Tea lovers, did you know that green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and other teas we usually drink, which differ in taste, aroma, and color, are all made from the same tea leaves?

These teas have different tastes and aromas due to the differences in their production methods. In this article, we will explain how "green tea (sencha)" and "deep steamed sencha" are made and what the differences are between green tea and deep steamed sencha.

Keep reading to discover more about the fascinating world of tea.

Characteristics of manufacturing process of unoxidized tea (green tea)

Unoxidized tea, also known as green tea or sencha, is made without fermentation  (oxidation) by heating the tea leaves to stop the action of enzymes. This process deactivates the enzymes, giving unoxidized tea a unique characteristic that sets it apart from other fermented teas.

Originally, Japanese tea was yellow or brown, but with the invention of the "blue sencha manufacturing method," the beautiful green color, elegant sweetness, and fragrant aroma of green tea as we know it today were born.

From plucking fresh leaves to shipment

Plucked fresh tea leaves are carefully processed into Aracha, or crude tea, near the production area. This involves kneading and drying the leaves. Once the leaves are finished, they are shipped as tea products to various regions.

How to make Aracha :  The Processes Behind Green Tea Production

Aracha is an essential component in making delightful green tea. The tea leaves undergo a series of steps including plucking, steaming, rough rolling, rolling/twisting, medium rolling, fine rolling, and drying to become Aracha.

1. Steaming

Steaming tea leaves is a crucial process for green tea production. It helps to inactivate oxidative enzymes and remove any foul smell. To obtain a perfect cup of green tea, the leaves must be steamed evenly without applying pressure. The duration of steaming determines the color, aroma, and taste of the tea. Longer steeping time results in a darker color, less astringent, and less fragrant tea.

2. Rough rolling

During rolling process, leaves are kneaded and dried with hot wind under pressure. The result is softer leaves with reduced moisture that are ready for further processing. 

3. Rolling/twisting

Rough rolling may not be enough to knead the leaves to perfection. Instead, pressure is applied to the leaves without heat in order to equalize their moisture and break up the cells within. This process ensures that the ingredients can be easily extracted.

4. Medium rolling

Once the leaves have been roughly rolled and twisted, they will appear shrunken and unshaped. This is where medium rolling comes in. By further kneading the leaves in hot wind, they become easier to shape during the fine rolling process.

5. Fine rolling

Green tea is known for its unique needle-like shape, which is achieved through a specific rubbing and drying process. The tea leaves are rubbed in a particular direction to promote drying, resulting in the elongated shape of the leaves.

6. Drying

Tea leaves undergo a drying process after fine rolling, as they still contain 10-13% moisture. Hot air is used to carefully dry them to reduce their moisture content to about 5%. This is the final stage in creating Aracha.


In the phase of Aracha, the leaves are still irregularly-shaped and moist. It isn't easy to maintain the quality. Here comes the need for the finishing process. In this process, “pre-firing, sorting/shaping, firing, and blending” occur in this order. The shipment follows measuring, checking, and packaging. Finishing enables longer storage and enhances the tea flavor.

During the Aracha phase, the leaves are still moist and irregularly shaped, making it challenging to maintain their quality. To address this, finishing involves several steps, including pre-firing, sorting/shaping, firing, and blending, which occur in that order. Once finished, the tea undergoes measuring, checking, and packaging before shipment. This process facilitates longer storage and improves the tea's flavor, ensuring that it remains fresh and delicious for longer periods of time.

7. Pre-firing

Prior to sorting and shaping, Aracha leaves undergo a firing process that involves roasting and drying.

8. Sorting/shaping

Once the roasting process is complete, the Aracha leaves are sifted to remove any fine stems. The tea is then sorted by the size of the leaves before they are cut and shaped into the desired form.

9. Firing

Tea leaves are heated and dried one last time by direct heat, hot air, far-infrared rays, or microwaves, which not only enhances preservation but also brings out the aroma of the tea.

10. Blending

As the final adjustment, blending can equalize the composition and quality of the tea. Blending makes a well-balanced tea.

As a final step, blending is done to equalize the composition and quality of the tea. Blending helps create a well-balanced tea.

What is Fukamushi-cha?

Fukamushicha (deep steamed green tea) refers to sencha made by steeping (steaming) for two to three times longer than regular sencha.
The rest of the process is almost the same as for regular sencha.

Fukamushicha, or deep steamed green tea, is a type of sencha that undergoes a two to three times longer steeping process than regular sencha. This results in tea leaves that are softer, more fragile, and finer in shape than those used for regular sencha.

The increased surface area of the fine tea leaves allows for quicker extraction of the tea's ingredients, resulting in a shorter brewing time compared to regular sencha.

The longer steaming time makes the tea leaves softer and more fragile, and the tea leaves are finer in shape than those of regular sencha.

The finer tea leaves have a larger surface area in contact with hot water, allowing the ingredients to be extracted more quickly, so the brewing time is shorter than for regular sencha.

Why deep steam?

Ordinary "sencha" tea has a harmony of astringency and sweetness, and its water color is light green. However, depending on the cultivar and region of production, some teas had a strong astringency, making them unpalatable to the consumer's palate.

Ordinary "sencha" tea has a harmony of astringency and sweetness, and its water color is light green. However, depending on the cultivar and region of production, some teas had a strong astringency, making them unpalatable to the consumer's palate.

Therefore, tea leaves are steamed deeply to reduce the astringency and bring out the sweetness of the tea. The deeper steaming process makes the tea leaves finer and the color of the water darker green.

The brightness of the watercolor was also well received, and "deep steamed tea" quickly became popular.