Sencha Tea: A guide to the most popular Japanese Tea
Sencha tea is a type of Japanese green tea that is cultivated entirely in the sun. Of all the tea types from Japan it is the most common and popular type and accounts for over 60% of total tea production. As one would expect because of its cultivation throughout the country Sencha comes in a variety of cultivars and grades, resulting in a wide range of flavor, quality, and cost.
A variety of things impact the ultimate flavor of Sencha. These include the farm's location and climate, the quality of the leaves used in production, and the final processing procedure employed to generate the finished tea. Because the first two characteristics vary so greatly, most tea is rated based on its final processing procedure. This final step is the steaming, and the length of the tea's steaming is used to identify the processing technique. After the tea is harvested, it is steamed to prevent oxidation. The steaming classes are Asamushi, which is steamed for the lowest amount of time, Chumushi, and Fukumushi, which is cooked for about twice as long as Asamushi.These three grades of tea help one to have a general idea of how their tea will taste before purchase.
Note: The color of the brew does not necessarily indicate how rich or nuanced the tea's flavor will be. Asamushi has an excellent flavor, and the Asamushi technique is used to prepare many of the best quality teas.
ASAMUSHI SENCHA - The Ancient and Noble manufacturing process utilizing the Asamushi technique, in which the tea leaves are steamed for the least period of time possible whilst still stopping oxidation of the leaves. Because the Asamushi procedure is more delicate, it is typically utilized for better grades of raw tea. The final brew contains long needle-like leaves and has a light-golden green liquor. It has a full-bodied earthy flavour and an intoxicating aroma.
CHUMUSHI SENCHA - This is medium steamed Sencha and has been a method of production for three centuries. The steaming time is between 60 and 100 seconds and produces a fragrant tea. Of the three methods of steaming currently in use the Chumushi method is the least used currently, that being said many of our clients enjoy this not so common drink.
FUKAMUSHI SENCHA - The tea is steamed for the longest duration in the Modern Sencha tea using the Fukumushi procedure. When compared to the more traditional Asamushi method, Fukumushi roughly doubles the amount of time it is steamed for. It is a more recent way of preparing tea that is frequently used for leaves that are not suited for the Asamushi process also when compared to Asamushi teas, it has a coarse powder look rather than needles. When the tea is brewed, this powder dissolves, giving the beverage a dark-green hue. Fukamushi teas are easy to brew and less bitter. Like Matcha, a lot of the nutrients remain in the tea after brewing since part of the powder dissolves in the beverage. Many years of experimentation with steaming time have gone into creating the Fukumushi method, and the results have come to be highly appreciated and very popular in the modern day.
BREWING - Sencha tea can be served both hot and chilled. We actually have a line of sencha that is designed expressly for brewing in cold water and drinking as iced tea. Iced sencha is a delicious summer drink and is usually popular with children and adults alike. Regular, hot brewed, Sencha is typically brewed for 30 to 90 seconds in 180F (80C) water, with the bigger the leaves requiring more time.
CAFFEINE - We are frequently asked whether Sencha contains caffeine. Sencha does contain caffeine. Caffeine is one of the reasons the tea plant has been able to grow and flourish in some adverse environments where it is found. Caffeine is a naturally occurring pesticide found in tea and around 60 other plants. Caffeine aids plant growth by repelling pests as it grows. The quantity of caffeine in the finished brew varies depending on the variety of sencha used and the brewing period. Whereas a cup of coffee contains 80 to 200 mg or more, an 8 oz (240ml) cup of sencha has between 15 and 70 milligrams of caffeine.