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Everything You Need To Know About Sencha Green Tea

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What Is Sencha Tea

Sencha green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, and accounts for the vast majority of tea produced in Japan. For thousands of years, various cultures have used this refreshing herbal tonic in order to promote better health and wellness.

At a glance

  • Sencha is a type of green tea that comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant and has a distinctive lush and fresh flavor.
  • The first accounts of green tea date back to 8th century China. It eventually spread to Japan, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia and Europe.
  • Sencha green tea rose in prominence in the 18th century and was seen as an innovative way to brew a refreshing cup of tea.
  • Steaming time and shading are two factors that can play major roles in the final flavor of Japanese Sencha green teas.
  • When drinking Sencha, you can either brew whole leaves or sachets, like our Soothing Island Comfort Green Tea.

Sencha is rich in vitamins and catechins, helping to heal your body and mind. Whether you're seeking a mild stimulant or a stomach-soothing tonic, a single sip of this beverage can both calm and enhance your senses.

Keep reading, and we'll share everything there is to know about Sencha green tea.

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What is Sencha tea?

For thousands of years, herbal remedies have been a trusted and true way to promote a well mind, body, and soul. From the ancient Indonesian traditions of Jamu to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) customs, herbal tonics have long been utilized for their natural health benefits.

This refreshing Japanese green tea is the epitome of herbal tonics

Sencha tea is a Japanese green tea that has been incredibly popular for thousands of years. Even to this day, it accounts for 80% of Japan's total tea production. The secret to the immense popularity of Sencha tea lies in its harmonious flavor profile - it strikes the perfect balance between sweet and bitter, topped with a smooth, lush aroma.

Senjicha, which translates to "parched tea", comes from the steamed leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Its flavor profile is often described as grassy or vegetal and is abundantly fresh. However, the flavor can vary greatly depending on how it is brewed.

dried green tea plant different teas great tea type enjoying sencha teas matcha leaf leaf teas deep steamed teas

The history of Sencha tea

Though the world widely regards Sencha green tea as its favorite, the history of Japanese Sencha isn't as well-known. The first written account of tea dates back to the 8th century, and it was known as "an elixir of youth" in China at this time.

The journey of green tea to Japan

It is believed that in 815, the Buddhist monk Saicho brought the first tea leaves to Japan. Eventually, tea spread to Korea, Japan, and Portugal, and was introduced in Russia in the 17th century after an ambassador from China gifted the Tzar 64 kilograms of tea leaves.

And in the 18th century, Sencha tea finally sprang into the scene.

The beginning of Sencha green tea

Around the year 1735, a Japanese Buddhist monk named Baisao set up a tea shop in Kyoto. Popular with artists and philosophers, Baisao used a method of preparing tea that would be known as sencha. Though Chinese tea was often prepared by pan-frying it, this innovative method involved placing whole tea leaves into boiling water before letting it simmer. He earned the title "the old tea peddler," and his tea shop became heavily influential in the ancient society.

The rise in popularity of Sencha tea

Within a few years, others began testing new methods in order to produce a more vibrant cup of tea. An acquaintance of Baisao's ended up creating the Uji Cha method, where the finest leaves would be collected before they would be steamed, rolled, shaped, and dried.

At this time, Sencha transitioned from being only for the elite members of society to being accessible to everyone. This steamed green tea began to dominate the existing tea market, and its reach spread rapidly.

Green tea and herbal remedies in Indonesia

Roughly 2,000 years ago, the ancient wellness traditions known as Jamu took root in Indonesia. In addition to green tea, Jamu utilized natural ingredients like illipe butter, candlenut oil, and tamarind in order to heal the mind, body, and soul.

natural ingredients and teas on a countertop great tea black tea caffeine content desired temperature southern japan

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Jamu tonics were often infused with turmeric or ginger. And to this day, they are frequently enjoyed around the world for their many health benefits.

Green tea is even used in Jamu beauty rituals and is a key ingredient in our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner. Made with triple tea extracts of white, green, and black teas, this purifying and refreshing toner is a necessity for any anti-aging skincare routine.

What types of Sencha green teas are there?

Sencha is one of the many types of Japanese green tea prepared by infusion. However, there are many more subtypes of Japanese Sencha tea. Most of these Sencha teas are classified by their harvest season or steaming time.

Types of Sencha green tea

Shincha tea, otherwise known as "new tea," is often harvested in the springtime as the growing season kicks off. Its sweet flavor profile has a richer taste than most other green teas.

Asamushi undergoes a light steaming process that only lasts from 20 to 30 seconds. Because it's lightly steamed, its taste is clean and delicate.

Fukamushi is a deep-steamed Sencha that has a bold and full-bodied flavor profile. Though it usually results in broken leaves, its green color is dark and rich. For a medium-steamed green tea, you can turn to Chumushi, with a flavor profile that lies between Asamushi and Fukamushi Sencha.

Powdered Sencha green tea is also popular, and can oftentimes be considered a variation of matcha. With a vegetal and lush flavor, it's ideal for baking or enjoying in warmer weather.

powdered green tea matcha third infusion most popular tea in japan how much tea same tea japanese tea

Factors that can affect the flavor profiles of Japanese Sencha

Though the steaming process can play a big role in the outcome of your Japanese green tea, shade largely determines the final flavor. Japanese Sencha tea plants contain flavonoids and amino acids like theanine and catechins, which are the key to a delicious cup of tea.

The effects of shading on your Sencha tea flavor

When the tea leaf is exposed to sunlight, the theanine is converted into catechins. While theanine has a sweet and savory flavor, catechins have a slightly bitter flavor. So by shading the tea plant, farmers are able to prevent this transformative process and maintain a sweeter taste profile.

Unshaded Sencha tea will yield a slightly bitter and astringent flavor, though it is far from distasteful. In actuality, this flavor profile is preferred by many tea drinkers, with a flavor reminiscent of summer grass.

When tea farmers seek to create a sweeter flavor, they will shade the Sencha tea leaves with netting.

Kabuse Sencha is a Japanese Sencha that is made when the plant is shaded for the longest possible time. For 10 to 21 days before the spring harvest, the plant is shaded and this results in a sweet, smooth flavor.

How to drink Sencha tea

Like most Japanese green teas, Sencha offers many health and wellness benefits. For thousands of years, this steamy herbal tonic has been consumed in order to calm the senses, neutralize free radicals, and reduce inflammation.

To benefit from consuming green tea, pay attention to the way you brew Japanese Sencha tea.

How to prepare Sencha green tea using whole leaves

To brew normal Sencha for a fully refreshing flavor, start by picking out the right teaware. Japanese teapots known as kyusu are designed to allow the leaves to expand and unfold, bringing out the rich, complex flavors of green tea.

woman pouring tea from a teapot quality sencha few months leaf oxidation process enjoyed hot water japanese sencha

Pay attention to your water ratio, and ensure that there is around 150 mL of water for every 5 grams of processed whole tea leaves. The ideal water temperature range is between 140 - 160 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can use slightly hotter water if you want to extract more tea components.

You can typically brew Sencha for one minute for optimal flavor. However, if you want a stronger cup, you can increase the brewing time in order to release more flavor.

Brewing Sencha from tea sachets

For a quick yet enjoyable cup of Sencha green tea, you'll be best off using green tea sachets, like JUARA's Soothing Island Comfort Green Tea. This creamy and fruity blend of Sencha tea contains notes of pineapple, ginger, and turmeric, and is the perfect addition to any self-care routine or cozy evening in.

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