It’s the season for shincha

Maki at Just Hungry reminds us that it’s time to get new tea or shincha (新茶) now. It’s Japanese green tea made from the first leaves plucked from the harvest. The store assistant at Fukujuen told me it’s only sold once a year and of course, there are limited stocks.

Read more on shincha:
Hibiki-an: report & pics from tea plantation
Green Tea Blog
Wikipedia – shincha

2.06.07 update:
A couple of weeks back I caved in and bought some high-grade sincha from Fukujuen.

Shincha front    Shincha back

There are very precise brewing instructions given. I’ve tried to follow them by measuring the amount of tea, water, using a stopwatch; and I’ve tried to only drink this when I’m ready to sit down meditatively and savour every drop. I was afraid my untrained tastebuds wouldn’t be able to appreciate tea of this quality but wow~, the taste is fresh, bright, open, very green, bitter and simply… powerful! I can’t drink more than two tiny cups (steeping the same leaves twice over) before I feel the intensity of the tea overwhelming me. The caffeine shot is very subtle though, no indigestion, just a feeling of ‘oh! enough already!’.

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