Friday, November 25, 2011

Experimenting for the best recipe on high quality sencha

The manager of the temporal café I worked last Saturday said that somehow the tea was not in the best condition.  So, he re-dried the tea before we used at the café.    After closing the café, every staff was given a pack of the tea which is not re-dried.  It may not be as good as the tea served at the café but it’s still a high quality sencha.  I’m very happy with it.

I prepared it at home with the same way that I did at the café.  But, the taste was not good at all.  It was way different from what we served.  However, I found some possibility to acquire a better taste and it could be improved by brewing conditions.  I realized that brewing condition might not have been exactly the same.  I measured the amount of leaves and water, and the water temperature at a rough estimate.  It might be the reason.

So, today I wanted to look for the best recipe for this tea and tried brewing it in different conditions.  I used small cups.  My conditions 1.2.3 are all about the first brewing.  I used fresh leaves on each procedure.

Condition 1
This is the recipe we used at the café.  This time, I accurately measured the following conditions.
Tea leaves: 2g
Water: 40ml (1.4oz)
Temperature: 50C (122F)
Time: 2min30sec
Wow, this is good.  No bitterness and very mild.  It is pretty close to what we served.  It could be a little weak.  So, I’ll try another procedure.

Condition 2
The previous one was mild so I tried a little higher temperature and shorter time.
Tea leaves: 2g
Water: 40ml (1.4oz)
Temperature: 60C (140F)
Time: 2min00sec
It got better.  This has a more refined body of taste, with a slight bitterness.  This is a good recipe but I wanted to look for better taste with mellowness.  I tried another procedure.

Condition 3
I wanted mellower tea with full of sweetness.  Condition 1 had good flavor but it was a little weak.  So, this time, I used the same condition as the first one but with more leaves.
Tea leaves: 2.5g
Water: 40ml (1.4oz)
Temperature: 50C (122F)
Time: 2min30sec
Excellent!  It was what I was looking for.  It doesn’t have any bitterness.  Umami and sweetness filled my mouth.  I’m sure I can impress people with this recipe.

When you prepare high quality sencha with small amount, a slight difference in the brewing condition affects the taste.  I realized it again that you should be sensitive about the conditions for high grade teas.  I encourage you to look for your best recipe with your premium teas.  It’s really fun!

This is how much 2.5g leaves look like on my spoon


  1. Kohei-san, konbanwa.
    My personal receipe is :
    - 5g / 100 ml
    - 65°C / 70 sec
    - 70°C / 20 sec
    - 75°C / 120 sec

    I never tried such a low temperature (50°C) and long steeping time (2 min 30). This is king of a "gyokurisation" of sencha...I am sure it gives very good results...Thanks !


  2. Hi, Lionel-san,
    Thank you for sharing your recipe! You are using plenty of leaves. It sounds nice and must be greatヽ(^。^)ノ . May I ask you why the steeping time gets longer at 75C?

  3. Quantity of leaves : when I started drinking sencha (about 1.5 year ago), my ratio was 4g/100 ml. Now it is 5g/100ml. And more and more I am going to 5.5 and even 6g/100ml. This morning a great Asatsuyu sencha with 6g...
    My sencha is really better and better this is also more expensive...

    Steeping time : I usually make 3 infusions, that's why I like to push the third one until 2 minutes...You make it shorter ?

    I like umami, that is why I use low temperature in comparison to other references I read...

  4. I see, I was misunderstanding your recipe. I thought that they indicated just three different conditions for the same tea. But actually, it was about repeated brewing. “75°C / 120 sec” was about the third brewing. That makes sense^^
    Then, I wonder if my today’s article is a little ambiguous to readers. My conditions 1.2.3 are all about the first brewing. I used fresh leaves on each procedure. I’ll add expiration about it. Thanks!

  5. Hi Kohei.
    Perfect article. That's what i like on your blog. You can't find these kind of informations somewhere else. Very unique blog for me.
    1.Can we say, that for premium sencha, the average amount of leaves is cca 5g/100ml? Is that right? What about regular sencha? I've had many types of sencha (I order from Jap.)but still, i have to "find myself" in particular sencha. And it takes sometimes so long to find it(water,weight,time..). Do you follow prep. instructions on the package or you just always experiment to get balanced taste for every particular sencha.
    2. What's your opinion about using empty tea bags(sufficient size of course) to brew sencha(or any) this way. So you dont use strainer. Have you tried it? (It came it to my mind regard to prep. tea at office(work), where is sometimes bit boorish to use all equipment.
    Sorry I wrote so much:)
    Thx a lot.

  6. Your brewing conditions are very interesting, Kohei. Are you using an asamushi sencha?

    I regularly brew my fukamushi senchas at 60 deg.



  7. Miro-san,

    What “Japanese-tea-adviser textbook” suggests for premium sencha is 6g/170ml (70degC, 120sec) for three servings. That means 3.5g/100ml. My recipe and your 5g/100ml seem a little high in the ratio of leaf. People enjoy preparing premium sencha in various ways, and there is no absolute ratio of leaf and water. 5g/100ml is one of varieties, and I think that it’s fine.

    I try the instructions on the package at least for the first time and see if I like it. I don’t usually do a serious experiment like this blog entry, but I kind of enjoy preparing in different conditions to look for my favorite taste for a few times. I’ll be happy and excited when I can prepare a great tea or when I find a miracle recipe.

    I have never tried using empty tea bags so I don’t know for sure. But my opinion is…
    If the bag has very fine mesh, it will affect the taste of tea. For some types of Japanese tea, small pieces of leaf and substances usually slip thought the strainer and get into the brewed tea. They constitute a part of flavors. If you take them out with fine mesh, the flavor will be different. But, I think you don’t have to be so picky about the taste for casual tea at work and it’s a good idea using tea bags. It will be very convenient^^

  8. Hi, Peter-san,
    It doesn’t say on the package if it’s asamushi or fukamushi, but I’m sure it is regular-steamed (asamushi) sencha from its appearance and brewed tea color.
    You must have rich umami with fukamushi sencha at 60 deg^^

  9. Thank you for answer!
    I usually use 3g/100ml, I was asking about 5g cause i just misunderstand weight of leaves in this experiment. I forgot it was due achieving balanced taste for that particular tea, sorry.
    But yes, as you said, preparation depends how do you like your tea. Arigato:)