Shincha 2022 is Here!
Take a look! Here is a picture taken last month of a tea field, just before the new leaves were about to be harvested. Up in the mountains in South Kyoto Prefecture, the sloping landscape is covered by rows and rows of tea fields. The plants are planted so that the leaves hit the sun just right. And, the leaves grow powerfully each spring, reaching up and up towards the wide blue sky. Their vibrant green colour covers the hills, and it’s truly a sight to behold. Standing in the fields, we felt the pure life-force, bountiful energy, and brilliance of tea itself. We give thanks to the producers, growers and all those who harve worked tirelessly to raise these healthy tea leaves.
Now, the bounty of their harvests is ready, as Shincha 2022 is finally here.
This Year’s Shincha: Round, Resplendent Umami
As a high grade sencha tea, Ippodo Shincha will always have a delicious balance of sweet, umami, astringent, and bitter tastes. Furthermore, since it is produced and sold right after harvest, it has the unique Shicha powerful freshness in its character.
While Shincha always has a certain vigour and energy, its fine tasting notes can and will change every year, depending on how the weather and conditions affect the new buds’ growth. Tasting the difference in each year’s Shincha release is part of the delight of enjoying Ippodo Shincha.
The first half of April brought warm days and cool days alike. With the changing temperature each day, the new tea buds were a bit more hesitant to pop up than in previous years. But in mid-April, the mountains in this region south of Kyoto City began to see day-after-day of bright sunlight and energizing warm weather. As a result, the leaves began to grow healthily and steadily, little-by-little. The resulting Shincha 2022 has a wonderful, round umami taste, with plenty of the strength that we expect in young, fresh buds.
It’s a bright, accessible Shincha that goes down smooth. We feel confident in recommending it even to those trying Shincha for the first time. At the same time, its layers of complexity and deep fragrance will be rewarding for those fans who look forward to Shincha’s release every year.
Brew it Proper: Experience 2022 Shincha’s Deliciousness
This year’s Shincha features layers of umami and a round mouthfeel. Additionally, pleasant astringency and bitterness follow, bringing balance and complexity to the taste. Its finish is relaxed and lingers slowly on the tongue.
To experience this year’s Shincha to its full potential, we recommend following our carefully-prepared brewing variables below.
This recipe will bring out just the right amount of round umami, deep fragrance, and light astringency. While the standard recipe on the Ippodo Shincha package recommends 40 seconds brewing time, we find this year’s Shincha has a delicious character when brewed for just a little longer at 50 seconds.
We also highly recommend trying this year’s Shincha as cold brew, since its character is full of round umami. Brewing with ice water for a longer time (15 minutes or more) will bring out the most luscious umami possible from the tea leaves. Enjoy cold brew Shincha in a wine glass for a special treat.
(Did you know? The brewing variables such as water temperature, brewing time, amount of water, and amount of tea leaf greatly affect the tea’s character in the cup!)
Explore and try different brewing methods on your own. Trying different brewing variables to enjoy different facets of Shincha, is yet another delight of enjoying this special release.
The wait is over, and Shincha has arrived indeed. Join us in enjoying this sencha and its refreshing, eye-opening energy at the start of a new season.
Crafted from tea leaves that were growing in a field only a few days prior, Ippodo's Shincha is delivered right after harvest, once per year.
Young, new tea leaves have an almost invisible "furriness" on the underside. The shininess on the surface of a cup of Shincha comes from these "hairs," which float to the top (though you won't be able to taste them).
Tea trees' leaves shoot up with an incredible life force as soon as the weather starts getting warmer each spring. That life force translates directly into the cup; when you taste Shincha, you'll be vitalized by these young tea leaves' raw energy.
Super green, super powerful—these are phrases that come to mind when you open the lid of your kyusu to smell Shincha leaves after brewing. Shincha's powerful aroma is fleeting, so enjoy it while it lasts!
Go ahead, touch the tea leaves after they've opened up. You'll be surprised at just how soft and delicate they are. It's another indication of Shincha's freshness.