I absolutely love sencha tea. It is one of the most popular tea in Japan, a green tea that can be enjoyed both hot and cold. In fact, it accounts for at least 60% of all the tea production in Japan. Sencha is a fresh green tea that often gives off a more mild and earthy taste than other green teas.
What is Sencha?
Japanese Sencha is a steamed green tea that is made from a leaf called Camellia sinensis. The tea leaves are first steamed for around 15 to 20 seconds to prevent the leaves from oxidisation. It is then rolled and shaped to be dried. Eventually, it is then sorted into different quality groups to be sold.
There are different types of sencha tea and are sorted usually by how they are produced and quality. For example, gyokuro is a type that is grown in the shade, sincha are the ones harvested in the spring, asamushi sencha is steamed for around 30 seconds and Uji sencha is harvested in the Uji region and known for being expensive.
Sencha is light and refreshing, it is often described to be slightly earthy and has a grass like taste. When brewed, the tea comes out in a nice mellow green colour. I really love the taste of sencha as opposed to regular green tea. It is much lighter, mellow and has a nicer sweetness of green tea. In higher quality sencha such as Uji sencha, you get a stronger thicker taste that really brings out the umami factor of the tea.
When Should I Drink Sencha Green Tea?
I’ll be honest, I drink tea at all hours of the day. To the point of even drinking sencha right before I sleep. However, there is certain times of the day where it might be more beneficial to drink sencha. The time you choose to drink sencha may help you reap its benefits as well as the negative side effects.
One of the best times to drink sencha is probably in the morning. A lot of people drink sencha in the morning to provide them with a nice boost of caffeine to help boost their energy and concentration. This is because sencha provides around 20mg to 30mg of caffeine per cup.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that works on your brain and central nervous system. It helps you stay alert and reduce you from getting tired. It functions by blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in relaxing your brain and making you tired. Caffeine also increases your blood adrenaline levels and increases dopamine and norepinephrine. This stimulates your brain and makes it more alert.
Unlike coffee, sencha also contains L-theanine. It is mostly known for helping people relax. However, when it is paired with caffeine, L-theanine can help increase your focus and attention. They work together to help improve your brain function and mood while also preventing the side effects of just drinking caffeine by itself.
Some people also choose to drink sencha before exercise. This is because drinking sencha gives you a small boost in energy from the caffeine. Although sencha has caffeine, it does not contain as much caffeine as coffee and therefore some people might prefer a more milder form of caffeine.
There has also been research that suggests that green tea might help increase your fat burning. However, research has often been done with green tea capsules and have suggested that you might need to drink around 8 to 10 cups of green tea to see any increased fat burning effects.
Sencha is often served in meals in Japanese restaurants. It is pretty common to drink sencha during a meal in Japan. Sencha is rich in flavonoids and catechin. These are antioxidants that has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. In addition, the properties in sencha can also help your body process the sugar and fat you eat during a meal.
It is up to you to decide when is the best time for you to drink sencha green tea. Although there are different reasons and benefits on when to drink it, it is ultimately down to your personal preference. Personally, I drink it at all hours, this is because I like the taste of sencha and it does not seem to have a major effect on my sleep.
Keep in mind that sencha still contains caffeine and therefore it might not be ideal to be drinking it late at night. This especially concerns those who are sensitive to caffeine as it might keep you up at night and prevent you from having a good night’s sleep. If you do want to drink some sencha before you sleep, I would suggest you trying out hojicha. It’s basically a roasted green tea and the process of roasting actually lowers the caffeine levels in the tea. Therefore, it should have less of an impact on your sleep.