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Hashiri Shincha

Tea type
Green Tea
Ingredients
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Edit tea info Last updated by Joshua Smith
Average preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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From Den's Tea

Hashiri means the “first (harvest or catch) of the season” and our Hashiri Shincha is just that. It is the first of the first flush teas. It is made from the very young leaves and buds of the tea plant. The tea leaves are very shiny and thin and Hashiri Shincha is probably the most beautiful tea in the world. It has a young flavor almost as if you were picking the tea and steeping it right in the field.

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33 Tasting Notes

94
2169 tasting notes

This is the first year I decided to pre-order any shincha (a first flush sencha tea). My curiosity got the better of me and like the true tea addict I am, I had to see what the fuss was all about. There are several places to order shincha from, but I decided to go with Den’s because I have been very happy with the quality of all their products.

First of all, the dry leaves are incredible. Vivid green and vegetal with a bit of sweetness, the aroma is very fresh and delightful.

I steeped this is a Japanese style teapot which I believe is called a Tokoname kyusu – at least it looks like this one on Rishi’s website:

http://www.rishi-tea.com/product/fukugata-tokoname-teapot/teapots.

Mine is white and petite – it holds about 10 oz. of tea.

This tea liquor is much lighter than I thought it would be. I am getting lots of sweet vegetal notes like buttery cooked peas. It’s a bit brothy and a bit fruity at the same time. I’m thinking light notes of berries, perhaps? This is really nice, absolutely no bitterness involved at all. Just a delicate cup of tea. I can see why shincha is so highly prized but ack, it is expensive! This is the only shincha I am planning to buy this year and I’m sure I will enjoy it very much.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Sounds like it is worth the experience!

Infusin_Susan

It’s a great tea! I really enjoy how it’s savory and sweet, almost at the same time. I think I’m going to order some of Den’s other shinchas that are available right now.

TeaBrat

@Susan – I am definitely tempted by the Shincha Houryoku…

Joshua Smith

Hm, I’ll have to keep this in mind for next year. If my stash wasn’t already so large, I would definitely buy some of this.

ScottTeaMan

A white Tokoname…….awesome. I have been wanting ti order Shinchas for the last several years, but haven’t -and didn’t last year because of all the problems there. S this year I MUST (& I must hurry)! Hibiki-an is my choice. I have ordered from them, and really like there quality & customer service.

ScottTeaMan

Wow this is sold out already. How mucch did u get -2 oz?

TeaBrat

Yes I got 2 oz. I’m surprised it’s sold out already but I guess this is why they take pre-orders?

ScottTeaMan

If I hadn’t read your Shincha post, I probably would have forgotten-and I already have so much tea, BUT, I really want to try a Shincha this year and pick up a Sencha and/ or Gyokuro. I MUST! I miss it so……………………

ScottTeaMan

I think Hibiki-an is a little more expensive, but competitive. The fact that they are in the Kyoto Prefecture may have something to do with it (teas from Kyoto are supposed to be the best). Who knows….it’s all good!

Shinobi_cha

@Amy oh – if you are willing to buy a larger amount of tea (100g instead of 2oz), you can get it a lot cheaper per gram (just not from Den’s, unfortunately… unless you buy from their Parent co. in Japan). However, Maiko Tea’s Shincha Kinari is only 1500 JPY (and between 400 – 500 JPY for shipping) for 100g. It is awesome! Maybe not as good as hashiri, but you’re getting double the amount of tea for about $6 cheaper (not including shipping for Den’s or Maiko).
Also, O-cha.com has several good shinchas that are also cheaper (per gram).
However, it is still worth it!

@ScottTeaMan, actually, comparing the prices of MANY Japanese tea vendors, Hibiki-an seems like (imo) the most expensive, because they do free shipping if you buy over $40 (last time I checked). So, all of their prices include a margin to cover their shipping costs.

TeaBrat

@Shinobi-cha – thank you, for the info. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy a large quantity since I’ve never had a shincha before and I have a lot of green tea!

Shinobi_cha

No problem Amy! That makes sense… if you just want a smaller amount, Den’s is probably my favorite way to get it. :-)

ScottTeaMan

True Shinobi-cha, Free S & H is over $36, and They do compensate to cover their costs. I was just saying I think they are comparable to Dens-perhaps a little more expensive. I’ve never shopped at Den’s, but I am determined to get some Shincha this year. I’ll check O-cha too. :))

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92
102 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

I got this too and still need to try it!

Doug F

Sounds wonderful and I love Senchas. Upton seems not to think the situation in Japan after the Tsunami is stable because many of their Japanese teas are unavailable. I guess Den’s thinks otherwise.

ScottTeaMan

I need to start a Sencha phase…….Note to self: BUY SENCHA!!

I think there are better places to buy Sencha anyway…….not to say they don’t have some good Senchas.

Shinobi_cha

This is one of my favorite teas, by far.

One experiment: try it with boiling water! Just brew really short — 15-20 seconds. As long as you’re careful, it should be very similar to 160 for 1.5 minutes…. the bitterness may be a tad stronger, but the aftertaste will more delicious and lingering still. I say this going off of my memory of this tea from last year, (mine hasn’t yet arrived yet).

RE Triumph: The radiation concerns in Shizuoka (because radiation never affected all the growing regions in Japan) are less this year, but one still has to be careful. Nevertheless, Den’s website talks about the availability of certificates done by independent labs showing that their teas are safe for consumption. Not only this, but Japan has increased the rigidity of regulations, to the point that, in order for any company there to sell agricultural products (at least for export), the presence of radiation has to be virtually zero.

