Rare Japanese Shincha
Asian Mart just received limited amounts of 2020 Shincha from Yamamotoyama.
What is Shincha?
Shincha is the first harvest of tea leaves after the dormant winter months. Shin means new and cha means tea. This new tea is highly sought after and is only available once per year. Once it is sold out, more will not be available until next year, when the first buds of the year bloom again.
Why is Shincha so sought after?
The first flush, or the first round of tea harvesting, is the highest quality tea possible. The taste, smell, and color of this tea is unlike any other. It is sweeter than other flushes and the taste and aroma have been described as fresh and vibrant, like the smell of fresh rain in a green forest. After they go through the careful and natural processing methods to turn it into tea, it will brew up an outstanding bright green.
The time of harvest depends on the region where the tea is grown; every year the tea is affected by the weather. The Shincha from Yamamotoyama was harvested at the end of March. It was grown in Kagoshima, Japan, which is located at the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu.
"Just as people collect different vintages of wine, each harvest of Shincha has a slightly different and special nuance to its flavor."
Shincha’s fresh aroma is one of its most coveted qualities. In order to keep the fragrance as vibrant as possible, the tea needs to be processed very delicately. As described by one of the Japanese production workers, to fully retain the flavor of Shincha, they do not use an open flame during the firing process.
Since high levels of heat are avoided, Shincha contains more water content than the typical Japanese green tea.
How to brew Shincha
The methods for brewing Shincha green tea are a little different than regular green teas. It is suggested to use significantly lower temperatures, in order to avoid harming or burning this type of green tea, 70 °C (158 °F) is the sweet spot for brewing, and no higher than 75 °C (167 °F).
1. Bring fresh water to a boil and let it sit and cool for approximately one minute.
2. Use the hot water to heat a small teapot, swirling it around the teapot and then emptying it.
3. Measure the Shincha into the teapot, using one gram of tea for every 6 ounces of water.
4. Add the hot water to the leaves and let them steep for no more than 1 minute.
5. Pour into small cups and sip slowly to savor the unique fragrance and flavor.
Another enjoyable property of Shincha is the ability to resteep the tea. Some people even prefer the second or third round of brewing, since each steep brings out noticeable differences in the flavor and aroma.