May 26, 2021
by Cynthia Fazekas
Tea tasters are a friendly group and tend to bond easily over the ever-beloved camellia sinensis. Send us to origin and let us wander among the tea gardens and ancient tea trees and we become a happy, cooperative lot, even amongst the staunchest of competitors. With travel to the traditional tea growing countries being out of the question in this past year, we have had to rely on our memories more than ever to keep our spirits aloft.
Along comes the new harvest! With the spring warmth and longer days, we get the joys of the new season’s tea arrivals. They can also lift our spirits and remind us of beautiful places both remembered and yet unexplored.
This year’s Shincha - very first tea pluckings in Japan – are first on our mental journey to the mountains. Grown in beautiful Shizouka, they remind us of the manicured gardens near Mount Fuji, and the sweetness of spring. All three of our Shincha offerings are light bodied and softly crisp in the finish and if you catch it - a whisper of almond blossom. The Gyokuro a little more umami than the others, and steeps well with a moderate water temp, 3-4 grams of leaf and short infusion times.
The Shincha Sencha is a bit less brothy but has notes of sweet clover and tender young veggies. Truly spring in a cup. This year’s Genmaicha Shincha is boasting a deliciously lovely roasted rice that is both sweet and toasty, with a soft sweet grass finish. Wonderful!
If I close my eyes, I can remember walking the tea fields, dining on a gourmet meal made with sencha as a primary ingredient and gazing at the glory of Mount Fuji. More to follow with some teas from Fujian, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces in China.