Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tea Tasting Saturday #13 - Matsuda's Sencha

This week an old friend dropped by the office, and a co-worker who knew I'd want to see her eagerly brought her and her family upstairs for a quick visit. My friend and her husband are missionaries in Japan, and they and their four precious little boys are here for only a very short time for a missions conference. I had just a brief time to quiz my friend on her tea-drinking habits, but I learned two interesting things: 1) Yes, she still drinks her old-fashioned, southern-style "sweet tea" there in Japan. 2) Her oldest son, who has just started school, like most of his classmates takes green tea to school to drink, because green tea and water are the only drinks they are allowed at school! That definitely piqued my interest in learning more about Japanese teas in the coming weeks.

Name of tea: Matsuda's Sencha

Category: Japanese Green Tea

Purveyor: Harney & Sons

When purchased: March 2009

Dry leaf appearance:
Very thin, dark green leaves. You know how you sometimes open a box of vermicelli and think wow, that's some skinny spaghetti? That's what I thought of when I opened this tea.

Wet leaf appearance: This tea changed color very quickly, taking on a much brighter green hue almost from the moment the water hit it.

Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 175 degrees, 1 minute. (Yes, 1 minute!)

Scent: This tea had a nice vegetal scent, sort of a "steamed asparagus" one but with a final note that struck me as citrusy, like a lemon. Maybe with a little butter, too?

Color: Yellow green

Mmm! I liked this tea immediately, although I didn't experience the fullness of it at first sip. It seemed like a nice white tea, but about halfway through the cup I thought no, this is different from those light whites and has a richer taste. It's that "broth" taste again. I had several more cups of this tea and enjoyed it a lot, re-steeping it for about a minute and a half.

Additional notes: I was eager to read the Harney book to find out who Matsuda was and why he got a Sencha named after him. I fully expected some mysterious, ancient Japanese myth. Imagine my surprise at learning Matsuda is simply the Japanese tea farmer who grows this tea!

Next week's tea: Kakegawa Ichiban Sencha


  1. I was glancing through a tea book the other day and was interested to learn that 'cha' means tea in Japanese. So, when you see a tea that end with -cha (Sencha, Gen Maicha, etc.), it is a Japanese tea. Maybe everyone else already knew that, but I didn't!

  2. That was lovely that you had a chance to visit with your old friend and learn about tea in Japan.

    I enjoyed your review of Matsuda's Sencha. This tea is not in my cupboard, but I do have some Gyokuro and am looking forward to your review of it (when you get that far in the book).

    Since I drink so much black tea, it is strange to me that a good cup of tea can be brewed in as little as a minute. I have to keep reminding myself to not oversteep my green.

  3. We sell Harney teas - not this one - will take a look!

  4. I really need to find a green tea I could like for my health's sake.

  5. I like the look of it in your clear glass cup--it's a guywan or spelled something like that? Do you just drink it with the leaves in it and then refill?

    By the way, yesterday on the news (several stations, probably the same medical source) was saying that really hot tea increased the risk of throat cancer...can you believe that? It was recommending that tea be 156 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

    Regardless, maybe the lower temperature of green tea is one of the factors of its reported goodness.

    Odd that the children can only take green tea and water there, and yet here, the children are not allowed to have tea at school. If they buy their lunch they must have milk; tea is not an allowable choice.


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