Tencha: The Premium Green Tea Behind the Best Matcha
If you're a fan of Japanese green tea, you may have heard of a unique variety known as tencha. Unlike other types of green tea that are grown for consumption as a beverage, tencha is grown and processed with the intention of being ground into a powder, known as matcha.
Tencha tea leaves are grown under shade for several weeks prior to harvest. This process, known as "shading", increases the chlorophyll content of the leaves, which gives the resulting matcha powder its bright green color. The shading also helps to create a unique and complex flavor profile that sets tencha and matcha apart from other types of green tea.
The process of making tencha is quite labor-intensive, as the leaves must be carefully hand-picked and then quickly steamed and dried to preserve their delicate flavors and nutrients. Once the leaves have been processed, they are then ground into a fine powder using specialized stone mills.
Matcha made from tencha is considered to be the highest quality matcha available, and is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony, known as chanoyu. During chanoyu, matcha is prepared by whisking the powder with hot water to create a frothy, vibrant green tea.
But it's not just the traditional Japanese tea ceremony that Tencha is used for. The popularity of Tencha has grown in recent years, as many people have started to use it as an ingredient in desserts, smoothies, lattes and even in cooking.
The flavor of tencha matcha can be described as vegetal, grassy, and slightly sweet with a subtle umami flavor. Because of the shading process, it has more astringent and bitter undertones than other green teas. Tencha matcha is typically more expensive than other types of matcha, due to the more labor-intensive process of producing it and its superior quality.
Overall, tencha is a unique and delicious variety of green tea that is definitely worth trying for anyone looking to explore the world of Japanese green tea. With its complex and nuanced flavor profile, it's sure to delight your taste buds and leave you feeling energized and refreshed.