Green tea comes from the Camellia
sinensis plant which is native to Asia. The part of the
plant used for making tea is found in the uppermost shoots. This
is where the young, tender new leaves and buds are formed. The
top two leaves and the bud are prized both for their fullness
of flavor and their ability to be twisted or rolled into a variety
For high-grade sencha, harvesters pluck either the bud or the bud plus the youngest leaf. For good to average tea they pick the bud plus the top two leaves. For lower quality teas they pick the two top leaves, the lower leaf below them, plus parts of the twig.
After the leaves are picked they are immediately taken away for processing. Processing for green tea is markedly different than for black teas. To make black tea, the fresh leaf is withered by exposure to air and is broken and left to ferment after picking.
For green tea, the leaf is not fermented at all. It is steamed immediately after harvesting to stop the fermentation process. Sencha is dried after steaming and, when dry enough, rolled into a variety of shapes until it is completely dry.
Most tea harvested in Japan is graded as sencha. The quality of sencha is, however, highly variable. Quality depends on the tea's origin, the season, and leaf processing techniques that are used.
©Copyright 2000-2017 JapaneseGreenTeaOnline.com, All Rights Reserved.