What Is Sencha Tea?
Sencha tea is a popular green tea from Japan made from the top parts of the tea leaf and tea buds. The tea leaves and buds are processed whole. The leaves are steamed for less than a minute to stop oxidation. The whole leaves are then rolled into long cylinders and dried. The last step is to fire the leaves to preserve them and ensure flavor. Sencha tea is a highly quality, whole leaf green tea.
Sencha accounts for about 80 percent of the tea consumed in Japan. It is usually served hot in the winter and chilled in warmer weather.
Japanese green teas like Sencha are greener in color than Chinese green teas and have a more bitter flavor. Tea drinkers regard sencha tea as having a strong, slightly sweet taste with a light floral or vegetal aroma. The slightly astringent or bitter flavor present in some sencha tea is due to the brewing temperature. A higher brewing temperature, where the water is boiling, leads to a greater astringency that overcomes the natural sweetness. Sencha tea leaves should be picked in early spring in order for the leaves to develop a nice balance of astringency and sweetness. The flavors of Sencha tea make it preferable to Chinese green teas for those who prefer a more robust and grassy flavor.
Brewing the perfect cup of sencha tea begins with the type of teapot you use. Clay teapots are not recommended to brew the tea, only to serve it. Bring the water to a boil in a stainless steel tea kettle or pot, and then allow the water to cool for about three minutes. Allowing the water to cool slightly will bring the temperature down for optimal brewing. Add the tea leaves to the water in the teapot (about 1 tsp. per 8 to 12 oz.) and steep for approximately two minutes. It is important that you only brew the amount of tea you wish to drink and then empty the tea leaves from the tea pot. This will stop the leaves from steeping, allowing you to use them again.
Sencha is a green tea with all the health benefits found in green teas, including high levels of powerful antioxidants and polyphenols. The benefits of sencha tea come from the properties of green tea, beginning with antioxidants. Catechins are the most well-known antioxidants in green tea and are present in significant quantities. Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is the most abundant catechin in green tea and has the most potent antioxidant activity, up to 100 times more powerful than either vitamin C or vitamin E. Scientists have found catechins to have everything from anti-aging effects to anti-cancer applications. Theanine is also found in green tea, an amino acid that can have a relaxing effect on your mood. It reduces stress while simultaneously improving cognition, producing a calm, tranquil state of mind.
Health Benefits of Sencha Tea
The health benefits of Sencha and other green teas are derived from their high concentrations of antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols. Antioxidants and polyphenols help neutralize harmful free radicals thought to contribute to the development of cancer, heart disease and the aging process.
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