Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sencha producing process

Do you know how sencha is processed on the rolling process?

You might have read how sencha is produced on books or on the internet.  It is produced by steaming, rolling and drying the leaves picked on the day.  The first step, steaming, and the last step, drying, are quite obvious and their process can be understood easily.  But, the rolling has five stages and it might be a little difficult to understand them from books. 

I had a chance to observe the actual producing line at the workshop that I attended in April.    I learned a lot of things that I cannot learn from books.  For example, I would not know that you have to do this like the following photo if I didn’t observe the factory.

I’ll introduce my notes from the workshop:

Fresh picked leaves sent to the line

1.   Steaming
In the beginning, you actually count the steaming time, and take out some samples of steamed leaf.  You check the appearance and texture of the leaves, and decide the steaming time of the day.  

Steamed leaves

Slightly slimy

2.   Rolling (actually drying at the same time)
a.    Hauchi    
DRY the leaves with hot air as if agitating them in a drum.  Cool them down gradually to body temperature.  The leaves are very moist and sticky, which stick on the fins and walls of the machine.
b.    Soju
DRY like the Hauchi.  The leaves get less sticky.  Water doesn’t come out by pinching them.  

Hauch machine
The inside
So, staff is taking off the stuck leaves on the fins and walls after the hauch process.  Did you know leaves are sticky during the process?

Leaves after hauchi

I’ll write about following processes in the next entry.


  1. Perfect article to show the processing close to Japanese tea likers:)

    1. It was pretty interesting to watch the leaves changing through the processes.

  2. 凄い面白かったです

    1. 蒸しあがった茶葉をちょっと食べてみましたが、やっぱり苦かったです。でもその葉っぱが揉まれて揉まれておいしいお茶になるんですよね~。