What is Sencha
Sencha is a type of Japanese green tea that is brewed with ungrounded, steamed leaves. Sencha is the most commonly drank tea in Japan, and it also can vary in colour from pale green, to a bright greenish-yellow.
When sencha is being produced, one of the processing stages involve steaming the leaves. A lightly steamed sencha – which is known as asamushi – is usually pale in colour, and has a light, delicate taste. Fukamushi, which is deep steamed sencha, is often bolder in taste an colour.
Teaware used for Sencha
Sencha requires lots of room for the leaves to expand, as well as a very fine filter to pour the leaves through. Although it is not impossible to use a Western/British style teapot for brewing sencha, it is very difficult. A Japanese teapot (which is called a kyusu) will suit the need perfectly.
Preheating Your Teaware
The target is to use water around 72C (162F) – 82C (180F). It is recommended to use water that’s been completely boiled, and to cool down the water with preheating. Preheating is important because it makes the water temperature more stable, and also it helps bring more oxygen into the water, which will make the tea taste more lively.
Begin by pouring water into one of your cups. From there, pass it into your teapot, into other cups, and so on until the water is a few degrees warmer than you will need when brewing.
The usual amount of leaf to use is around 1g per 50ml of water. Depending on the tea (and depending on your personal preference) the ratio of leaf to water may change. In the example, we are using 1 1/4 tablespoons of leaf for 125ml of water.
Often, brewing temperature can depend on the quality of the sencha. It isn’t always the case, but often, higher quality sencha is brewed at cooler temperatures. For this tea, we are aiming to brew at 74C (165F).
The length of the brew is around 1:00 minute. Fukamushi deep steamed sencha requires shorter brew times (0:45 – 1:15) whereas asamushi light steamed are brewed a little longer (1:00 – 1:30). The tea we are using in the example will be brewed for 1:00 minute.
Slowly pour the tea. It is important to get every last drop of tea out. Once poured, gently pat the back of your kyusu teapot so the leaves are removed from the front of the filter. Also, take your lid and sit it on top of the kyusu crooked. This will allow steam to escape from the teapot. The purpose of both of these steps is to prevent the leaves from infusing/cooking in the steam.
And that’s it! Enjoy your cup of sencha!
You can get three to five steeps out of sencha. For the second infusion, reduce the brew time to 0:30 seconds (or even less if it’s a very deep steamed fukamushi), 0:45 seconds for the third, 1:30 for the fourth, and 3:00+ minutes for the fifth. Each time, increase the temperature by 5 degrees or so.
Watch How to Brew Sencha