There truly is no manual for brewing the perfect Sencha Green Tea. Each person will have their own individual preferences. Some prefer a stronger infusion while others prefer something less intense.
The key and the challenge to finding the perfect cup for you is in understanding the variety and temperament of the tea you are using. Each tea will require certain best-state conditions to extract the desired infusion including, the amount of tea versus water per person, the water temperature, and the duration of infusion. These factors will have a profound effect on the color, aroma, and taste of the finished tea.
We hope you take the time to read the information below to ensure the very best Yamanien Sencha possible in your own home.
Kumonoseki Dry Leaf
The quality of your tea cannot be separated from the quality of water you use for the infusion. In fact, the highest quality teas absolutely demand only the very best water. The finest Asamushi Sencha leaves were cultivated and enjoyed in the areas of Japan that have historically, and unto this day, had the freshest and purest water in the country. The later Fukamushi technique, as well as savory blends such as Genmaicha, were developed to bring the glorious Green Tea experience to large urban centers when water quality was an issue. Deep-steaming Green Tea leaves creates a rich creamy texture and mouthfeel and the addition of roasted brown rice (Genmaicha) added nutty sweetness and opened the Green Tea world to the masses.
Start your Sencha infusion with pure, soft water, low in calcium and magnesium ions. Hard water will result in a marked drop in flavor intensity. You may also choose to filter your water source and leave it refrigerated for 24 hours. You could also boil your water source for 5 minutes and then allow it to cool sufficiently before use.
Sencha Tea Powder
With the best possible water possible already prepared, it is now time to consider what effect water temperature has on Green Tea leaves. In general, the higher the grade of Sencha to be infused, the longer boiled water should be allowed to cool before using.
The reason for this lies in the the types of leaves used for Premium Sencha. Only the very finest Sencha utilizes the softest and supple, yellow-green tea buds and newest leaves in its making. These must be meticulously hand-picked at a precise moment when the tea shrub has been shaded in early Spring to encourage new leaf production. These new leaves contain a very high level of Theanine, an amino acid which is found exclusively in the Camellia sinensis tea shrub. Theanine is responsible for the full-bodied umami quality and sweetness associated with Gyokuro and our Kumonoseki Premium Sencha.
Theanine levels drop off dramatically with the age of the leaf which is why only the youngest leaves are used. For a more detailed examination of this process, click here. Theanine is water-soluble, which means that it is extracted from the young tea leaves into water with time, water temperature is not a consideration. For this reason, Theanine will be extracted into the infusion regardless of what temperature you use.
In order to fully appreciate these sweet, umami flavors, Tannin bitterness should be included into the balance and is considered an essential element of the Sencha experience. Tannins, such as catechin, are extracted into the water with time, but at a rate that is much quicker at higher temperatures. To find the perfect sweet/bitter balance, your teapot will require a superior tea leaf infused at a low temperature to maximize Theanine extraction and control the release of tannin.
Kyusu and Pouring
We suggest a wide-bodied Kyusu, or Japanese Teapot, when infusing Yamanien Sencha leaves. This will allow the leaves to open fully and maximize the color, fragrance, and flavor of the liquor.
Ideally, it is best to pre-measure the amount of water to be used by first pouring hot water into your sencha cups, then re-pour this water into your Kyusu. This action has a dual purpose, first to warm your sencha cups before use and secondly, to assist in lowering the temperature of the hot water.
When the infusion is ready, pour carefully and deliberately, little by little into each cup, dividing the pouring process equally between each cup. This will ensure that every cup will contain both upper and lower portions of the liquor and provide overall consistency.
Amount of Leaves and Duration of Infusion
As discussed above, the color, aroma, and flavor of your Yamanien Premium Sencha will vary dramatically depending on the amount of tea leaf used and the duration of your infusion. We appreciate the wide range of individual tastes of our customers, but we would like to provide you with our Tearoom suggestions for what we consider the ideal cup of Sencha.
Please click the photos below for a detailed description of Yamanien infusion techniques.