Shincha: An Introduction to a Rare Green Tea

Today, we announced that we’re offering a limited supply of a Japanese green tea called Tsuyuhikari Shincha. Only a handful of lucky Art of Tea customers will be able to get their hands on it – it’s that scarce. So, what’s the big deal with this tea? If all tea is just  Camellia sinensis, why is this one so special?

steve with growers

What is Shincha?

At Art of Tea, we consistently offer Eisai’s Choice Sencha, Fukamushi, and Uji Gyokuro as our Japanese green tea offerings. Tsuyuhikari Shincha joins this lineup as a new variant of green tea. What makes Shincha different is the manner in which it blooms and is harvested. Like Darjeeling, a tea grown in a Northeastern region of India, Shincha grows in cold, mountainous conditions. This climate forces the tea leaves to stay dormant during the frigid winters, but as the weather heats up, the water from the melting snow and ice rushes into the tea plant. This gives the tea plant an energetic budding period. This is followed by a short period of harvesting during the first budding of Spring. The quick blossom of the tea is called a “First Flush” and is a defining trait of Shincha. 

Why is this Shincha Special?

Just like different vineyards produce different varietals of grapes, tea gardens and farms produce different varietals of Shincha. Our Tsuyuhikari Shincha is a new varietal of Shincha that’s been around for only a few years. This year, however, the tea leaves brew a cup of tea that the growers are most proud of. While the tea is the best yet, this winter was especially cold. The tea fields didn’t yield as much tea, and the scarcity made this particular crop of Shincha even more exceptional. 

What to Expect

Like many other Japanese green teas, Tsuyuhikari Shincha delivers grassy and umami flavors. However, the unique “First Flush” growth of Shincha adds freshness and clarity to the cup. Shincha can be closely compared to Gyokuro in that both have strong grassy and vegetal notes. Tsuyuhikari Shincha, however, has a pleasantly buttery mouthfeel you won’t find in an average cup of Gyokuro. In addition to the punched-up flavor, the nutrients in Shincha are also affected by the “First Flush.” You can find higher levels of amino acids and polyphenols in Shincha than in non-First Flush green teas.

In trying this rare tea, you can expect a tea you’ll likely never try again. When we say it’s rare, we really mean it. We expect to sell out of this tea within hours and we make no promises about sourcing it again. Make sure you don’t miss out on trying this unique and exquisite green tea. 

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