Part VII of X in a series on classic teas you need to taste
Harvest: First Sencha harvested in early May
- Myrtle green needle-like rolled leaves with some lime-colored stem pieces
- Aromas of creamed spinach and faint lemon peel. Seaweed notes in some.
- Leaves lighten to a Kelly green
- Smells consistent with the dry leaf
- Leaves unroll to reveal whole to partial leaves
- Chartruese to spring bud color
- Brothy to creamy texture
- Aromas of cream spinach and some seaweed
- Light bitterness in some with light astringency
Sencha can include up to 3 harvests each year. To distinguish the very earliest, first leaves of the year, senchas are often labeled “ichiban.” Ichiban designates the early leaves plucked during the first couple of days of the first sencha harvest.
As with the harvest of many Japanese teas, machines play a larger role than in other major tea countries like China or India. Many senchas are cut by a type of hedge-clipper.
Another term associated with senchas is fukamushi. Fukamushi refers to the deep-steaming process that results in smaller, finer pieces of leaf. A longer steaming than the traditional 30 seconds, fukamushi produces tea that can be steeped more quickly.
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