In Japan, Shincha means the fresh teas from the first days of the year’s first picking in early springtime. Gyokuro is the Japanese term for a tea that has been fully shaded for ca. three weeks. During this time, the tea gardens are completely housed by several layers of fine-meshed nets. “Kirisakura” is Japanese for “cherry blossoms in the fog”, a metapher for the tea gardens covered by mist. Accordingly, our Shincha Gyokuro Kirisakura is a super-fresh blend of (fully) shaded teas from several Kagoshima plantations favorably situated on the slopes of the Volcano with the same name, picked during the first days of the early harvest (“first flush”), processed fresh from the tea garden and vacuum-packed immediately for greatest freshness of the tea upon delivery to the market, where Shincha teas are highly anticipated each year, both in Japan itself and at offshore locations. A Shincha unequaled, and a Shincha according to genuine Japanese standards, with only true premium shaded teas from the Japanese Yabukita and Saemidori tea cultivars being used.
The area around Kagoshima, capital of the of the prefecture with the same name, located on the island Kyushu on the most southern tip of Japan, is Japan’s second largest tea cultivation region. Thanks to the tea gardens’ beneficial location at the slopes of a still active volcano, this tea thrives in particularly rich soils and receives ideal exposure to sunlight before the shading. Another beneficial factor for the enrichment with taste, aroma and other active substances in the leaves of the tea plant is the Kagoshima region’s mild climate, which is like tailor-made for tea cultivation .
In contrast to the shading method used for “Kabuse Tea” (also: “Kabusecha”), where comparably coarse-meshed nets (“Kabuse” nets: UV filtration ca. 50% ), the tea bushes for Gyokuro tea are “housed” with several layers of closer meshed nets, filtering out approximately 90% of the sunlight. The near-total withdrawal of light during this period triggers activities in the tea plant that are leading to an altered composition of the ingredients with increased amounts of amino acids (e.g. Theanine) and alkaloids (e.g. Caffeine, Theophyllin) and a reduction of bitterns (e.g. Catechine). Tastewise, the full shading results in a considerably higher sweetness of the tea, whose aroma and deep green color are also intesified by the procedure.
In order to achieve an optimal exploitation of the active ingredients and to prevent oxidation processes, the freshly picked deep green tea leaves are steamed, cooled, rolled and dried according to the characteristic procedure of Japanese green tea processing. The producer of this Shincha Gyokuro Kirisakura, who is organic certified both to Japanese and German standards, vacuum-packages the tea immediately after its processing and sends it to the company’s permanent establishment in Germany, from where it is sent to us, so that the active ingredients, the fresh aromatic fragrance and the intensive taste of the tea remain preserved all the way right up to your tea cup.
Already the dry, shiny deep green delicate tea leaves exude a tantalizing fresh, fruity-sweet fragrance that is reflected in the aroma of the bright jade-green infusion and arouses a strong anticipation regarding the expected taste experience, a promise that the full-bodied “umami” taste of our Shincha Gyokuro Kirisakura with its high natural sweetness and fruity notes fully delivers on. The unusually long and intensive lingering on the palate carries the taste experience with this tea even far beyond the moment of its actual enjoyment. A green tea that makes happy!
Preparation: Dose Shincha Gyokuro Kirisakura tea leaves into the teapot, pour over with water tempered according to below recommendation or personal preference, let infuse and pour out into previously prepared drinking or tea cups.
Water: For the preparation of our Shincha Gyokuro Kirisakura Green Tea , we recommend using as soft as possible (low lime) water of a temperature of 60-65°C.
Teapot: Best suitable for the preparation of Japanese green teas such as Shincha, Gyokuro, Sencha or Kabusecha teas are clay teapots (alternatively Japanese Kyusu or Chinese-style teapot), but you will achieve comparably desirable results using a China bone or a glass teapot.
Dosage: While in Japan there’s a tendency to much higher dosages prevailing, a dosage of 4g tea leaves on 200ml water in our experience appears to be entirely adequate as an initial approach to the exploration of one’s own taste and dosaging preferences. The higher the dosage, the more intensive both color and taste of the resulting green tea will be.
Infusion period: with an infusion period fo 2 minutes for a first infusion and shorter follow-up steeps of 1-2 minutes slightly incremental, Shincha Gyokuro Kirisakura will produce a good range of highly delicious infusions. With higher dosages, the infusion period should be shortened accordingly and more infusions are possible.
Tea cups: In Japan, Gyokuro tea is enjoyed in smaller to medium-sized teacups (“Chawan ” or ” Yunomi”), whose style and prefered size can be adapted to actual requirements, i.e. situation and mood.
Suggestion: Shincha teas are particularly well-suited for refreshing cold infusions and the preparation and enjoyment as delicious ice tea. For cold infusions, we recommend an infusion period of 20-30 minutes in water of room temperature with a double dosage of the used tea leaves. Served on ice an unparalleled relish especially on hot days!
For more information and backgrounds on Shincha and other Japanese green teas as well as other types of tea that are characteristic for Japan, please also read our pertinent article in Siam Tea Blog, providing an overview of Japan’s tea world, culture and history in a comprehensive yet understandable manner: