How to Make Sencha Properly (Hot & Iced)

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Sencha is the most popular green tea in Japan. It’s bright and grassy (in a good way) when made properly. See how to make it hot and cold.

Sencha tea in a mug.

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Sencha

  • Sencha is a Japanese green tea.
  • It’s the most popular tea in Japan.
  • There’s caffeine in sencha.
  • The process to make sencha includes steaming whole tea leaves.
  • Sencha translates to ‘simmered tea.’ ‘Sen’ means ‘simmer’ and ‘cha’ means ‘tea.’

Sencha Brewing Guide

TO MAKE HOT SENCHA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose sencha or 1 tea sachet
WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
160°F
STEEP TIME:
2 minutes

TO MAKE COLD BREW SENCHA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose sencha or 1 tea sachet
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
Cold water
STEEP TIME:
3 hours

What you’ll need

TO MAKE HOT SENCHA

TO MAKE COLD BREW SENCHA

MY Sencha Pick:

Sencha

Photo Credit: Harney.com

A good starter Japanese sencha. Good quality and reasonably priced.
BUY ON HARNEY.COM

HOW TO MAKE HOT SENCHA PROPERLY

Sencha tea in glass mug

STEP 1: Boil water. 

The right water is really important for brewing good tea, so don’t just boil tap water. Use filtered water if possible.

To make green tea, an electric kettle with a temperature setting is a must. Set the water temperature to 160°F.

If you’re boiling water on the stovetop, turn off the heat as soon as it starts to simmer.

Boil extra water so that you can warm up the teapot. 

STEP 2: Warm up teapot.

Pour some of the hot water into your teapot. Swirl the water around and then throw it out. 

This is a really important step to brewing tea properly. Warming up the pot helps maintain a stable temperature while brewing the tea. 

STEP 3: Put sencha tea into teapot and add hot water. 

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 2 minutes.

Sencha can be a little finicky with steep time. To make sure it doesn’t get bitter, be careful to time it and don’t brew it for more than 2 minutes.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Sencha goes through a steaming process which makes it a more delicate tea than black tea. Hot, boiling water is too hot for sencha and steeping it in water that’s too hot will make the green tea taste really bitter.

To keep the water hot while the tea steeps, make sure the teapot is covered.

STEP 5: Strain sencha leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.

A perfect cup of sencha that is never bitter, just full of umami.

How to Make ICED SENCHA Properly

Cold Brewed Sencha Tea.

Iced sencha tea is so refreshing and it’s even better when it’s cold brewed!

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

STEP 1: Put sencha tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.

Using cool or room temperature filtered water.

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for 3 hours.

Green tea doesn’t need a long time to cold brew like black or oolong tea.

STEP 3: Strain sencha tea leaves and pour tea into a cup. 

Since the tea is already chilled, adding ice is optional.

Sencha isn’t meant to be had with milk or sugar, but if you want to sweeten your iced tea, use simple syrup.

Simple syrup is just sugar and water, so it’s super easy to make at home. Just mix equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

Sencha Tips

  • Sencha isn’t a tea that is prepared with milk or sugar. Drink it straight to enjoy the true taste.
  • If your tea is too bitter, it’s either because the water is too hot or it was brewed for too long.
  • Look to buy sencha that is grown and harvested in Japan.

Questions You May Have

What does sencha tea taste like?

Sencha has a fresh, grassy flavor with vegetal notes. It can be an acquired taste. To me, it tastes like complex-flavored spinach water.

Why is sencha so bitter?

It’s not when brewed properly! Don’t use boiling hot water and brew it for 2 minutes at most.

Is there caffeine in sencha?

Yes. Sencha contains caffeine like other green teas, but not as much as coffee.

Are there any calories in sencha?

Nope. This tea is completely calorie-free.

Loose tea, tea sachets, or tea bags?

It’s best to use loose tea since it’s the best quality. Tea sachets are the next best thing if you can’t get loose tea. Skip the sencha tea bags since it’ll contain the lowest quality tea.

Is sencha tea a real tea?

Yup, sencha comes from the camellia sinensis plant, which means it is a real tea.

How is sencha brewed in Japan?

Traditionally, sencha is brewed in a Japanese teapot called a kyusu.

more green tea

5 from 3 votes

Sencha Tea

By: Jee Choe
How to make hot & iced sencha tea properly.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes
Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup water, + more to warm teapot for hot tea
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sencha loose tea

Instructions 

  • Boil water.
    If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 160°F. Heat a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot. If boiling water on the stovetop, let it come to a simmer, then turn off heat. (Filtered water is best.)
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.
  • Put sencha tea into teapot and add hot water.
  • Cover teapot and steep for 2 minutes.
  • Strain sencha tea leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.

Notes

TO MAKE COLD BREW SENCHA 
1. Put sencha tea leaves and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container.
Filtered water will make a better tasting iced tea.
2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for 3 hours.
3. Strain sencha tea leaves and pour tea into a cup.
Ice is optional since the tea is already cold.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Stumbled on your blog & enjoying it during quarantine! I used to rush out with my tea in a travel mug to walk the dog but now can’t with a face mask which has been a good excuse to enjoy tea more. Question on brewing the same leaves again, what’s your take?

  2. Hey Jeel this is an amazing and more healthy tea also…..and it looks so delicious..i will made it tomorrow…thanks for sharing….!