Tea Wholesaling

The first is the best: Shincha


The first green tea, the very first harvest. Shincha, Shin Japanese for new and Cha Japanese for tea. Literally: the new tea. The new green tea tastes extremely fresh and lively, is richly complex and particularly healthy. Shincha was once a rarity reserved only for the Japanese emperor (Tenno) and the nobility. Today, the first Shincha and it‘s harvest are events that the whole of Japan expects and celebrates.

The celebrations and the cult surrounding the first Shincha in Japan are roughly comparable to the first young wine in Germany, the Primeur in France, the Vino Joven in Spain, the Novello in Italy or the Heurigen in Austria.

To this day, Shincha celebrations in cultivation areas follow century old traditions. Every tea merchant who manages to hold on to some product, serves the fresh tea. And yes, even special pop-up tea bars are opened with the sole intent to serve young Shincha. On multi-day folk festivals and markets in almost every major Japanese city, everyone is eager to present and drink the young green tea. The best Shincha selected and awarded.

The first Shincha: Highly Anticipated

The first-harvest and arrival date of this seasonal green tea is set in advance. The subtropical islands in the very south of Japan have a climatic and natural advantage. On the Pacific islands of Tanegashima and Yakushima, the Shincha harvest begins at the end of March due to the mild and higher temperatures. That is roughly 66 nights after the beginning of Japanese spring, the 4th of February.

In fact, the “New Tea” is harvested faster than the traditionally described 88 nights after the Japanese Lunar New Year, required for the green tea first ripening.

Attention: The First Shincha! A coveted pleasure.

Attention: The First Shincha! A coveted pleasure.

From there, Shincha harvest continues to the northernmost tea-growing region of Ibaraki – 100km north from Tokyo. In this region, Sencha is picked only at the end of June.

The power that drives the green into the plants.

From the last harvest of the previous year to the first ripening of the year, the tea plant has time to recover, thrive and grow.

Due to the lower temperatures it grows very slowly. Many valuable ingredients are therefore formed in higher concentrations. Covering the plants (shading) for up to three weeks shortly before the harvest additionally promotes the increased formation of nutrients.

The tea plant 'fights' for light by forming more chlorophyll so it can extract more energy from less sunlight. This enhances the pleasures of Tea connoisseurs, as the will be able to enjoy most intense aromas and healthier nutrients.

Once the tea plants are in full sap, the buds and leaves grow much faster. The later pluckings - second and third - offer clearly less vitamins, nutrients and ingredients, compared to the first teas.

Shincha: healthy, healthy, healthy!

For Shincha, only particularly young, delicate and white to light green shoots, buds and leaves are picked.

Due to the power of spring and the awakening of nature, these contain particularly high concentration of vitamins, amino acids (L-theanine), unsaturated fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid as well as the highest concentrations of strong antioxidants, catechins.

Catechins outperform and neutralise vitamin C and vitamin E against free radicals. As a result, they are said to have many positive anti-aging properties. They protect against skin damage caused by UV radiation and act against skin aging. They support the lowering of cholesterol and prevent the formation of bad LDL cholesterol.

According to studies, Catechins reduce the formation of plaques and arteriosclerosis and prevent arteriosclerosis and heart disease.[1]

Perfection in tea. Tea in perfection.

Shincha impresses with a unique tangy-fresh and full-bodied simultaneous taste . In addition, a seductive combination of umami (Japanese word for essence and delicacy) and a round, harmonious sweetness. Talking in superlatives, Shincha is considered the noblest, tastiest, most nutritious and healthiest of all Senchas.

Depending upon the growing area, tea garden, terroir, and microclimate, the first Shincha not only covers the entire spectrum of normal Sencha’s taste variety but it also tastes substantially fresher, lively and more intensive than its counterparts. On the top of it, it’s loaded with more Umami and sweetness.

Shincha – unique colour, unique pleasure

Shincha – unique colour, unique pleasure

A (no) question of the infusion.

The preparation of Shincha is similar to the preparation of high-quality Sencha, Gyokuro and Kabusecha. As a rule of thumb
2 heaped teaspoons to
0.2 to 0.3 liters of soft water
50 to 60 degrees
1 to 1 ½ minutes

Shincha is better suited for multiple infusions than all types green teas.

We advise everyone to experiment in order to find its ideal taste.

The tea leaves must always remain moist between infusions. And the more often the tea is infused, the shorter the brewing times become. Some choose infusion times of less than 20 seconds for the last infusion.

Time is limited. The quantity is limited. The durability is limited.

Only a few days (sometimes only two or three days) are left for the first plucking of the young leaves and shoots. The weather gods must play along. Shincha cannot be harvested in the rain, otherwise the tea leaves will spoil. If, on the other hand, it rains two days before the harvest, the Shincha improves in quality.

Ever more popular and loved Worldwide. The tastiest and healthiest tea: Shincha.

Ever more popular and loved Worldwide. The tastiest and healthiest tea: Shincha.

Even Japan being one of the largest tea growing regions in the world, the availability of Shincha is very limited. Especially given the fact that about half of the total first harvest stays in Japan.

Worldwide interest and demand are increasing yearly.

Shincha – if you're late, all you can do is hope.

In the past people said that Shincha retained its pearly freshness, umami aromas and twice as high moisture content (about 5%) only a few weeks after harvesting. And only during this time does a Shincha revealed its unique taste.

With modern cooling systems, closed cooling chains or special vacuum packaging, the freshness and shelf life of a this exquisite tea can be slightly extended.

In practice, however, Shincha is only offered until the summer - a maximum of two to three months. Then, it is either sold out or Shincha became a 'normal' green tea (mostly Sencha) with about 2 % moisture.

The special tangy and unique Shincha flavours are then 'evaporated'.

To experience the aromatic mouthfeel of a sparkling fresh Shincha, you have to wait a year. And hope that next year's new Shincha will taste just as unique as this year's one.

Well, the good things in life are often a bit rarer.

List of resources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19668087

From 06 June, 2019