Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2010 Oohashiri Shizuoka Shincha

Japan's shincha crop this year has been riddled with problems stemming from frost and the coldest March ever. This tea was shipped later than expected- pretty much the norm this year.

This tea generously came from Chado Tea House and was the first handpicked five centimetres of tea from this garden in the Shizuoka region. Only 25kg of these young tea leaves came from the 1200 square meter tea plantation.

Water comes to a boil and then sits a bit while one unwraps the tea and cuts open the bag.

The dry leaf smells sharp and sweet with an underlying mellow freshness. A light scoop of these leaves makes their way into the pot. The cooled water follows.

The first infusion reveals mellow cantaloupe notes in a creamy broth. The lips numb with a feeling in the mouth that covers it. The sweetness is slight and manifests mainly on the breath.

The second infusion has more of that round cantaloupe tone that fills the mouth. Being the second infusion, this one feels a touch fuller in the mouth with a slight chalkiness.

The third infusion is longer than the first few and pushes out much of the same. It's flavour gravitates to more of the typical lime green tea taste than the mellow melon flavours. It is less creamy and mellow too and more chalky. It finishes sweet.

The fourth infusion moves from chalky to sweet then to a slightly acidic citrus flavour. There is also those lime flavours that reach in.

This tea is even taken to fifth and sixth infusions where the tea is mainly just creamy, chalky, and smooth with still some mouthfeel worth exploring. The lack of flavour indicates the end of this session.

While cleaning the leaves from the pot one feels focused and relaxed.



Michal Tallo said...

Great post and pictures, as always. ;)
Martin Spimr offered one really wonderful Shincha this year and I was lucky to grab one package - but I had the same problem as you've mentioned - it arrived just yesterday, although I placed my order about a month ago or so, when the tea was already supposed to arrive to his shop... but it delayed quite a lot.
Still, it was more than worth waiting,as you can see on my blog ;)

Have a nice day!

Matt said...


Actually this tea came a week or so back but the weather here has been so cold and damp that one just didn't feel like drinking green tea. So the wait was quite natural.


Sir William of the Leaf said...

I just ordered some shincha from Den's.
We will see what the cold weather has done to the crop!
It seems that the cold is bringing something new out of all the tea producers these days!
The shincha will be an interesting session.
Love your photos and descriptions.

Matt said...


Frost brings out the best and worst- least this years spring crop will be an interesting one.

Thanks for your support.


fallen leaf said...

Dear Matt,

I'm a teahead but I'm new here.
I love your ceramic teatable!!
Is there a online place to buy these, since I live in Europe?

kind regards,
fallen leaf

Matt said...

Fallen Leaf,

This table is by master potter Kim Kyoung Soo. See it featured in a post here:

Here are some more of his tables:

Don't know anywhere outside of Korea that sells his works.

If you are serious about purchasing a ceramic table like this, perhaps one can point you in the right direction. Please consider that these tables are made by masters and can be quite expensive... Beautiful pieces though...


fallen leaf said...

Hi Matt,

Thank you for your reply, beautifull teatable but 10.000dollars is above my budget. So I have to use them in my dreams.

thank you,
fallen leaf

Matt said...

Fallen Leaf,

Perhaps you can rationalize it in terms of not ever having to buy another tea table ever again. When the old bamboo table completely rotted out due to overuse

( )

one decided on this ceramic table.

Dream big. ;)