Japanese sencha green tea is deeply refreshing and easy to drink. I often have it in the afternoon. It makes a nice change from black tea. There are many differents kinds of sencha to choose from.
You can really taste the difference between a low cost teabag and a more expensive loose leaf tea. I am still at the beginning of my green tea adventure, and I enjoy trying different varieties.
If you live in a city, or are visiting a city, it's well worth a trip to a good Japanese supermarket. Or you can buy green tea online, and perhaps try different ones over a period of time.
One of my favourites so far is the Sencha Premier tea from Adagio Teas. It's really smooth and mellow, so long as you don't overbrew it. I did try their Sencha overture, and I enjoyed it - but the Sencha Premier is gorgeous.
As opposed to matcha green tea powder, which is ground up leaves, sencha green tea is whole dried leaves, just like black tea. The difference between green and black tea is in the way the leaves are treated.
Green tea leaves are heated straight away after picking in order to stop them from beginning to ferment. On the other hand, black tea is left to wither and ferment a little before it is heated and then rolled into leaves.
Sencha green tea is really best made with water that has come well off the boil. I leave my kettle for about 15 minutes after boiling before I make a pot of tea. The flavour is much more mellow this way. See the page on how to brew a perfect cup of green tea for full details.
Green tea can also be made by cold brewing and it makes delicious and thirst-quenching iced green tea.
I prefer to use tea leaves for a really good pot of tea. Generally, the tea tastes better, and you can use the tea leaves afterwards in a variety of different ways.
It makes great compost, is good for houseplants and makes great eye masks, for example. For more suggestions, see Green Tea Lovers.
Tea leaves usually come in a packet that protects the leaves properly. Tea leaves need to be kept dry and dark and air-tight. With tea leaves, you can roll down the top of the packet and re-seal it properly with a peg. Often teabags are just in a box, and it is not as easy to properly re-seal the packet. With green tea, this is really important as the leaves can quickly lose their flavour.
I love to serve sencha green tea with most of the recipes on the site. However, I do think it goes particularly well with the more delicately flavoured recipes and with the savoury finger sandwiches. I love green tea with most of these cookies.
A nice plate of cucumber sandwiches with a few melting moments is a great combination with green tea on warmer days. If the day is really warm, making iced green tea is a great alternative.
In the winter, try sencha with apple fruit cake and chicken sandwiches for a super afternoon tea snack.
If you Swooned over Sencha Green Tea, you might find yourself Mooning over Matcha Green Tea.