Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hashiri Shincha

Tea: Hashiri Shincha 2009
Vendor: Sugimoto USA
Price: $20.00 / 50g
Source: Japan
Vendor Description: Hashiri means "early season" in Japanese. Our Hashiri Shincha is produced from very young leaves harvested at the end of April (This year's harvest was April 24th). These early-season leaves are very soft and contain a lot of sweetness. This is the taste of spring.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea is a very characteristic fukamushi. It appears to be moreso than most other fukamushi that I have run across. Most of the leaf is in the small pieces that is somewhat distinctive of fukamushi. There is a rich vegetal aroma to this dark green mix.

1st Infusion Parameters: 5g, 5 oz, 185F, 45s

1st Infusion: This tea has a rich green color. It is quite dark for a first infusion, but still has a shincha radiance to it. The flavor felt like there were three separate portions to it. There was a very up front assertive fukamushi flavor, followed by a sharp and bold central flavor, and finished with a light tapering marine backend. It felt like there was a very cleansing bitterness to this tea, there was just the right amount of astringency on the backend to pair up with this.

2nd Infusion Parameters: 15s, 185F

2nd Infusion: This infusion was a dark green murky fukamushi color. It was pretty much what I've come to expect from a second infusion fukamushi. It was dark and murky. The flavor was much bolder than before, it was sharper and more bitter than the first infusion. There was a medium astringency. It felt like there was too much power to this infusion that it became a bit harsh. There were hints of marine flavor with this infusion.

Rating: TBD

Conclusion: Since shincha can be very tricky to pin down, I'm going to wait to determine a rating for this tea in this infusion. I'll alter the parameters a bit and do a second review for it. At these parameters the tea was a bit too strong and overpowering. Even still it managed to show some of those shincha qualities that make the spring a wonderful time for green tea. It has the vibrance and freshness of spring in it. Unfortunately like the Temomi this tea was preorder only.

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