Unlike black tea, whose leaves undergo fermentation, or oolong tea, which is partially fermented, Sencha Green Tea is crafted with minimal processing, and zero fermentation. This lack of processing allows Sencha Green Tea to maintain high levels of catechins, the component of tea that significantly contributes to its health benefits.
Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan, making up more than 80% of all tea produced there. Whereas matcha green tea is prepared by mixing powdered Japanese green tea in hot water, a cup of sencha is prepared by infusing the tea leaves in the hot water. The flavor is dependent on several factors, including where the leaves were grown, in which season the leaves were harvested, and how hot the water is when preparing. Additionally, the new tea, or shincha, from the first flush of the year, is reputed to be the tastiest.