Shincha is the seasonal expression of sencha. Sencha is blended from various lots of green tea, regardless of whether they were different harvests, vintages, or steaming processes. In total contrast, a shincha is sencha from the earliest spring harvest of one particular year. This year we found three different types of shincha that represent the varying flavors of different growing regions, cultivars, and processing.
Kanenaga comes from Kagoshima Prefecture, the most diverse tea-producing prefectures in Japan in terms of types of cultivars and processing styles. It is the southernmost prefecture so the warmer weather allows the tea to develop faster than other parts of Japan. Kanenaga is deeply-steamed, shaded tea. While most shincha is available earlier in the year, Kanenaga underwent a short aging period to solidify its aroma and flavor.
The combination of deep-steaming and shading the plants before harvests lends it a deep, rich flavor, and vibrant green color. The flavor is sweet with delicate fruit notes, and rich umami character. Similar to our previously released Asabata Shincha, Kanenaga was made with the Yabukita cultivar. While the Yabukita flavor in the Asabata was bittersweet, and what I’ve come to expect from Yabukita, the Kanenaga is completely different take that showcases a whole other flavor palate.
In a kyusu or 400ml glass teapot, steep one gram of tea per ounce of water. Use 160°F water and steep 75-90 seconds. For a stronger cup, add more tea. Like most deeply-steamed teas, Kanenaga cold brews well.