Matcha vs Sencha (Free-leaf) Inexperienced Tea: What Are the Variations?

July 05, 2022

Matcha vs Sencha (Loose-leaf) Green Tea: What Are the Differences?

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LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEA

So, you’re keen on inexperienced tea. However you’re not fairly positive about this matcha versus sencha enterprise and these several types of tea. Perhaps you’ve seen matcha at your native market, however you’ve been hesitant to attempt it as a result of, effectively, you don’t have any thought what it’s. Or, maybe you’ve solely ever steeped your tea and are searching for one thing new and totally different to attempt. No matter your motives, the next will clear up any confusion you’ll have in regards to the variations between matcha and loose-leaf green tea. We’ll cowl variations in texture, rising situations, processing methods, consumption strategies, and value.

A WHOLE NEW WORLD: THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MATCHA AND SENCHA (LOOSE-LEAF GREEN TEA) 

China is credited for introducing tea to Japan in the 7th century. Since then, a novel tea tradition has developed. A wide range of totally different cultivation strategies have matured and expanded over time to supply shoppers with the most effective tea accessible. Two of probably the most well-known examples of this are matcha and sencha.

7 Methods These Two Sorts of Teas Differ

Beneath, you’ll uncover seven methods these two forms of tea fluctuate. 

MATCHA IS A POWDER AND LOOSE-LEAF IS NOT.

Whereas loose-leaf sencha and matcha are each derived from the identical plant species — camellia sinensis — the top texture, form, and consistency are fully totally different. Matcha is a really tremendous, stone-ground powder. However, sencha is available in rolled loose-leaf type.

We’ll go extra into element in regards to the processing process that defines these kinds of tea quickly.

Sencha (Loose-Leaf Green Tea) 

Sencha (loose-leaf) green teaSencha (Loose-Leaf Green Tea) 

matcha

Matcha

MATCHA AND SENCHA ARE GROWN IN DIFFERENT CONDITIONS.

Texture just isn’t the one factor distinguishing matcha from sencha green tea. One other stark distinction between the 2 teas is the situations by which they’re grown. 

Inexperienced tea vegetation cultivated for loose-leaf steeping functions are grown in direct daylight. However, vegetation grown for matcha are grown within the shade simply earlier than they’re harvested. Curiously sufficient, this methodology is believed to have been found accidentally when Japanese tea farmers coated up the tea leaves to stop them from freezing within the winter. Excessive-grade matcha is grown in virtually full darkness. 


Picture of protecting inexperienced tea to dam daylight earlier than harvesting

Overlaying matcha vegetation with straw, bamboo mats, or vinyl tarps will increase the quantity of chlorophyll within the leaves, giving them their deep, inexperienced colour. Not solely does this methodology of slowing down photosynthesis improve the chlorophyll content material, it additionally will increase the amino acid content material, giving high quality matcha its distinct umami taste. The thought behind that is to starve the vegetation in order that they crave extra daylight. 

 

THESE TYPES OF TEA ARE HARVESTED AND PROCESSED DIFFERENTLY.

Though each matcha and sencha leaves should first be steamed to stop oxidation, they’re harvested and processed very otherwise. 

Normally, sencha tea is picked with the stem, shoot, and two or three opened leaves intact (extra leaves are intact if picked by machine). Sencha leaves are fanned with damp air to take care of freshness, after which steamed to stop oxidation. After cooling, the leaves are pressed, dried, and made prepared for distribution. The leaves could also be rolled relying on the precise processing methods of the area from which they’re grown. Rolling the leaves produces a needle-like form which intensifies the flavors when steeped and is normally seen in Chinese language tea. (Read my other article comparing Japanese Tea and Chinese Tea here.)

In contrast to sencha, solely the youngest components of the plant are picked when harvesting matcha. Extra particularly: The 2 leaves on the very tip of the shoot. Much like sencha, the soon-to-be-matcha leaves are additionally steamed to protect colour and vitamins. Thus begins the lengthy and laborious strategy of eradicating stems and veins. The leaves that make it by way of high quality management are referred to as tencha. 

