The first tea of 2018 is here!
Shincha, the green tea from the first harvest of the year, is now available and we're all excited about it. Warm temperatures in Kyushu throughout the key growth period of the new leaves made it possible to start harvesting the leaves earlier than on average. All professionals agree that 2018 is an exceptional year for green tea, and we are happy to confirm it!
During a visit to Chiran (Kagoshima), Aldo had the chance to hand-roll newly harvested fresh leaves to make his own tea. He also had the privilege of seeing the hard work of the producers in the region. The tremendous dedication and work of the entire community of producers struck him. From dawn to dusk, 7 DAYS A WEEK, for weeks, teams and specialists took turns to produce a premium tea with the best leaves of the year. The first leaves transformed into tea are also brought as an offering to the main shinto temple of the area, accompanied by prayers for an abundant and successful harvest.
Did you know? For all premium quality teas, tea fields should not be more than a 30 minute drive away from the processing plant to guarantee their freshness, and to stop the oxidation process that starts right from the moment the tea leaves are cut. All teas made with first harvest leaves are called 'Shincha', because this word simply means 'new tea'. But because of its quality and taste, it's usually sencha that is celebrated and enjoyed under this name. IKKYU offers a selection of the first sencha of the year from several of our producers on our online shop (available gradually depending on producers). To celebrate this, we packed our teas in beautiful red washi paper, adorned with the famous cranes of Japan, symbols of longevity and peace. We wish you an excellent tasting!
Here are some pictures taken during this beautiful trip to Minami-Kyushu in Chiran area. It was a hot but magnificent day, and nothing beats the feeling of being surrounded by the smell of fresh green tea leaves throughout the day. Next time you open one of our tea bags, have another look at the pictures !