In Japan, Shincha means the fresh teas from the first days of the early, first annual 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. With “Wakana”, the Japanese tea farmers refer to the very youngest fresh tea leaves of the new alabel the all youngest, fresh tea sheets of the early spring. Accordingly, our Shincha Gyokuro Wakana is a (fully) shaded tea harvested during the first annual picking, processed right from the tea garden and vacuum-packaged immediately upon processing for optimal freshness with its entry on the market, where Shincha tea is highly anticipated each year, both in Japan itself and in overseas countries. Shincha Gyokuro Wakana comes from the region around Kagoshima, capital city of the prefecture with the same name located on the island Kyushu on the most southern tip of Japan. Thanks to the vicinity of the tea gardens to the still active volcano “Sakurajima”, this tea crops in particularly rich soils. 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”, 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.
The tea leaf, aesthetically pleasing with its deep fir green and the perfect needle shape, exudes a seductive, delicately sweet and mellow fruity aroma. The infusion captivates with bright jade-green color and a bouquet that tantalizes the senses with a fine aromatic complex fragrance. Tastewise, Shincha Gyokuro Wakana convinces with a delicately sweet and mellow fruity note with a hint of grape. It appears ultra-light and mild with a pleasantly refreshing finish and delights the palate with a long lingering, intensive aftertaste. The long period of full shading is responsible this tea’s unique, insensive sweet “umami” taste, the latter simply meaning “good taste”. The light processing and the comparatively robust character make Shincha Gyokuro Wakana a perfect entry into the world of Shincha and fully shaded teas.
Preparation: Dose Shincha Gyokuro Wakana 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 Wakana 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 Wakana will produce several highly delicious infusions. With higher dosages, the infusion period should be shortened accordingly and more infusions are possible.
Tea cups: In Japan, Shincha 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: