Each year, at the beginning of May, anticipation builds for the arrival of my favourite tea, Hachi Matcha Shincha. Why do I get so excited? Shincha is the first picked tea of the year, also known as the ichibancha. Similar to the Beaujolais Nouveau of French wine, the name Shincha celebrates the first tea harvest of the year.
Traditionally Matcha is not ground immediately after harvest; instead, it is “rested” for a period of many months to mature the flavour. In the spring, the tea leaves are flooded with sunshine. Matcha is shade grown for 20 to 30 days before harvest. This slows down growth and stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels, turns the leaves a darker shade of green and releases the production of amino acids, in particular L-theanine. Only the finest tea buds are hand-picked and ground into the freshest matcha tea.
Shincha, or new tea, is harvested at the peak of ripeness but instead of being aged is immediately steamed, de-veined, de-stemmed and ground into matcha. There is no fresher matcha available and its taste is bold, unique and refreshing.
Just Matcha has been importing Shincha Matcha for 7 years now; it has always been slightly different, and it has always been excellent. The nuances of Hachi Matcha Shincha change every year depending on the climate and other growing conditions in the tea fields.
The first thing I notice about the 2020 Hachi Matcha Shincha is the fresh, lively, sweet aroma immediately fills the air from the second you open the matcha bag. I love the way the powder’s umami rich aroma permeates the air once whisked. This tea makes a powerful first impression; its finish is long, sweet, and pleasantly light.
I would recommend putting your lattes on pause, and try this tea first as regular usucha, or thin tea to experience its refreshing strength. (½ teaspoon of sifted matcha and whisk with ½ cup of hot water). Prepare it next as koicha (thick tea – twice the matcha and ½ the water) to taste this tea’s full umami and green freshness. If you can’t put your lattes on pause, the elegant deep umami pairs well with the creaminess of milk/mylk. Finally, you can whisk this tea with cold water and serve over ice, which reveals a sweet, refreshing character.
If you’re looking for a mouth watering experience that will be gone too soon, give this very limited edition matcha a shot. Drink up this delicate psychedelic green goodness and see why there is always a waitlist each year for this special tea.
Take your moment,