Sencha, Gyokuro and Matcha Differences

Sencha vs gyokuro vs matcha- how do they differ?

They vary in the way they are grown, harvested, and prepared.

Most tea harvested in Japan is classified as sencha. Gyokuro is a shade-grown gourmet tea rich in polyphenols. Matcha is powdered tea that is whisked to a rich foam.


Healthy, aromatic, and delicious. Sencha is highly variable in quality and price.

Sencha picker

For high-grade sencha, harvesters pluck either the bud or the bud plus the youngest leaf.  For good to average tea they pick the bud plus the top two leaves. For lower quality teas they pick the two top leaves, the lower leaf below them, plus parts of the twig.

After the leaves are picked they are steamed immediately taken away for preparation. Sencha is dried after steaming and, when dry enough, rolled into a variety of shapes until it is completely dry.


The plants are shaded from direct sunlight for about 3 weeks before the spring harvest. After harvesting the leaves are rolled and dried naturally.

Gyokuro is slightly sweeter than sencha and is famous for its elegant taste, color, and aroma.

Gyokuro fields are shaded
Plants are grown in the shade for approximately three weeks before harvesting begins.  Removing direct sunlight in this way reduces leaf photosynthesis which alters the proportions of flavenols, amino acids, sugars, and other substances that provide tea aroma and taste.

Gyokuro cultivation
For high-quality gyokuro the leaves are (unlike sencha) aged. This blends and mellows the flavonoids and other organic compounds to produce a tea that is renowned for its smooth elegant taste.

Matcha differs from gyokuro in that the leaves are not rolled at all.

After steaming gyokuro leaves, they are thoroughly dried, deveined, and ground into a super-fine powder.

Matcha is potent and concentrated and whips into a thick, invigorating brew. An excellent morning tea, or an energizing beverage before any form of exercise.