It has been almost two years since I first drank orthodox, loose leaf Unro and Hosen senchas. You can read my review of these two Ippodo Tea senchas here. At the beginning of the year I reviewed Ippodo's new line of teabags. One of the teas is a sencha. I also have been drinking bagged green teas from Aiya one of which is a matcha infused sencha. I have not formally reviewed the Aiya teas on the blog but I will say that because it is blended with matcha it has a creamier taste than the Ippodo bagged sencha. Today I am sharing photos of the leaves of these four different types of sencha. All four will be shown in their dry state while only the senchas that were packaged in teabags will be shown in their infused states. You can see the infused states of the Ippodo Tea Hosen and Unro senchas here.
Sencha infused with matcha: dry leaves, 1.80 grams (top); infused leaves in 175F water for 90s (bottom)
Sencha: dry leaves, 2.14 grams (top); infused leaves in 175F water for 90 seconds (bottom)
Sencha: Unro (top); Hosen (bottom)
Aren't the differences striking? Hosen and Unro are grades of sencha with Hosen being "upper mid-grade". Based on the price of a 100g bag of Unro, it is a significantly lower grade of sencha. The Ippodo teabags are filled with mecha. The Ippodo Tea website defines mecha as tea buds. A Wikipedia entry describes mecha as a tea made from rolled buds and the tips of early leaves. Aiya says that its sencha teabags contain early spring tea combined with "stone-ground" matcha.
Whatever your cup of sencha, enjoy!