Sencha processing essentially has three key steps: steaming, rolling and drying. Steaming is the shortest but the most important step for Japanese green tea. It usually lasts anywhere between 30s-120s; and it helps to stop the oxidation inside the tea leaves.
Rolling step is the longest, as it takes several hours (usually around 3h). To be fair it is not a single step, but rather a sequence of several similar steps. Firstly, it starts lightly and helps to dry the extra moisture gained through steaming. Then it gets stronger and stronger to push the inside moisture to the surface of tea leaves. By doing so, rolling also helps to break tea leaf cell walls, that is necessary for water to be able to extract tea components when tea leaves are brewed. At the end of rolling, tea leaves are also shaped into beautiful straight needles.
Lastly tea leaves for sencha are dried. Drying can take at least half an hour or more, and it helps to reduce tea leaf moisture to just 5%. This ensures that tea can be stored and preserved.
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