Yay for 2011 Shincha!
I was surprised by the leaf of this asamushi (light-steamed) shincha; I mean, I assume it is light steamed. There were some extremely long, beautiful needles, but also a lot of smaller, broken-up bits. To me, that suggests this is perhaps not just lightly steamed, but maybe mid-steamed (chumushi) or between asa and chu…
So that surprised me a little, as I was expecting to find mostly needles.
I also brewed this a little lower than the suggested 160F (it wasn’t intentional, but I knew it was happening and just went with it). However, the color came out to a beautiful greenish-yellow, just like the color of the smiley face you see when you rate a tea (the one without the tongue sticking out). The color of the liquor, however, (for all 1st-4th infusions) confirmed that this is definitely not a deep-steamed tea.
Upon first sip, I was reminded of the first time I had shincha, one year ago. A very fun memory, and cool that even though I had forgotten the way it tasted, one sip was all it took to bring back the moment!
The flavor, that I can say after this one brewing, was a nice balance of bitter, sweet, and steamed veggies (very much like fresh snap peas) – Den’s Tea describes it as “a sweetness like very fresh green vegetables”, and I’d say that is very accurate.
I look forward to having more/experimenting with different ways of brewing it. Glad that it is shincha season again; even though our modern-day storage methods keep tea just as fresh for a year or more as the stuff that is newly harvested, there is still something special about drinking a tea that was harvested just last week!