Secrets of Sencha steaming: Discover the art of the perfect Sencha

The steaming process – the heart of Sencha tea. Entering the world of Sencha tea is like diving into an oasis of aroma and color. The key to this experience? The cushioning. This process, so essential and yet so subtle, is what radically distinguishes Sencha tea from other green teas. It is an art form that requires precision, timing and a deep understanding of tea leaves.

Sencha cushioning

What happens when steaming?

Steaming Sencha tea, a process that begins immediately after harvest, is a process in which the tea leaves are exposed to steam. This usually happens for 15 to 60 seconds, depending on the desired tea quality. But here is the magic: in these few seconds the oxidation process of the leaves is stopped. The result? The leaves retain their vibrant green color, fresh aroma and rich nutrients.

The effects of damping time

The steaming time when making Sencha tea is crucial. A shorter steaming time results in a tea with a lighter, fresher note, highlighting the natural spiciness of the leaves. Longer steaming, on the other hand, produces a tea with deeper, fuller flavors and a softer texture.

It is these nuances that fascinate tea connoisseurs worldwide. The length of the steaming time is so critical that it divides Sencha teas into three main categories: Asamushi, Chumushi and Fukamushi. Each length brings its own characteristic features.

Asamushi (short attenuation, <20 seconds)

Process: A short attenuation that takes less than the traditional time.

Leaf texture: The leaves tend to remain whole, are less fragile and retain their needle-like shape.

Taste and Aroma: Offers a delicate, light taste, often with floral or fruity notes. The complexity of the taste can vary depending on the origin.

Color: The infusion is clear and slightly yellowish-green.

Chumushi (medium steaming, 20-60 seconds)

Process: A medium steaming time that is most commonly used today.

Leaf texture : The leaves are slightly more broken than Asamushi, but retain some of their needle-like structure.

Taste and Aroma: A balanced profile with a mix of umami, sweetness and possible slight bitterness. The aroma is fresh and grassy, ​​sometimes with sea breeze notes.

Color: A deeper green than Asamushi, but not as cloudy as Fukamushi.

Fukamushi (long damping, >60 seconds)

Process: Extended steaming time to further decompose the cell walls of the leaves.

Leaf Condition: The leaves are often more broken or powdery, resulting in a cloudier brew.

Taste and Aroma: A fuller, richer body with strong umami flavor, reduced bitterness and sometimes pronounced sweetness.

Color : Dark green and significantly cloudier due to finer tea particles in the water.

Sencha cushioning

Regional differences in attenuation

Different parts of Japan handle damping differently. In areas like Shizuoka, the heart of the Japanese tea industry, they tend to use shorter steaming times, resulting in fresher, more vibrant tea. However, in areas such as Uji or Yame, known for their high quality teas, a longer steaming time is often used, which makes the tea richer and more intense in taste.

The role of cushioning in premium Sencha tea

With Premium Sencha Tea, the steaming process is even more meticulous. The selection of leaves, the exact timing of harvest and the precise control of the steaming time play a crucial role in the development of the complex flavor profile that characterizes Premium Sencha. These teas offer a taste experience that is rich, nuanced and profound - a true feast for the senses.

The connection between tradition and technology

While the basic principles of damping have remained the same for centuries, the introduction of modern technologies has led to even greater precision in the process. Today, tea masters combine traditional knowledge with modern techniques to ensure a consistently high level of quality with every batch of Sencha.

Sencha cushioning

Sencha Tea & Steaming: A must

Each steaming method creates a distinctive tea drinking experience. Whether the lightness and complexity of Asamushi or the rich umami taste of Fukamushi - the choice depends on individual taste. The art of steaming Sencha tea is a fascinating chapter in the world of tea that combines tradition, craftsmanship and innovation

Steaming Sencha tea is much more than just a step in production - it is an art that shapes the character of the tea. From maintaining the bright green color to developing a rich, layered flavor, every aspect of steaming contributes to Sencha's distinctive identity. A deeper understanding of this process opens the door to a world where every sip of Sencha tells a story of tradition, craftsmanship and passion.