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Sencha is a type of Japanese green tea that is prepared by infusing the processed whole tea leaves in hot water. (This is as opposed to matcha, powdered Japanese green tea, where the green tea powder is mixed with hot water and therefore the leaf itself is included in the beverage)
The tea production process by which sencha is created differs from Chinese green teas, which are initially pan-fired. Japanese green tea is first steamed for between 15–20 seconds to prevent oxidization of the leaves. Then, the leaves are rolled, shaped, and dried. This step creates the customary thin cylindrical shape of the tea. Finally, the leaves are sorted and divided into differing quality groups. The initial steaming step imparts a difference in the flavour between Chinese and Japanese green tea, with Japanese green tea having a more vegetal, almost grassy flavour (some taste seaweed-like). Infusions from sencha are also greener in colour and slightly more bitter than Chinese-style green teas.