LOOSE LEAF SENCHA GREEN TEA RECIPE
As you get more and more into tea, you may have noticed that many of the best teas are sold loose in pouches or tins instead of single serving plastic or paper bags. High end tea companies have not changed from large pouches or tins out of a desire to not sacrifice purity and flexibility in the name of convenience.
A fairly recent phenomenon is the use of 3 dimensional plastic tea bags in order to not crush delicate tea leaves. Unfortunately, studies have found that these bags can release millions of tiny plastic particles into your tea for you to digest. You can read more about these findings at the BBC and Smithsonian Magazine. Even bags that appear to be paper can be made of up to 25% plastic due to it being used in the fiber or glue so that it can maintain its utility in hot water.
Specific to flexibility, we’ve found that variation in portion size, palette preference, and flavor profile does not lend itself to pre-packaged quantities. As you learn more about your habits you’ll find that you may like slightly larger portions or slightly stronger tea. You may find that less astringent teas may need slightly larger portions to fit your flavor profile.
With the right tools, making the perfect loose leaf tea is far easier than it sounds.
Kyusu (Tea Pot)
There is A LOT of variation in tea pots, but the worst of these is better than trying to make loose leaf tea without one. We have several different types and find that different ones are better suited for different types of tea or different occasions. Essentially they need to allow the tea co-mingle with the water, but then strain the tea away when you go to pour it.
We won’t get into all the shapes and styles but will speak to materials. Ceramic ones are beautiful, but we have a couple of glass and metal ones we use for daily drinking. These are both easier to clean and can have parts that are dishwasher safe. We appreciate the glass so we can confirm that the pot is as clean as we think it is when we go to use it, and its great to be able to see the color of the tea when we’re steeping a new tea or cultivar.
Electric Water Kettle
You’ll notice that we’ve not included a Japanese name for this tool. That’s because it isn’t a tool that is steeped in tradition and unique to Japan. We’ve included it because its just really convenient.
We have both the type where you can set the exact temprature to heat the water to, and the type that simply gets you in the neighborhood of tea temp. Teas vary quite a bit for target temp, and it does make a difference. If you are looking for the optimal tea experience, invest in one that allows you to set the temp down to the degree. We will say that our Hario kettle from Japan does the job very well, but is a bit tedious to set every. single. time. We also appreciate more basic kettles that you simply fill up and hit the power button to get going for every day tea. It’s great to have both. If you are drinking a lot of tea, like buying a coffee maker, even a basic electric tea kettle will be well worth the cost due to convenience.
When you master the tools, you may be relieved to find out that loose leaf sencha is made with just sencha and water. Notes on these two ingredients below.
- The amounts in the recipe are for a single serving. If you want to make 2x or 4x this recipe because you are serving multiple people or want a larger glass there is no reason why you can’t experiment with this. Results will really depend on the size of pot and time.
- The final ingredient is the water. Distilled is probably better, but to be honest we like our water so don’t bother with this. As mentioned above, ideally you have a water kettle that tells you the temp and you can set it and forget it. The next best is to have a water kettle that just “clicks” when it hits it’s decent temp. Though not ideal, you won’t be super wrong using one of these kettles. Short of having either of these kettles or a cooking thermometer you really need to experiment with your water and heat source.
First Infusion Steps:
- Add 1 Tablespoon (5g) of tea leaves in the teapot.
- Pour 12 oz / 360 ml (1. 25 cup), 160 ºF/72ºC of hot water into the teapot.
- Brew for 3 minutes.
※Umami flavors from amino acids will be extracted from the first cup. If you want to enjoy a second cup of tea, please make sure the lid of the teapot is removed after pouring the first cup.
- Pour 160 ºF/72ºC of hot water into the teapot
- Wait for 15 seconds
※Astringent flavors from catechins will be extracted from the second infusion. Catechins are a type of natural phenol and antioxidant.