Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Whittard of Chelsea
Beloved in Japan, this is a tea of spontaneity made for friends and strangers. Spring-picked, the leaves of our blend are steamed and rolled to keep their colour and capture their verdant herb-like taste. Pale gold when brewed lightly it can be drunk hot or poured over ice.
Learn more about this tea here.
Sencha is one of my favourite varieties of green tea, so I was interested to try these tea bags from Whittard of Chelsea. I used 1 bag (approx. 1.5 tsp of leaf), and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. As with many bagged teas, this one looks to contain primarily fannings. They’re a very dark green (almost black) in colour, which seems odd for a Sencha, but the resulting liquor is a more characteristic medium yellow-green. The scent is mildly vegetal and a little musty.
To taste, this one comes across as a smooth, mild green tea. There’s a hint of pepperiness in the initial sip that’s very pleasant and distinctive, but this fades quickly to a light, sweetly vegetal flavour. There are hints of fresh cut grass, and a vague hint of spring greens, but the overall flavour lacks definition. A longer brew time doesn’t solve this problem; one cup I left for 3 minutes to try and eek out some extra flavour, but it resulted in bitterness and astringency. This one is clearly on the mild end of the flavour spectrum by nature.
This one isn’t a complex tea, and it doesn’t have many layers to its flavour. It is light, mild, and refreshing, however, and so would makes for a refreshing cup on a warm day. It would also make a good introductory green tea for those just starting to explore. There are undoubtedly more flavoursome and higher quality Senchas out there, but this one is very palatable and fairly forgiving. Unless you leave it far too long, it’s hard to mess up the brewing of this one. Personally, I would like more flavour, but it’s a pleasant cup nonetheless.
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.