2010 Tokujo Shin-cha from Maeda-en

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en

Company Description:

This is the creme de la creme of our Shin-cha selections. Our best baby leaves are harvested in the under the bright spring-time sun, then deep steamed to create this rich and hearty brew.

For each Hatsumono, or New Crop that one eats/drinks, it is said that one’s lifespan is extended for another 75 days. Shin-cha is also the harbinger of spring, and is a tea merchant’s treasured tradition.

Taster’s Review:

I pre-ordered this in early spring, 2010 (or perhaps even late winter!) and when I received it, I tucked it away in my tea drawer and kept it there.  As I write this, it is the first time I tried this delightful tea.

It came in such a pretty package!  The box was beautiful, and the tin was even prettier.  I just… didn’t want to open it!  How silly of me to postpone trying this tea!  Just like in people – the true beauty is within!

The tea leaves are cut very small and are vivid green.  When I poured hot water (165° F) over them the top of the water in my brewing device had a tiny bit of froth at the top that reminded me of Matcha!

The flavor is sublime!  It has a creaminess to it that is a little buttery, but not as buttery as some green teas I’ve tried.  It’s almost like butter and cream.  The vegetative quality is a little grassy and a little bit like vegetables, and when combined with the creamy taste it is quite a luscious experience.

And like the description suggests, this is really quite hearty for a green tea.  It has a sort of thickness to it that I would liken to Matcha, but without the “chalkiness” of Matcha.  The mouthfeel is velvet-y smooth and there is a very light astringency in the finish that is a nice contrast to the creamy-soft mouthfeel.

From what I can see of the Maeda-en website, the spring 2010 harvest of this outstanding tea has sold out.  So, I recommend that you keep your eyes peeled for the 2011 harvest, and pre-order it when the opportunity presents itself.  You won’t be disappointed!

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