Limited Availability: Japanese Shincha Green Tea 2020
Posted on May 14 2020
It’s here, but it’s not here to stay. If you've been waiting for the first batch of fresh tea leaves to arrive this year, your wait is finally over!
What is Shincha?
If you are not familiar with Shincha, you’re probably wondering what the fuss is about. Shincha is the first harvest of Japanese tea leaves after the dormant winter months. Shin means new and cha means tea. This new tea is wildly popular and can only be purchased once per year for a short amount of time. Every year, we receive a limited amount of Shincha from our parent company Yamamotoyama so that you get a chance to experience its unique taste and color.
Why is Shincha so sought after?
From one tea lover to another—we are so excited to be able to share this 2020 Japanese harvest with you for multiple reasons:
- The first flush, or the first round of tea harvesting, is some of the highest quality Japanese green tea.
- The taste, smell, and color of this tea is unlike any other. It is sweeter, and the taste and aroma have been compared to the smell of fresh rain in a green forest.
- Every year it’s slightly different in taste and aroma. Just like different vintages of wine, each harvest of Shincha has a special nuance to its flavor.
The CEO of Stash Tea Nami Yamamoto, whose family has been in the tea business for 330 years, said,
“Shincha is always the first tea to hit Japanese markets in a new year, and it’s usually the first to run out. Since my family has been in the green tea business for centuries, we have our own traditions around tea. Every year we look forward to seeing what this year’s Shincha will taste like. This year is no exception."
From fresh tea leaves to tea
Our Shincha was grown in Kagoshima, Japan, which is located at the southwestern tip of the island of Kyushu. This batch was harvested at the end of March, so you know this tea is fresh.
Since there is a huge demand for top-quality Japanese Shincha, it’s important for us to be able to harvest quickly, without damaging any of the new tea leaves. That’s why our Japanese tea production has been modernized and uses machinery throughout the entire process from picking the tea leaves to the natural processing methods. It’s of the utmost importance to harvest quickly while the tea leaves are in an optimal state. Our machines allow farmers to produce higher volumes in an attempt to meet the high demands.
If you get a chance to visit Japan, the tea fields are well worth a visit. You might notice that the fields are much larger than tea fields in other countries. The size of the fields and the plant's quick growth cycle make it ideal to use machines instead of handpicking. While the harvesting season is extremely short, machines allow us to produce a high yield.
Once you smell it, you’ll agree: one of the best parts of Shincha is the fresh aroma. In order to keep the fragrance as vibrant as possible, the tea needs to be processed very carefully.
The team that naturally manufactures Shincha avoids the extremely strong steaming process used for some other types of green teas. We use high-tech machines that emit a gentle blow of warm air on the leaf while a mechanical paddle lightly tosses the tea in a continuous motion (like hands). Since hot heat is avoided, Shincha contains more water content than some other Japanese green teas. That means we have to be very careful when shipping, since it can bruise easily.
Once the initial processing is complete, our suppliers send the product to us in order to complete the final natural processing steps.
How to brew Shincha
The methods for brewing Shincha 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 80 °C (176 °F).
- Bring fresh water to a boil and let it sit and cool for a few minutes.
- Use the hot water to heat a small teapot, swirling it around the teapot and then emptying it.
- Measure the Shincha into the teapot, using one gram of tea for every 6 ounces of water.
- Add the hot water to the leaves and let them steep for no more than 3 minutes.
- Pour into small cups and sip slowly to savor the unique fragrance and flavor.
Another favorite property of Shincha is the ability to resteep. Some people even prefer the second or third round of brewing, since each steep brings out noticeable differences in the flavor and aroma.
Shincha 2020, the highest quality Japanese green tea is now available on Stashtea.com. Make sure to get yours before it runs out!