These leaves are then floor by specialised granite grinding wheels. And voilà! You’ve received matcha!

matcha or not matcha - that is the question

MATCHA AND POWDERED KONACHA TEA ARE NOT THE SAME TYPE OF TEA  

Though konacha actually means “powder tea”, it shouldn’t be confused with matcha. As talked about above, matcha tea is floor utilizing granite-grinding wheels. Konacha is definitely simply made up of the mud, and small bits of leaves and buds which can be left behind after the processing of sencha.

Stone Grind of Matcha

MATCHA IS CONSUMED DIFFERENTLY, MAKING IT HEALTHIER COMPARED TO LOOSE-LEAF GREEN TEA. 

 

Matcha and loose-leaf sencha have a plethora of well being advantages that appeal to tea drinkers; however as a result of they’re consumed otherwise, one is inherently higher for you than the opposite. 
Right here’s why…
After we steep unfastened sencha leaves, we aren’t getting all the antioxidants and vitamins we could possibly be getting if we had been to eat your entire leaf — ergo, matcha. 
To drink matcha tea means to ingest your entire leaf. By doing so, we get extra of the well being advantages the plant has to supply. 

 

WHY IS MATCHA MORE EXPENSIVE THAN SENCHA?

As we’ve found, the method of manufacturing matcha tea requires extra labor than producing sencha tea. Listed here are two key explanation why matcha tea is dearer:

  1. It requires extra involvement, care, and talent to supply
  2. High quality matcha is barely grown in particular geographic areas

FAKE MATCHA VS. REAL MATCHA: HOW TO SPOT GOOD QUALITY MATCHA 

As with most issues in life, all matcha just isn’t created equal. There are some issues it is best to be mindful when venturing into the land of matcha. Right here’s what to be careful for: 

WHERE IN THE WORLD DOES QUALITY MATCHA COME FROM? 

In terms of inexperienced tea, it’s all in regards to the quality of the soil. The plant grown to supply inexperienced tea could be very delicate, so specialists recommend buying matcha from Japan quite than China because the focus of lead tends to be increased there. (Read here about Japanese farmers caring for their dirt for their tea.)

YOU WANT IT TO LOOK LIKE BRIGHT-GREEN GRASS, NOT TASTE LIKE IT. 

Don’t be fooled by fancy packaging. Whereas location is essential, so is the colour of your matcha. If you end up with a can of matcha that’s boring in colour, likelihood is the standard just isn’t what you’re searching for. Now, when you open up the can and are delighted to discover a vibrant, vibrant shade of inexperienced (virtually neon), then congratulations! You’ve received your self a high-grade batch of matcha. 

 

Equally, when you open up the package deal and an overwhelmingly gross scent of grass tickles your nostril, you’ll have been misled. Excessive-grade matcha ought to have a candy scent to it. 

NO STEMS OR CLUMPS HERE!

One other factor you need to see in your matcha is that it’s been correctly de-stemmed/de-veined and completely floor. You don’t need to discover any clumps or items of vein and stem lurking in your recent can of matcha! 

LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST — TASTE!

As talked about at first of this text, matcha must be candy with earthy, savory, and candy whispers of taste. 

NOW GO RELAX AND MAKE YOURSELF A CUP OF TEA! 

We’ve definitely coated a variety of floor. A lot of what that you must know in regards to the two sorts of teas–from how they’re made to how they’re consumed–has been neatly laid out for you. Now you may chill out and make your self a cup of matcha (or sencha) tea, and reminisce in regards to the journey it constructed from the fields to your lips.

Did you study rather a lot about several types of tea on this put up?

Learn even more in these posts next:

This post about matcha vs. sencha tea was first published in 2020. It was updated in 2022 just for you. 


Green Tea and Matcha Books for Bonus

If you have ever thought that Green Tea is an “acquired taste” or that it is “too bitter” to enjoy, we’re here to change your mind! We want everyone to experience the health benefits of Green Tea and show you that this can be an amazing, refreshing, and delicious drink when made correctly. With just a few tips on how to brew this powerful leaf we can change your mind about the taste and enjoyment of drinking Green Tea.

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  • Improve health
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