Tea tasting: Shincha 2022 – Shuntarou cultivar (Iba Yuu Seicha)

Two of my 2022 shincha orders have arrived last week! But I chose to start drinking one today, on Hachijuuhachi-ya (or the 88th night).

It seems like it has become a tradition for me since 2020 to get shincha from Tanegashima (an island off Kagoshima prefecture) as my very first shincha of the year.

This new tea is from the said island, produced by Iba Yuu Seicha.

Shuntarou is yet another very rare tea cultivar that is unique to Tanegashima, along with Shimamidori, Kuritawase and Shouju.

This cultivar, which is a cross between Saitama No.9 and Makura F1-33422, is an early-budding cultivar that grows especially well in warm regions like Tanegashima. In fact, it can be harvested even one to two days earlier than Kuritawase, and has a greater yield than the latter.

Despite that, it only accounts for less than one per cent of Japan’s national tea production.

Shuntarou was officially registered as a cultivar in December 2011.

It is most suitable for making sencha.

In order to make this tea, which is a sencha, the leaves were carefully selected from quality buds. The farm does not use pesticides before the first harvest.

For this particular sencha, the producer stated on the product description that it has undergone the hiire (firing) process. This is usually part of the drying or finishing steps in Japanese green tea production to reduce water content from aracha (unrefined tea).

The package contains 50g of tea leaves. Ah~~ the scent of fresh young leaves of the first harvest! So heavenly!

I used 3g of leaves, and brewed with 100ml water of around 70°C for 2 minutes.

The tea liquor was a deep shade of yellow, with a faint scent that somewhat reminded me of.. cherry blossoms? Hmmm.

It had a mild sweet taste that lingered on the palate. Very smooth, no astringency felt.

Second steeping was at a shorter time of 1 minute. The tea seemed to be sweeter, like cai xin leafy vegetable soup to me. There was a little astringency but it was quite pleasant and refreshing. That faint cherry blossom scent was still present.

I could see how much trichomes there were on the surface of the tea! They were visible for all the steepings.

I managed to get four steepings that were very full of flavours out the tea leaves.

Of course, I had to try the used leaves with ponzu. Really tasted like leafy greens that were blanched and seasoned well.

It really was like tasting Springtime in the teacup. Definitely a great start to the shincha season!

My other shincha is also from Kagoshima, but it was processed by a tea wholesaler in Osaka. Looking forward to try it, probably next week.

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One thought on “Tea tasting: Shincha 2022 – Shuntarou cultivar (Iba Yuu Seicha)

  1. Pingback: Tea tasting: 2022 Shincha – Oohashiri Shincha The First Kagoshima (Cha Tsusen Tada Seicha) | 茶柱 The Floating Tea Stem

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