This review is for the newly-released 2012 Hashiri Shincha, which I just received from Den’s. I’m so glad I pre-ordered this. For some reason it really tickles me that the leaves I am brewing in Chicago today were still on the tree in Japan so recently.
Upon opening the bag, there is the unmistakable, intoxicating scent of fresh, grassy, sweet sencha. I followed the brewing instructions (160 F for 90 seconds) and was rewarded with a yellowish-greenish liquor. My first impressions upon sipping it were of buttered green vegetables, but the “buttery” sensation soon dissipates and shifts to a sweet vegetal sort of flavor. Grassy, but not bitter. Brothy. Savory and sweet at the same time — how does it manage that? The flavors are really strong and keep shifting from vegetal and grassy to sweet and almost herbal, and the flavors are long lasting; I can still taste this tea (in a good way) several minutes after drinking it. It’s delicious; like springtime in a cup.
The first time I brewed this I let it sit for just one minute too long and it came out a tad astringent, so I would say this is a tea that is, indeed, fussy about brew times. But if you follow the directions on the package, you’ll be rewarded with a remarkably sweet and flavorful cup.