What is the best Shincha for you?

Posted by Zach Mangan on

2019 harvest has commenced and we are so excited to share some of our very first green teas with you. Each one of the shincha, or new spring picked teas (read more about shincha here) were selected by Kettl and represents the very best of artisanal Japanese green tea. In this week's post, we are shining some light on what is so unique about each Shincha tea in our collection to help you find your next favorite green tea.

DRINK THIS IF: You love a nuttier sencha that is intensely fragranced

Hachiju Hachiya is a seasonal specialty - tea picked on the 88th day of spring (May 2nd). Like last year as well, this delicate Japanese green tea is all about balance. Upon opening the package you’ll be greeted with a powerful aroma of fresh grass and hazelnut. Incredibly well crafted, Hachiju Hachiya brews up with plenty of sweetness, umami and aroma.

DRINK THIS IF: You love floral, slightly fruity sencha

Koushun is a remarkable cultivar that contains high levels of Coumarin, a chemical that is found in both cinnamon and vanilla, which imparts a uniquely floral spice note. This refined shincha is only available to us in limited amounts and is a must for anyone who loves handmade single cultivar sencha.

DRINK THIS IF: You love a drier, peppery sencha

Yamakai is a wonderful cultivar and its unique characteristics are on full display this year. Grown in the mountains of Shimizu, Shizuoka, this tea is grown naturally and light steamed keeping the character of Yamakai intact. This green tea takes some patience and a steady hand but brewed correctly reveals the magic of terroir driven, single cultivar sencha: fragrance, power, and finesse.

DRINK THIS IF: You love experiencing small lot, single producer tea

Our Tamaryokucha is 100% Saemidori cultivar grown without any inorganic fertilizers. This green tea showcases the farmers point of view clearly: balancing the taste of the cultivar while maintaining the taste of the terroir. This is a more nuanced expression of Saemidori, not an umami bomb, and We love how this tea can be steeped multiple times with each brew revealing a range of subtle beauty.

DRINK THIS IF: You love flowers

Made with a unique method of exposing the freshly picked leaves to UV light to accelerate a micro oxidation, Sayama Kaori is rich in notes of Jasmine. Sayama Kaori refers to the namesake cultivar of this tea - one which is known for its power. But this version of this very particular Japanese green tea cultivar brews up light and silky with a wonderful freshness - and of course a floral note that shines bright cup after cup.

DRINK THIS IF: You love a sweeter, more umami rich tea

Miyabi has been one of our best sellers since we were lucky enough to add it to our catalogue in mid 2018. This years version hails from the town of Jouyou in the mountains of Yame, Fukuoka. Miyabi has a remarkable sweetness that can be detected in the aroma upon opening the package. Miyabi is comprised Saemidori and Okumidori cultivars and is medium steamed. What does that mean? A Japanese green tea with deep green color, plenty of sweetness and natural umami. In classic Yame fashion, a decent amount of “hiire” is used. Hiire refers to the firing done in the finishing process. Hiire leaves a distinct nuttiness reminiscent of hazelnuts and acts to concentrate sweetness as well.

DRINK THIS IF: You love gyokuro

Asa No Yume is crafted in the Higashi Sonogi area of Nagasaki. This Tamaryokucha is made from 100% Asatsuyu cultivar. Asatsuyu is sometimes refered to as natural gyokuro - imparting a deep, rich umami without the need for shading. Taste this Japanese green tea and see why it won the 2014 Nihon Cha Platinum Award.

DRINK THIS IF: You love clover honey and concord grapes

Kamairicha refers to Japanese green teas that are pan fired in the Chinese tradition (as opposed to steaming) to halt oxidation of the fresh leaf. Fujikaori is a single cultivar version made traditionally in Ureshino and it is breathtaking. We love the fruity, syrupy notes of grape and floral honey that evolve over several brews. This is a gem and serves as a great example of the incredible diversity of Japanese green tea.

DRINK THIS IF: You love trying unique cultivars

Musashi Kaori, like Sayama Kaori, hails from Saitama prefecture and undergoes the unique process of UV exposure after harvest. Musashi Kaori has a deeper, richer profile than Sayama Kaori possesing a buttery umami balancing the subtler heady floral aromas. We can’t stop drinking this green tea as it seems to combine the profiles of three or four senchas in one - a truly amazing shincha

DRINK THIS IF: You love deep steamed, freshly grassy sencha

Satsuma 100 is a brand new product from a new producer this year and hails from the famous region of Chiran in Kagoshima. While this particular green tea is deeper steamed, meaning a more broken leaf, the quality of the leaf is exquisite - finely rolled with a beautiful green lustre. We love how fresh, sweet and grassy this tea is. And the color is second to none.

We are so proud to share this collection with you all and trust there is something for everyone - and many new favorites soon to be discovered. We are so grateful to our network of committed tea makers - this bounty is due to their hard work!

Still undecided? Contact us if you have any questions or browse our collection of Shincha teas for additional details.

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