Meet the tea leaf that makes your matcha possible: tencha. Rarely enjoyed as a steeped tea, tencha's main purpose is to be milled into the fine, verdant powder that is matcha. But here’s a secret: tencha is beautifully brewed as a loose leaf tea as well! Take this opportunity to enjoy a tea that is mellow and deep, characterized by its sweet, umami, and theanine-filled broth.
What is Tencha?
Tencha is the term for tea leaves that have been properly shade-grown for 20-30 days, allowing the leaves to concentrate ample amounts of the sweet amino acid L-theanine - a characteristic of delicious matcha. It is quite a rare occurrence to try the theanine-laden leaf as a steeped tea, but we're excited to share the opportunity with you! By enjoying our tencha you can to truly experience the whole story and experience of quality matcha. Tencha leaves are often fertilized three times as much as teas that are unshaded, and are not processed further as they would be if the end result was sencha or gyokuro. Only the tender, first flush of spring-harvested leaves are made into tencha. If you have a high-quality tencha, the flavor will retain a beautiful, mellow sweetness in the brew compared to other green teas.
~ Read more about Tencha and its importance to matcha on our blog ~
Aroma: the pure essence of Japan.
Flavor: Sweet umami, buttered toast, lightly toasted grain, adzuki bean.
Location: Wazuka (Uji region)
Harvest Season: May
Process: Camilla sinensis leaves are shade-grown for 20-30 days. The tarps inhibit photosynthesis, so the plant sends concentrated amounts of chlorophyll and L-theanine to the new growth of leaves. Once the leaves are harvested, they need to be processed quickly (within 24 hours after harvest). The leaves are steamed to halt oxidation, then cooled with strong blasts of air. The steaming time can vary from producer to producer, but to give you an idea usually steaming is between 30-40 seconds. Cooling the leaves helps bring out the aromatics of the tea. Then the leaves are then dried, cut, and sorted. Tencha is not rolled (otherwise it would be destined for gyokuro or kabusencha), but rather is sent to the ishi-usu stone mills to become matcha. (Unless of course, you're drinking our tencha as a loose-leaf tea, which is sent to you instead!)
Yields two cups
Amount: 7g (2tbsp) Tencha
Water: 180ml (6oz) water at 160º-175ºF
Time: 1.5 - 2 minute steep
Make Iced Tea: Our tencha is great for both slow ice-steeping and cold brewing. Learn 3 different methodologies to make iced tea here.
Food Pairing: a special tea deserves a treat. Tencha is great with a piece of rich, dark chocolate or chocolate dessert!
Sold in either 50g or 75 bags. Store in a cool, dark location. Best consumed within 3 months.