What is Shincha?
Literally “new tea”, shincha can refer simply to the first flush of leaves in the spring processed into usually sencha, but also gyokuro, hōjicha, etc. However, you will also find tea brands in Japan who market summer and autumn shincha as there are subsequent flushes of new leaves in each season. More interesting perhaps is shincha that is specially picked (often by hand) and processed for tea competitions. They may be picked or harvested by machine earlier than usual to use smaller, younger, more delicate leaves in processing. It is much more difficult to process as the leaves are delicate and can break apart easily, and the winners of these competition grade teas may wholesale at more than $2000 per kilogram!