It’s that time of year again when green tea harvesting begins! The first flush of tea leaves, called shincha, is the most prized of the season. In Japan, Shin means new and cha, of course means tea, so together it is the new tea of the season.
Each spring, the new tea leaves are picked from about mid April until about mid May. Once picked, the new leaves head off to be steamed, kneaded, and dried. This process stops the oxidation and preserves all the beneficial qualities we’ve grown to love in green tea.
The term, shincha, is most commonly used for sencha, but the term can also be used for other types of teas such as gyokuro and matcha.
The spring harvest is so important in Japan that there is a national tea competition each year. Teas that enter the competition are of the highest quality, and the young, delicate leaves are often hand-picked to ensure they are not damaged from plucking machines.
We are so excited to participate in a shincha picking event this year. Volunteers from all over Japan are going to come together to hand-pick tea leaves this month in Kyoto, Japan. The leaves will be processed and entered into the national competition.
If you’re in Japan and you’d like to join us, the event is open to the public at the Obubu Tea Farm.
As an added bonus, everyone who participates will get a bag of the prized tea after the competition! And best of all, green tea and green tea snacks will be provided throughout the day!
When: Saturday, May 16, 2015, 9 am – 1:30 pm
Where: Kyoto, Japan
Cost: 1,000 yen
How to get there: From Osaka, get on the JR train at Tennoji station (7:43 am) and get off at Kamo station (8:33 am). At Kamo station, get on bus #66 at 8:39 am to arrive at Yufune bus stop at 9:14 am.