I’ve been in Brisbane for five weeks now and it’s comforting to have a great tea-room slap bang in the middle of the city: The Tea Centre. I must’ve been there half a dozen times now and when my husband (Ewan) and I had a break from shopping at the weekend, I came across this little gem: Australian Sencha.

A sencha, from Australia?! Yes, that was my reaction too but I was terribly excited when I ordered it. Ewan wanted to try their Japanese sencha and so my experience was about to get better when I thought about doing a comparison between the two. With camera in tow, we waited eagerly for our teas.

Typically herbaceous in its aroma and flavour, sencha is a green tea which is an acquired taste. Ewan’s initial reaction when he tried the tea several years ago is typical of a first time consumer of the beverage: “it’s like you’re eating grass”. As his palate developed over the years though, it was great to see him try the tea again.

The teapots came and I looked at the wet leaf immediately inside the pot to see how they faired. They certainly looked very similar but I wouldn’t say that the leaf (both the Japanese and the Australian) were typical of a sencha. I didn’t get the dark emerald green choppy leaf I was expecting. The aroma however was certainly very exciting. The seaweed notes were there as well the grassy hue but it was very gentle on the nose compared with the Japanese sencha, the characteristics of which were certainly more obvious. 

Now onto the taste. I poured the tea after a minute’s infusion and the aroma had lent itself into the cup. The Australian sencha had the same gentle and subtle characteristics on the palate compared with the knockout grassy punch of the Japanese sencha.

There was a more pronounced flavour in the second infusion, but the Australian sencha was never going to be more than gentle but I think that this is what’s great about this tea and why I entitled this post ‘A great introduction to’ So for any tea enthusiasts out there who want to introduce their friends to Japanese sencha, or if you’ve never tried a Japanese tea before and want to experiment, I would try this tea first.  As your palate grows accustomed to the nuances of this tea, then I would try a Japanese sencha later on in your tea journey.

(Australian Sencha: grown in several valleys in the Victoria Alps region. For a pictorial review, click on my Flikr photos on the right).