I have been wanting to try this tea for quite a while (about a year).
When shincha season came up this year, and I saw that Den’s Tea was not offering it, I was disappointed… but then I discovered that one can order from their Parent Co. directly in Japan (though, it is a bit tricky to do so).
And with the help of Google translate, I saw they were selling this tea!
It has intrigued me for several reasons; first, it is a high elevation tea, and that often can mean good quality. Second, the method and care described by which the farmer, Sugiyama, goes about growing the tea was fascinating and the results just called out to be experienced. Finally, this tea is not the usual Japanese green tea cultivar, Yabukita. Instead it is ‘Zairai’ which I’ve wanted to try for some time, as well.
My first time having Zairai though, was not this tea, but Obubu (they offer a few, but their best of this cultivar is Sencha of the Earth, definitely recommend!).
Anyway, Zairai is quite interesting to me because it is actually the original tea cultivar that was brought from China (at least, if I’m remembering correctly) when tea was introduced to Japan.
This shincha has been excellent so far. The aroma of the dry leaf is especially strong and delicious. I typically enjoy the smell of dry leaf, but it is often not very pronounced until the leaves have been brewed for the first time. Not so with this tea!
It smells strongly of pine, somewhat sweet, somewhat (pleasantly) bitter—just irresistible.
I’ve managed to get three good infusions out of it each time. I might be able to get a decent fourth, but haven’t had the time to usually do so.
The tea reminds me of Sencha Zuiko (also by Den’s Tea), but it is less like fresh-baked bread, and more pine and lemon. There are probably other nuances to it that I can’t remember right now, but I’ve enjoyed every cup.
My intrigue in this tea has not been disappointed!