I've not gotten around to buying any of this years shincha harvest and so was delighted to receive a sample of o-cha shincha from a fellow tea enthusiast, who really knows his Japanese greens.
My Japanese green tea drinking is a rather sporadic affair, months of very little punctuated by a few weeks of intense consumption of the freshest stuff know to man.
This particular Shincha is Fukamushi Supreme from Shizuoka prefecture of Japan. I've had a few sessions with it now and all have been very enjoyable ways to spend my time. The onslaught of freshness and flavour was not quite as intense as I had built it up to be but on reflection I put this down to the fact that that the only decent Japanese green I've been drinking recently has been matcha which is rather hard to compete with on those terms.
The advice that came with this gift was that this was a tea which could really be stretched as far as number of steeps was concerned. The advice was astoundingly accurate and has led me to push more than I usually would with this kind of tea, Japanese greens from now on will be pushed that little bit further from here on in. At the end of a late night of tea drinking I have been filling the kyusu with boiling water and have been rising to a breakfast accompanied with some beautifully sweet, cool shincha. The photo above is of an overnight steep decanted into a tetsubin to improve even more so an experience I thought I would never come to relish, shaving - discounting the period where I was too young to shave.
I'm on a steep learning curve with this kind of tea but even when I discarded the brewing parameters and started experimenting I never produced anything short of remarkable. The brew is delicate, sweet, complex and evolves charmingly with each steep. I have been drinking this with such gusto that by the start of the second or third steep I'm sure I'm sweating tea.
Not only does tea enhance my shaving experience just by enjoying it whilst I shave, I'm now fairly convinced it helps with the general mechanics of the process. Warming and wetting the face with hot water is a necessity that is helped along by drinking excessive amounts of tea to the point where I have warm tea coming out of my pores as I shave.
The slow and gentle pour required for decanting the shincha, due to the fine particles, is something I will need to work on. If tea like this can be improved with a little work then I think it might time to start applying more of that kung fu limb control to tea pouring.
Thanks for the samples and advice Chip.
The photo above is again courtesy of my mobile phone. In the, fruitless, hunt for my digital camera I completely forgot I have an old SLR lying in a gadget bag in the loft complete with trimmings. Anyone checking in should be on the lookout for some awful photos taken with enthusiasm as opposed to some make do photos taken with regret.