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What is shincha?
Shincha literally means ‘new tea’ and it is the very first sencha, or Japanese green tea, of the season. Just like Sencha Momoyama and Kabusecha Kagesakura, this Japanese green tea is a First Flush, but in this case it is the very first tealeaves of the year that become shincha. These first tealeaves are said to be the best because they are packed with nutrients and flavour.
Thanks to its freshness, shincha is much-coveted annually as a limited edition tea in Japan. The Japanese swear by the quality and benefits of the tea. Its flavour resembles that of sencha, making it very accessible, and because the leaves are plucked so early in the year they are high in nutrients and the flavour is likewise somewhat similar to gyokuro.
Shincha is always brought to market as quickly as possible after harvesting so that tea aficionados can immediately savour it. A bowl of shincha is the Japanese way of welcoming the spring, which is why it is also known as a spring tea and why Aiya has chosen to call its shincha ‘Harumi’. Harumi can be translated as ‘the sweet taste of spring’.
Aiya Shincha Harumi First Flush
Aiya Shincha Harumi First Flush is a kabusecha – a sencha tea where the tea plants are shaded for the final ten days before harvesting – but the tealeaves are steamed for slightly longer (To find out about shaded teas, go to the Kabusecha Kagesakura page.)
The lengthier steaming process is an exceptional one, as Japanese green teas for the European market tend to be briefly steamed in order to retain the tealeaf shape and prevent them from breaking apart. This is why Sencha Momoyama and Kabusecha Kagesakura as well as certain other standard Japanese green teas always have fewer small bits of broken tealeaves.
That’s not the case for Shincha, where the longer steaming means more broken tealeaves. Japanese tea-lovers prefer them, as the broken leaves create an attractive and well-rounded flavour.
Shincha Harumi First Flush is an authentic Japanese green tea, and its high content of L-theanine makes the tea sweeter while it also contains less caffeine.
Shincha Harumi First Flush is a noble composition of shaded teas after typical Japanse making. Full-bodied, fruity and rich in its taste.
100% Japanese organic green tea
Let the tea steep for about 2 minutes.
This Japanese green tea can be used for three infusions. The first and second steepings are important and give the tea a different taste – the tealeaves open up and their initial flavour is released during the first infusion, and because they are already open during the second infusion they steep in the water and release a different flavour.
For 1 cup: add 4.5 g of Shincha Harumi First Flush to 100 ml of water at 70 °C. Leave to draw for 60 seconds.
Add 100 ml of water at 70°C - 80 °C and drink the tea immediately.
For a gentler taste:
Add 12 g of Shincha Harumi First Flush to 1 litre of water at 80 °C. Steep for 3 minutes. For the second infusion, add a litre of water at a temperature of 70 °C to 80 °C and leave to draw for another 3 minutes.
Tips for preparing Japanese green tea
Use soft water when making the tea. Soft water has a low mineral content, and water’s hardness can affect the taste and colour of the tea. Tap water is often hard so we recommend that you use bottled water with a low mineral content in order to get maximum enjoyment from your tea.
The better the tea’s quality, the lower the temperature of the water used for your tea. That’s because high-quality green tea is rich in tannins and amino acids – tannins give it that bitter taste and amino acids are responsible for the umami and the pleasant aftertaste. If the temperature of your water is under 100 °C, the tealeaves won’t release the tannins that make the tea taste bitter, while the amino acids can also do their job at a lower temperature.Gyokuro,which is considered to be the highest quality green tea in Japan, tastes extremely bitter when the temperature of the water exceeds 40 °C.
A First Flush Sencha and shaded teas are mild with a subtle but far-reaching flavour. In order to experience the umami it is important that you follow the directions on the packaging and use sufficient tealeaves.
- Shelf life
In theory tea can be kept for a very long time because it is dried. But to consistently enjoy the quality we recommend that you use the tea within six months of opening the bag.
Japanese green tea can be used for three infusions. The first and second steepings are important and give the tea a different taste – the tealeaves open up and their initial flavour is released during the first infusion, and because they are already open during the second infusion they steep in the water and release a different flavour.
Japanese green tea is never drunk with sugar. Good quality Japanese green tea has a gentle and naturally sweet flavour and has umami – the very properties that the Japanese tea aficionados want to taste and experience.
Instead of adding sugar to tea, Japanese tea is often served together with a pastry or other sweet treat, and the aftertaste of the snack means that the tea seems sweeter when drunk.