Sencha: Japan’s Green Tea With Outstanding Qualities

Jill Caren

Sencha tea is Japan’s most consumed green tea. I personally like sencha because it’s refreshing with a wonderful, bright vegetal flavor. With a lower caffeine …

Categories Green Tea

Sencha tea is Japan’s most consumed green tea. I personally like sencha because it’s refreshing with a wonderful, bright vegetal flavor.

With a lower caffeine content than matcha, this tea is ideal for an afternoon or after-meal beverage.

This popular tea offers more than just a unique aroma and flavor. I’ll show you the fundamentals of sencha tea, such as its qualities and proper brewing technique, among other things.

What is Sencha Tea?

Sencha tea is a Japanese green tea produced from the Camellia sinensis plant’s leaves. It’s steamed green tea, so the flavor is fresher and grassier.

Almost all green teas in Japan are steamed. A brief steaming of fresh tea leaves prevents oxidation and preserves the green color and flavor.

To avoid oxidation, Chinese teas are often pan-fired. As a result, they have nutty and sweet notes.

Aroma and Flavor

The greenish-fresh aroma of the tea leaves is the first thing you’ll notice about sencha tea. When sipping the tea liquid, take note of the exquisite combination of umami and sweetness.

A high-quality sencha has a rich savory taste that brings out this delicate sweetness in the mouth. This is referred to as a “stronger umami taste.” The umami taste of lower-grade sencha will be reduced, and the astringency will be increased.

This unique taste and fresh aroma of the tea leaves come as a result of the earlier harvest. Sencha tea contains leaves from the first or second harvest periods, allowing for the development of this excellent flavor and umami.

To compare the flavor and other qualities of Japanese Sencha with those of other Japanese green teas, here is a detailed article about the most popular Japanese green tea types.

Sencha Tea’s Unique Qualities

Now you know what Sencha is, but let’s see what makes Sencha so special. Is it just the aroma, and taste, or does Sencha tea offer something more?

Sencha green tea is more than just a hydrating and refreshing beverage. Like other green teas, Sencha is high in polyphenols, which are natural compounds with health benefits.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a catechin found in green tea. Catechins account for approximately 25% of the dry weight of fresh tea leaves. They are natural antioxidants that help in the prevention of cell damage and provide additional benefits.

I brought up EGCG since it is one of the most potent components in green tea. It also appears to be one of the primary compounds responsible for green tea’s medicinal properties.

In reality, while Japanese sencha has more catechins than matcha, they are never fully extracted into your cup. This is due to the fact that matcha is powdered and you consume the entire leaf. When it comes to sencha tea, you simply steep the leaves and then remove them.

Sencha is available in both loose-leaf forms for brewing and powder form for preparing in the same way as matcha. Sencha powder has more catechins but less caffeine than matcha.

Keep in mind that catechin is the source of astringency in tea. Too much astringency in tea is practically unpleasant.

This is why Gyokuro green tea and high-quality Matcha are so pricey. They have more L-theanine and fewer catechins. L-theanine, among other benefits, provides a sweet taste and improves the flavor.

Sencha Caffeine Content

Depending on the type, an 8-ounce cup of Sencha tea has 20–30 mg of caffeine. This amount may be lower or higher depending on various aspects like growing methods, harvesting time, and processing methods.

When compared to an average cup of coffee, which typically contains 90–100 mg of caffeine, a cup of Sencha contains around 1/3 the amount of caffeine found in an average cup of coffee.

Caffeine from green tea in combination with L-theanine has a different effect on our bodies.

Green tea’s caffeine will give you long-lasting energy without the jitters and crashes associated with caffeine from coffee.

Different Types of Sencha Green Tea

There are many different types of sencha tea, which are classified depending on where and how the teas are grown as well as the time of harvest.

These are the different types of sencha you should be familiar with:

Asamushi sencha is steamed tea that has been lightly steamed for 20-30 seconds. The leaves are unbroken and appear to be quite clean. The tea is bright yellowish-green.

Futsu mushi sencha, or “normal steamed sencha.” The aroma is fresh, and the naturally sweet and bitter tastes combine to provide an earthy overall tone.

