Shincha Flash : All about New Japanese Grean Tea
- Holly Helt
Shincha “New Tea”
It’s Golden Week in Japan – the longest holiday time of the year. The country is buzzing with people going everywhere, stores having mega sales, and of course, the tea fields humming with swarms of activity.
I was going to write a bit more about Shincha, literally “new tea”, but the weather has been very unusual this year, making harvesting times quite unpredictable, especially in Kyushu.
Normally we follow the cherry blossoms in April, which start to bloom first in the southern areas, like Kagoshima, and slowly turn the country pink as they move upward toward Hokkaido. But this year Tokyo bloomed first. No one could believe it! That means harvesting times all around the country are not on schedule. Usually we are sipping Shincha now. While some tea is becoming available, not much as of yet.
So next month I will bring you the Shincha report – the most sought-after tea of the season. It’s produced in very small quantities, and is a one-time opportunity because Shincha is the very first batch of tea produced in the season.
Don’t get confused with “ichibancha” (first harvest) and think all ichibancha is Shincha…it’s not. Just the first tea of the ichibancha harvest to be steamed, rolled and finished is awarded the Shincha title. It is usually asamushi or light steamed too so you can really taste the freshness of the crop.
Watch out on our online-store every Spring season for the chance to reserve your Shincha: we usually only offer it by PRE-ORDER as it is über fresh and we do not want to keep it in stock.
About Holly Helt
Holly is American and grew up in Japan drinking Japanese tea from age-three. She has studied two methods of tea ceremony, Urasenke and the lesser-known Yabunouchi, which has a direct lineage to Sen-no Rikyu (known as the father of the tea ceremony) ; it's also the school of practice for samurai. In 2012 she founded Chiki Tea - an online retailer of Japanese green teas, all sourced directly from small farms in Japan. Splitting her time between Japan and her home in Texas, Holly strives to bring the best teas from Japan to as many people as she can find to share in her life's passion.