Ippodo Tea - Logo Style Stacked
Pouring tea from Yakishime clay kyusu into porcelain teacup beside blue and white package of sencha and plate of tea leaves

How Well Do You Know Your Sencha?

Written on July 19, 2019 (updated on March 02, 2023)

Matcha may be the most well-known Japanese green tea in North America today, but when it comes to a daily brew, nothing is more quintessential than sencha. 80 percent of tea in Japan is made into this loose leaf style, which provides a perfect balance of sweetness, umami, and refreshing astringency. See why we at Ippodo love this classic tea!

What is sencha?

Only young, tender spring tea leaves grown in Kyoto Prefecture are selected for Ippodo’s house sencha blends. After picking, fresh leaves are steamed in a process that halts oxidation, contributing to the crisp green character of Japanese green tea. Then the leaves are rolled into delicate needle shapes, gently dried, sorted, and packaged.

Unlike matcha and gyokuro, sencha tea bushes are cultivated in direct sunlight, which makes them uniquely high in vitamin C as well as tannins that result in a crisp, structured tea. And since sencha is made from young spring leaves, it has an inherent sweetness as well, leading to a balanced brew that shows everything that’s great about Japanese green tea.

How do I brew it?

Sencha is a delicate tea to savor alone or share with good friends, but be careful: overly hot water or oversteeping can lead to a bitter cup. For a balanced brew, measure out 2 tablespoons (about 10 grams) for a 7 to 8 ounce (210ml) standard size Japanese teapot, called a kyusu. If you use a larger Western-style teapot (around 16 ounces or larger), we recommend starting with 3 tablespoons (about 15 grams) and adjusting the proportions to your taste.

Sencha is best brewed with hot but not boiling water: 176°F (80°C). But if you don’t have a thermometer, don’t worry; just pour boiling water into your teacups, then pour from those cups into your pot over the leaves. The two pours will cool your water down enough for brewing. Steep for 60 seconds, then strain evenly between cups. Be sure to pour out every last drop to fully extract the tea’s flavor. You can re-steep the same leaves once or even twice to get the most out of your precious purchase.

Standard Sencha Brew

Makes one pot
1. Measure the leaves
2 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Sencha premium Japanese green tea leaves with
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Sencha premium Japanese green tea leaves with
Standard Sencha Brew
1. Measure the leaves
2 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
2. Add hot water
210 mL (7 oz) 80°C (176°F)
Cool boiling water to 80°C by transferring once.
Silver kettle beside a porcelain teacup and porcelain kyusu with an arrow instructing to transfer tea from teacup to teapot
Silver kettle beside a porcelain teacup and porcelain kyusu with an arrow instructing to transfer tea from teacup to teapot
Standard Sencha Brew
2. Add hot water
210 mL (7 oz) 80°C (176°F)
Cool boiling water to 80°C by transferring once.
3. Brew
60 seconds
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
Small white porcelain Japanese kyusu teapot with blue logo on lid sitting beside orange stop watch timer on white table
Small white porcelain Japanese kyusu teapot with blue logo on lid sitting beside orange stop watch timer on white table
Standard Sencha Brew
3. Brew
60 seconds
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
4. Serve
Pour out every last drop.
Enjoy in your favorite teacup or mug.
Pouring light green tea from white porcelain Hasami-yaki kyusu teapot with blue logo into white porcelain Japanese teacup
Pouring light green tea from white porcelain Hasami-yaki kyusu teapot with blue logo into white porcelain Japanese teacup
Standard Sencha Brew
4. Serve
Pour out every last drop.
Enjoy in your favorite teacup or mug.

Or go iced: There are two ways to brew sencha for iced tea. For drinking right away, you can pour a concentrated steeping over ice. With more planning, you can cold brew sencha as well.