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93
693 tasting notes

Busting out the Kyusu for a little bit of Shincha before work today. Working on a Sunday is no fun! Shincha is delicious however :)

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94
484 tasting notes

OMG. This tastes amazing. First of all, the liquid is a lovely pale green. Beautiful. It makes a large mugful with only a teaspoon full of leaves. Very economical. And, most importantly, it tastes amazing!
At first sip, I was immediately struck with the fruity taste. At first, I couldn’t figure out what fruit. Melon? No… Second sip. Hmmm…PAPAYA! That’s right folks. This tastes like a succulent, juicy ripe papaya. I can almost imagine the lovely orange fruit melting in my mouth. Of course it also brings to mind the humid summers of New York and my long departed anole lizards. They loved papaya pulp. And watermelon juice. I always wondered why a lizard whose diet is supposed to be entirely insects would appreciate sweet fruit juice. But my dogs also love apples and raspberries, so who knows! Nature is crazy.

Anyway! There’s also, of course, the slight ocean-y savory flavor, characteristic of Japanese green teas. So delectable. So smooth and full and brothy. Perfect for my cold fingers and toes.

Thank you, Tamm! I love this!

Bonnie

Beautiful review…

Tamm

I’m so glad you liked it! I remember when I first bought this and the smell is just..amazing! I’ve never been able to find a tea that is quite like this one.

TeaBrat

oh – now I want some! :)

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100
598 tasting notes

I chomped on the leaves afterwards this time, figuring they were definitely sweet and tender enough. They were. A little soy sauce and some sesame oil (with a sprinkle of sesame seeds for appearance) made them really tasty! Even Fiance ate some!

(I also bumped up the score from 99 to 100, because what can’t this tea do really?)

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99
280 tasting notes

First time having hashiri shincha — first impressions…
I noticed the loose leaf was a nice, dark green color, of mostly whole (rolled up) leaves. Little or no leaf particles. Once steeped, the leaves opened up fully and you could see many veins or stems (I don’t know if I can tell the difference between the two, but I’m pretty sure it was mostly the veins between the leaf and not stems (kuki)).
I steeped it three times for my wife and I, and experimented a little on the 2nd two steepings.

The first steeping I did according to instructions (3 oz water per cup for 1.5tsp leaf). It tasted SO fresh, brisk/astringent, with just a tad bitterness (not too much at all in my opinion, just on the edge). The main flavor was freshness though. I read on his website that they try to process it as little as possible to maintain its fresh flavor, but I had no idea how that would actually translate into the tea…yes, one wouldn’t be exaggerating to say it tastes like spring! (Yes, that is a very ‘artsy’ phrase that I don’t very much like, but it isn’t an overstatement). The description says this has a very young flavor, as if you were picking the tea and steeping it right in the field — though I am no tea expert, I don’t think it could be described any better! The flavor surprised me in that way, even though I was expecting a ‘fresh’ flavor.

The 2nd steeping, I wanted to have a little more sweet flavor, a little more full/umami flavor, so instead of increasing the temperature, I left it at 160, and left it to steep for 1.5 mins instead of just the suggested 30 seconds. It didn’t have as much fresh flavor/astringency, and had a hint of sweetness that was very nice.

The third steeping was good too (I think boiling for 15-30 seconds), but the flavor wasn’t particularly strong.

I look forward to trying this out more and experimenting with the brewing. But for a first try, I liked it a lot and am not disappointed. If I can extract more umami/sweetness from it, then I will be impressed by it’s range of flavor.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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1851 tasting notes

Sipdown, 197. Thanks to Ellen for sending me a sample of this tea!

I have never had a shincha before but I am curious about them. Of course, I am totally going to butcher this tea because I am not steeping it Japanese style but in a more western way because that’s what I have the equiptment for right now. The leaf is very fine and a good amount made it through my very fine-holed infuser, but now I have a dark yellow cup that smells amazingly nutty and buttery.

Well shoot my steep was a little too long I think, as I am getting a bit of bitterness/astringency that others have noted with too long a steep. The very first thing I taste is fresh and so buttery, but then that astringency takes over.

I decided to try a resteep of these leaves at 90 seconds to see if I could end up with a more pleasant cup. This one smells less buttery but it tastes much sweeter, although there is still a hint of astringency here.

Honestly this is similar to my travails at the beginning of my experimentation of any somewhat fussy variety of tea. I could see myself a couple of years from now coming back to a shincha and brewing it properly and loving it, but that would take some time and I am not so much in my tea exploration phase anymore. But glad I have this one and another sencha from Den’s to experiment with a bit.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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100
521 tasting notes

First cup of the new year! I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable time last night! :)
smell: roasty, green peas, very slight floral
flavor: This is a very bright, sweet brew. This, as I’ve said before, is my favorite green tea. The smell of the dry leaf is almost overpoweringly wonderful. They are also very beautiful! I love this tea and it completely lacks astringency or bitterness.

Shinobi_cha

This is definitely one of my favorite teas, too!

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96
31 tasting notes

I wasn’t too excited about this year’s Shincha season because I ordered Shincha from O-Cha last year and I wasn’t that impressed.

I tried Den’s this time because they have never failed me before… and they still haven’t.

The taste is delicate, super sweet, and smooth. Hardly any astringency – only when I get to the bottom of the cup does the dryness start to build. No bitterness… just the silky smooth grassy flavor. Hands down, one of the sweetest green teas I have had to this point.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Shinobi_cha

I agree, this tea was VERY sweet, the sweetest I’ve had so far.

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456 tasting notes

Many thanks to Moraiwe for this sample

I think I over-leafed this cup, because it came out bitter. It’s the exact bitterness that I am accustomed to when I brew japanese greens wrong, so I know it’s not the teas fault. I’ll have to leave it unrated for now.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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