Fukamushi-Sencha is Japanese for “deep steamed sencha.” The time spent steaming this sencha type is substantially longer, approximately 2-3 times longer than standard sencha, which increases the richness of the tea’s flavor. This tea is inexpensive, making it an excellent choice for your “daily Japanese tea.”

Kabuse-cha, which translates as “shaded tea,” is often described as a cross between Sencha and Gyokuro. Before harvesting, this tea is shaded for 7–10 days. It has a stronger aroma and flavor and is frequently produced for its unique aroma.

Powdered sencha is different than matcha powder. Sencha powder is made from the whole leaf and contains larger powder particles than matcha. It has a vegetal and earthy flavor and is generally less expensive than matcha since it is less labor-intensive.

As I mentioned before, there are some other types of sencha. Their categorization is determined by a variety of factors, but I believe the categories listed here are sufficient for now, allowing you to have a sense of what their names signify and learn some basic information about their qualities.

How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Sencha Tea

Brewing a perfect cup of sencha tea is easy. You just need to follow some guidelines.

In order to make a delicious cup of sencha, you’ll need the following:

  • 2 grams (1 tsp) of organic sencha green tea leaf (for one cup, 60 ml)
  • Hot water 60 ml (2 fl oz)
  • Medium-sized teapot (Kyusu) – optional
  • Medium-sized cups (Chawan) – optional


Bring the water to a boil and then cool it to the proper temperature

Use bottled spring water to obtain the right flavor. Bring the water to a boil and then allow it to cool to 150-170 °F (65-76 °C).

Pouring boiling water into Chawan cups is the traditional method of cooling the water. You may use a “Yuzamashi,” which is a bowl, to further reduce the temperature of the water. If you don’t have one, you can make do with anything!

When boiling water is poured into a bowl or chawan, the water temperature drops by 5 to 10 degrees.

If you want to accomplish this faster and more efficiently, use a temperature-controlled tea kettle, or boil water and use a thermometer.

Put Sencha Leaves in the Teapot

When the water temperature is just right, pour it into the teapot. Add the sencha tea leaves and start the infusion.

Allow the sencha leaves to steep for 1 minute. Deep steamed sencha varietals may require a shorter brew time, about 45 seconds. Other sencha varietals may need steeping durations of up to 90 seconds.

Always check the steeping time on the label of your green tea. You may always adjust the brewing time to suit your tastes.

When the tea is ready, slowly pour it into your cup.

Sencha green tea may be re-steeped. Steep the tea in 5–10 degrees hotter water for a shorter steeping time for the second or third brew.

Brewing Tips for a Better Sencha Tea

  • Do not use a tea infuser. Because loose sencha leaves move more easily and make greater contact with water, the infusion is tastier.
  • After pouring the tea into your cup, remove the lid and place it at an angle on top of the teapot to enable the steam to escape. This stops the leaves from brewing further in the pot.
  • While brewing, do not stir.

When Should I Drink Sencha Green Tea?

Due to the fact that sencha tea contains caffeine, it is not recommended to drink it after 5 pm or late at night. Depending on your tastes and desires, it can be drunk in the morning, 30–45 minutes after a meal, or at noon to get a boost of energy from sencha’s caffeine.

How Can You Tell Whether Your Sencha Is of High Quality?

Buying high-quality sencha is essential if you want to get the right flavor and gain all of the benefits that sencha has to offer. First and foremost, I recommend using loose-leaf tea rather than tea bags. Second, ordering a sample of the tea you want to buy is an excellent idea, especially for more expensive teas.

When it comes to high-quality sencha tea, the leaves should be rolled into a narrow, needle form. All the leaves should be the same color. It’s not as good if there are big leaves mixed in with little leaves.

The leaf should be glossy, deep dark green, and fresh in appearance. If there is practically no aroma, the tea is too old. The color of the liquor should be light, and there should be little sediment.

When tasting the tea, look for the sweetness and umami flavor. Astringency and bitterness should be minimal.

Finally, if you’ve never tasted sencha tea, I strongly recommend you do so. This green tea’s taste and refreshing nature will wow you.

Always follow the brewing instructions to get the right flavor and avoid bitterness. Pay attention to the water temperature and steeping time and always use high-quality sencha tea leaves.