Right now is an exciting time of year for green tea (ocha) lovers and that includes us here at Japan Suite. The first new crop of Japanese green tea is now being picked and is going on sale for a limited time. It is called shincha (新茶), which comes simply from “shin” (new) and "cha" (tea). These are the first new leaves of the year, and a small batch of the first picking is used for shincha--a lightly processed tea that has a wonderfully delicate and unique flavor.
Shincha should be enjoyed in the next few months (May-July) to fully appreciate it’s enticing aroma and light sweetness that invigorates the taste buds with a refreshing subtlety. It is less bitter and lower in caffeine than other green teas. I love good ocha, and shincha has a special place in my heart.
Shincha is made from tea leaves that have been very lightly steamed immediately after harvesting. During the winter, tea plants store up life-giving nutrients, which nurture the growth of spring shoots and new leaves. The first growth shincha leaves are full of these nutrients.
Japanese celebrate this special, delicate and fleeting new tea of the year -- and we encourage you to do the same if you are in Japan or fortunate enough to find shincha in your city. I know I am planning to head out this weekend in New York City to search for one of my favorite things of the season. Oishisou!