves grown in the sun; Matcha comes from tea leaves grown in the shade
- Sencha is a loose-leaf tea that is steeped in water; Matcha is ground into a fine powder that is dissolved and frothed in water or milk
- Sencha’s brew is a green-gold color; Matcha is known for its bright green color
- Sencha is more grassy in flavor; Matcha is sweeter in flavor
What is the best way to store Sencha?
When it comes to storing Sencha, there are a few important things you will want to avoid. These are air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors.
In order to keep your tea in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats.
The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics. Beware that while you may see wood tea storage options, they are not best for storing loose-leaf tea, as they can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea.
Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place.
To enjoy all of the freshest flavors Sencha has to offer, it is recommended to use the leaves within a few months.
You want to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!