Sencha: The "Common" Japanese Green Tea
Sencha means common in Japanese. It's also their most common green tea. Which doesn't mean that it's not a good tea. The japanese are a very refined people when it comes to what they eat and drink. They take great care in buying (Sencha isn't cheap...), storing and brewing their tea. The local climate permits tea cultivation and tea has been a part of japanese culture at least since the ninth century when it was imported from China so most of Japan's production is consumed locally with little available for export. As such, Sencha, in our parts of the world, is something of a premium tea.
The process for making Sencha is a simple three-step affair: picking, steaming (to conserve flavor) and drying. This gives Sencha it's main characteristics which are a "grassy" aroma and something of a brittle "twiggy" dark green appearance. Once brewed, it delivers a pale yellow-green liquor. A typical first-time drinker in the West will often remark that it tastes like "hay" and it's true that Sencha is something of an acquired taste. But drink Sencha with some nice Sashimi and a bowl of steamed rice (as the japanese do) and you will quickly learn to appreciate this refreshing tea.