As I’ve already mentioned in my previous post, I got this mysterious sample for free along with other things I bought in one local tea shop. The owners of this shop visited
This tea was produced in Meng Ding this April, completely made by Japanese method of processing Shincha.
I was really looking forward to try this.
Dry leaves are almost indistinguishable from high quality Japanese Sencha (or Shincha, if I want to compare these two.) Long, dark-green shiny needles with marvelous deep, fresh smell. There is also a little bit of this characteristic Shincha plasticity and stickiness in these leaves, too.
I had a funny dilemma about how to prepare this tea – I mean, whether to use Chinese gaiwan, or Japanese kyusu teapot. I decided for the first one, as this, after all, still is Chinese green tea, even though it doesn’t look nor smell like one at all.
The shop owner told me that this tea should be prepared just the way you usually prepare Japanese Shincha, therefore with slightly higher temperature of water (80˚C /
First infusion was a little bit too mild, although I let it brew for quite a long time – longer than I formerly wanted. I think these leaves needed some time to awake.
After the first infusion, leaves were already emitting that wonderful milky, creamy fresh smell of good Japanese teas, accompanied with subtle, almost imperceptible fruity tones, typical for Chinese spring green teas.
Second infusion is already bold and vivid, with deep creamy taste and outstanding freshness. There is also a little bit of delightful astringency, caused by higher content of water in dry leaf -another characteristic so typical for traditional Japanese Shincha.
Third infusion is very similar to the second, with astringent tones growing a bit stronger.
I also made fourth infusion, but the taste was already fading away, being weaker and less outstanding. Fifth infusion would already be futile.
This tea left me confused. It was wonderful, but… If Chinese are already this good in imitating Japanese teas, will we be able to distinguish real teas from Chinese “fakes” in the future? I mean… it still isn’t the same, it still misses something that can be found only in Japanese tea, but they are somehow getting closer every year.
However, it still was a nice experience and pleasure especially for me, being so impatient for fresh Japanese teas these days.
My real Shincha is supposed to arrive around May 26, so at least I hadn’t died of abstain until then. :D