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Lesson 204: Refining the leaf: Aracha (unrefined) vs (refined) Sencha tea

Lesson 204: Refining the leaf: Aracha (unrefined) vs (refined) Sencha tea

Included in this lesson's set: 100g of aracha, 100g of sencha from the same region/vendor, same cultivar, same harvest season.

Before green tea leaves are sold, they are refined, usually by the wholesaler who doubles as a finishing factory, or by the farmer themselves if they are selling direct to consumers. The unrefined leaves, or aracha, have finished drying, but still contain leaf stems, small broken leaf bits (tips), and fannings / dust. refining the leaves, removes these leaf parts (see Lesson 103) to get a finished tea leaf.

There are also other types of post-processing techniques such as:

  1. Cutting the leaves so they are a more similar size (appearance is paramount in Japan!).
  2. Heating the leaves to remove extra moisture: leaves retain their flavor longer, and the bitterness is reduced.
  3. Leaves of the same size / color from different sources are blended together to form a specific flavor profile (usually by a finishing factory or by a merchant).

    Since leaf from farms might change in flavor from year to year, or over the course of a year, to retain the exact same flavor profile for the product, a professional blender may use different leaves from different sources in each production batch. This is often why tea companies do not reveal where their tea leaves comes from, since the priority is placed on consistency of taste rather than consistency of ingredients.


  1. 100g of Aracha, Spring harvested, blend of mainly Yabukita cultivar
  2. 100g of Sencha, Spring harvested, blend of mainly Yabukita cultivar

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