Iced Sencha

Iced Sencha

Makes one pot
1. Measure the leaves
2 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Sencha premium Japanese green tea leaves with
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Sencha premium Japanese green tea leaves with
Iced Sencha
1. Measure the leaves
2 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
2. Add boiling water
210 mL (7 oz) 100°C (212°F)
Pour boiling water to cover tea leaves.
Pouring hot water from silver kettle into Ippodo Tea Co.'s Tokoname-yaki ceramic ivory kyusu teapot
Pouring hot water from silver kettle into Ippodo Tea Co.'s Tokoname-yaki ceramic ivory kyusu teapot
Iced Sencha
2. Add boiling water
210 mL (7 oz) 100°C (212°F)
Pour boiling water to cover tea leaves.
3. Brew
60 seconds
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
Ivory Ippodo Tea Co. Tokoname-yaki ceramic kyusu teapot set beside orange clock timer on white table
Ivory Ippodo Tea Co. Tokoname-yaki ceramic kyusu teapot set beside orange clock timer on white table
Iced Sencha
3. Brew
60 seconds
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
4. Serve over plenty of ice
Pour out every last drop.
Enjoy in your favorite glass, teacup or mug.
Green tea being poured from elegant spout of ivory teapot into small rounded modern glass pitcher with white Ippodo Tea logo
Green tea being poured from elegant spout of ivory teapot into small rounded modern glass pitcher with white Ippodo Tea logo
Iced Sencha
4. Serve over plenty of ice
Pour out every last drop.
Enjoy in your favorite glass, teacup or mug.

Cold Brew Sencha

Makes one pot
1. Measure the leaves
2 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Sencha premium Japanese green tea leaves with
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Sencha premium Japanese green tea leaves with
Cold Brew Sencha
1. Measure the leaves
2 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
2. Add ice water
210 mL (7 oz) Chilled water
Pour chilled water to cover tea leaves.
Pouring water from glass carafe into white porcelain Hasami-yaki teapot containing Gyokuro green tea leaves and ice cubes
Pouring water from glass carafe into white porcelain Hasami-yaki teapot containing Gyokuro green tea leaves and ice cubes
Cold Brew Sencha
2. Add ice water
210 mL (7 oz) Chilled water
Pour chilled water to cover tea leaves.
3. Brew
15 minutes
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
Small white porcelain Japanese kyusu teapot with blue logo on lid sitting beside orange stop watch timer on white table
Small white porcelain Japanese kyusu teapot with blue logo on lid sitting beside orange stop watch timer on white table
Cold Brew Sencha
3. Brew
15 minutes
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
4. Serve
Pour out every last drop
Enjoy in your favorite glass, teacup, or mug.
Pouring light green tea from white porcelain Hasami-yaki kyusu teapot with blue logo into white porcelain Japanese teacup
Pouring light green tea from white porcelain Hasami-yaki kyusu teapot with blue logo into white porcelain Japanese teacup
Cold Brew Sencha
4. Serve
Pour out every last drop
Enjoy in your favorite glass, teacup, or mug.

Choose your style

Our master blenders produce seven blends of sencha. All are made with high quality leaves and are processed the same way, but small differences in how they’re grown lead to distinct characters in the cup. Ippodo sencha with a higher price isn’t necessarily better quality; the choice is really about your own personal tastes

Subscribe to our newsletter for more interesting content on Japanese tea.

Latest Blog Posts

Browse all articles 
How to Choose a Chawan

How to Choose a Chawan

The chawan – matcha bowl – has been the standard way to enjoy matcha since it was first brought to Japan over 400 years ago.
Picture of leaves of green tea plant sprouting upwards towards the sun in front of blurred ombre green background

Get Ready: Shincha 2024

Crafted from tea leaves that were growing in a field only a few days prior, Ippodo’s Shincha is delivered right after harvest. There is only once chance per year to experience its fresh, fleeting character.
Small plate with sample of Ippodo Obukucha tea with roasted rice beside teacup of brewed tea and brown clay Yakishimi kyusu

Featuring Obukucha, Our New Year’s Genmaicha

There is a long tradition of drinking Obukucha in January in Japan to bring good fortune in the coming year.