Review: Green Tea Lovers Shincha Shizuoka

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Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Of the senchas I've tried, it gets the bronze. Tall praise, indeed, since sencha is not my usual cuppa."
Geoff’s Teaview: 8.8/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7/10, Bryan gave it 4.9/10, Katie gave it 7.9/10
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"Shincha" literally means "new tea" in Japanese. There are three different types of shincha; ichibancha (first-picked), ninbancha (second), and sanbancha (third). Shincha is used as a blanket category for any tea in the first flush season. Like white tea, only the leaf buds are processed for shincha. Shizuoka Prefecture accounts for over half of the sencha produced in Japan. Of which, I've only had two types - a Fukamushi (deep-steamed) sencha and an Izu-produced matcha. From those two experiences, I can say I like what the region puts out.

The leaves for Green Tea Lovers' Shizuoka Shincha acted the part of senchas past, like dark green pine needles with a scent of sweet almonds. By golly, I loved that aroma. Some aspect of it was similar to kukicha, only - as mentioned above - sweeter and nuttier. It seemed bright, young, and ready for hot water.

Brewing instructions on the GTL site and on the package differed greatly, mainly because there was a website error. They gave instructions for matcha preparation online. This was - most certainly - not a matcha. The bag provided something nearer to what I was expecting but still decidedly odd. Recommendations were 1 teaspoon per cup (no specs on size), steeped in 176F water for forty seconds. I could understand a 165F steep for a minute or two, but this differed greatly. I shrugged and tried it their way; I had plenty.

There were two things I had to make note of with how this infused: One, this brewed a foggy green more in line with a genmai matcha. Two, it brewed extremely quickly, reaching the foggy green in the allotted forty seconds. The aroma was extremely grassy, kind of sweet, with a nutty finish. The flavor was thankfully more understated on the leafy lean than on smell. Almonds came to mind first, toasted peanuts second, sweetened nuts third. Any vegetal characteristic I expected from the aroma was - to my relief - minor on the tongue.

A second infusion for a few minutes turned up a crisper cup with a citrus character. The color was equally as vibrant. However, it was a tad more vegetable, but not undesirable. Of the senchas I've tried, it gets the bronze. Tall praise, indeed, given all the grand types out there.

— To purchase Green Tea Lovers Shincha Shizuoka, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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