Posted by TOKYO MATCHA SELECTION - Chris Young (living in UK) on 31st May 2018
Calling all green tea lovers! You may have read all about shincha or 'new tea' in our last blog post. If you're curious to try the freshest, greenest tea of 2018, it's not too late to get your hands on our limited edition TOKYO MATCHA SELECTION Original Deep-Steamed Shincha. Read on to find out more about this exclusive blend...
The story of our Original Deep-Steamed Shincha begins in the tea fields of Kagoshima, the volcanic region which makes up the southern tip of Kyushu island. As the warmest region of the main Japanese islands, Kagoshima is always the first area to produce a new tea crop each spring. We often say that tea bushes sleep during winter; relatively speaking, Kagoshima's barely snooze. Idle too long yourself and you might miss Japan's fastest shincha!
Even before the Kagoshima tea harvest began this year, we were already looking forward to our 2018 shincha. As luck would have it, our producers were preparing something very special: an exclusive blend of two rare tea cultivars, specially selected to make the freshest-tasting new tea possible.
Green Tea with Two Kinds of Green
The two cultivars in our original shincha are called sae-midori and yutaka-midori. 'Midori', as you may know, means 'green' in Japanese, so it is a common component of tea cultivar names.
Sae-midori (70%) is used for its light, fresh green colour and mild flavour, while a smaller quantity of yutaka-midori (30%) gives the blend deeper green notes and greater robustness. The result is an elegant, emerald-green tea which retains its colour even when steeped for three consecutive brews.
Sub-heading: What is Deep-Steamed Tea?
Light, fragrant and easy to drink, Original Deep-Steamed Shincha combines gentleness with just the right amount of backbone. This is thanks not only to our two rare cultivars but also to the 'fukamushi' or 'deep steaming' process.
While steaming locks in the sweetness and umami of fresh tea leaves, 'deep steaming' (i.e. steaming for more than twice as long as usual before drying and rolling) intensifies these flavours further. It also softens some harsher notes and makes the tea leaves themselves more fragile. This leads to some finer powder mixing with the finished blend, which in turn contributes to a more brightly coloured and flavoured infusion.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow... Until Next Year
All in all, we think this blend perfectly expresses the youthfulness of spring tea. Why not try it and see for yourself? If you are new to Japanese shincha, this could be the start of a long and pleasurable obsession.
Even if you are not lucky enough to catch this blend, you can still join us next year as we wait impatiently for the Kagoshima spring tea harvest 2019. Stick with us and you'll be the first to know when it arrives!
Shincha (新茶) means 'New tea'. The term refers to the first tea harvest of the season. So that consumers can enjoy the qualities of the young leaves, tea farmers process and package the first flush without storing or ageing. The resulting 'new tea' has a wonderfully fresh, grassy aroma, which some consider superior to that [...]