Green tea: Chinese Sencha

Chinese Sencha

Tastes like burned raspberries. Nothing like Sencha at all.
Green tea » Japanese » Sun-grown, ★★
Also known as: 中国煎茶 or, misleadingly, ‘Sencha’

This tea is a (cheaper) Chinese version of the Japanese classic, Sencha.

Japanese Sencha is wonderful. I gave it five stars and described it as, “Light, refreshing and minty-cool.” Unfortunately, this Chinese imitation is incomparable with the real deal.

First, the leaf is too yellow. It looks more like it’s been roasted than steamed. This is backed up by the lack of a light, vegetal flavour when you drink it—instead, I get a thick, smooth, berry flavour in my mouth. It’s drinkable, but it’s not Sencha.

Secondly, this tea has unpleasant burned undertones. This may have arisen during the steaming process, when the tiniest leaves (which are actually just powder) fall through and touch something hot. Dust from inside the steamer might then have been swept into the tea.

I brewed this tea at 66 °C and it still tasted too much of tannin. I didn’t enjoy this tea, but I did learn the importance of terroir by drinking it. I love Sencha, and you probably will too, as long as you get the real deal from Japan. Never buy Chinese Sencha. ★★

 

3 thoughts on “Green tea: Chinese Sencha

  1. To be honest, I’ve never come across such an avid tea connoisseur like you … come to think of it I haven’t come across any other. I’m curious, is there a special store dedicated to tea where you get yours? Do you buy it loose as shown in your photos? And how many different kinds have you tried so far? Have you ever tried the Dilmah brand? I’ve seen in on the shelves and I might give it a go soon.

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  2. I get most of my tea from T2 in Australia (http://t2tea.com). Their stores are funky, with lights and music, and their packaging has a pleasant, textured feel to it.

    I’ve seen Dilmah tea adverts (whose Australian slogan is “Do try it!”). Am I right that they sell teabags only? I always go for tea leaves. There are many reasons for this—the taste is unparalleled, loose leaf survives multiple brews rather than just one, and only the lowest quality teas generally get packed into bags.

    Tesco teabags are about 1.6p per cup.
    At £6 per 100g (that’s 33 servings), loose leaf tea can be rebrewed all day for about 18p per day.

    So loose leaf tea isn’t much more expensive, either. If you love tea, it’s totally worth it.

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