Shincha Yakushima – a light steamed Kabusecha Shincha
Shincha Yakushima is the fresh Shincha tea from the first spring harvest on the small island of Yakushima. The same locates offshore the larger island of Kyushu, on the most southern tip of Japan. For best quality of this tea, only the new spring’s youngest buds and leaves qualify for picking. Moreover, Shincha Yakushima is a single-variety tea, based exclusively on tea plants of the Jabukita cultivar. It’s originator is the Fujiwara family, the first to cultivate tea amidst Yakushima’s natural abundance of cedar forests. And the first to adopt the principles of the EU health and environment-friendly standard requirements.
As a plus, Shincha Yakushima comes in decorative 50g box, making it a visual highlight of your tea shelve. In addition, the stylish box qualifies this tea as a precious gift or present. However, please note: due to its nature-given rareness, we can offer you this special green tea for a short period only. Therefore, secure your package now!
What is Shincha?
In Japan, the term Shincha refers to the fresh teas from the first days of the spring harvest. However, in order to qualify as Shincha in the narrower sense, green tea needs to meet even more conditions. So, processing and airtight sealing needs to take place immediately upon picking. Plus, shipping to the end consumer needs to take place on the quickest possible way. Due to their exceptionally fresh and exhilarate taste and fragrance, the new spring season’s fresh teas enjoy highest popularity both in Japan and among green tea lovers worldwide.
For how long a Shincha might be referred to as such depends solely on its freshness. This is why the producer of our Shincha Yakushima processes and vacuum-packages the freshly harvested tea leaves on site immediately upon picking. Then, they instantaneously ship it to the distributor in Germany, who in turn forwards our “contingent” to us without any delay. Due to the extremely limited yield of this picking and the high freshness requirement, this tea is only available for a very short time.
What is “Kabusecha” / “Kabuse Cha” ?
Shincha Yakushima is a Kabusecha tea. Kabusecha tea (also: “Kabuse Sencha”) is a typical Japanese (half-shaded) green tea. In particular, it defines through the half-shading of the tea gardens with “Kabuse” nets during the days/weeks before picking. Also, the shading period causes a time delay in the tea’s way to market. That is, compared to unshaded Shincha (“Shincha Sencha”), going to market several weeks earlier. In favor of a higher quality of the tea, the tea bushes thrive under Kabuse nets (jap: net = kabuse) during the last (up to 3) weeks before the harvest.
The “Kabuse Cha” Method
Unlike Gyokuro Tea, for which shading is done for several weeks before the harvest, the Kabusecha shading method comprises a “half-shading”. For example, shading takes place for up to 3 weeks before picking for our Kabusecha Tenko). At this, the Kabuse nets filter out ca. 50% of the sunlight (compared to ca. 90% for Gyokuro). Therefore, Kabusecha tea is also commonly referred to as half-shaded tea.
The idea behind the Kabusecha method is that of the recreation of natural conditions. This means a part-shading of the tea bushes as would take place through trees and larger bushes in natural environments. The ca. 50% withdrawal of light during this period triggers activities in the tea plant. These again lead to an altered composition of the ingredients. As result, the tea shows higher amounts of amino acids (e.g. Theanine) and alkaloids (e.g. Caffeine, Theophyllin). Also, a reduction of bitterns (e.g. Catechine) is notable, among others resulting in a higher sweetness of the tea. Another effect of the shading is the enhancement of the aromatic fragrance and deep green color of the tea.
In order to achieve optimal exploitation of the active ingredients and to prevent oxidation processes, the freshly picked deep green tea leaves undergo steaming, cooling, rolling and drying according to the standard procedure of Japanese green tea processing. The producer of this Shincha tea is health and environment-friendly-certified to both Japanese and EU standards. They vacuum the tea immediately upon completion of the processing cycle. This way, the active substances, aromatic fragrance and intensive taste remain preserved throughout the tea’s streamlined way to distant shores. And right up to your tea cup!
Our preparation recommendation:
Pour 200ml water (as soft as possible) of a temperature of ca. 70°C over 4g Shincha Yakushima (Kabusecha) tea leaves in a suitable vessel (clay, glass or porcelain are best). For a first infusion, leave for 1-2 minutes, according to personal taste. Then, a second infusion needs only 10-20 seconds for best taste. After that, there is sufficient potential for a third infusion with a steeping period of 2 minutes.
For more Shincha teas at Siam Tea Shop, please click on the following link:
This year, all Keiko Shincha Teas 2018 are also available as as gift set, consisting of a 50g box of each tea, coming in a decorative gift box:
For more information about Japanese green teas, please also read our dedicated artible in Siam Tea Blog: