2011 Shincha – UPDATE !

UPDATE to Original Post

JUNE 11th….Conflicting reports about possible radiation levels  ( or not )  in the 2011 Shincha crop from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan continue to appear in American and Japanese news reports.  Each new report contradicts the last (all reporting is in credible media) so the truth is clouded. An American food-professional colleague living in Tokyo ( who makes her living writing about Japanese food and teaching cooking classes ) has strongly suggested ( read i-n-s-i-s-t-e-d)  based on information that she has that we halt the sale of this tea until more can be determined about the safety of tea from this area.

So we are. Apologies to all for this action, but without 100% faith in the soundness of what we are selling, we feel this is the right thing to do. Other than the 2011  Shincha ( which is now pulled from sale ), all of our Japanese green tea  is from the 2010 (pre-earthquake and tsunami ) harvest. It is still delicious and drinking quite nicely. We will not receive any additional 2011 Japanese green tea until more clarity is shed on this issue of contamination in Japanese agricultural products. Indeed, this is a heartbreaking situation for Japanese farmers of all manner of agricultural goods.

May 27th

Each spring the first plucking of new, seasonal Japanese tea – Shincha  – begins between the end of April or the beginning of May. The timing of this plucking for ‘first pluck’ tea is calculated according to the traditional Japanese calendar, which places the time on the 88th Night following the first day of spring. This period is also known as Hachijuhachiya, meaning the time that plants begin to sprout.

Only a very small amount of Shincha is plucked each spring as there are only a few days that tea leaves are this tiny and new. Tea workers race to beat the clock and harvest the tea leaves before they grow too large to be called Shincha. ( After the Shincha harvest, various pluckings of Sencha begins, and so on throughout the season).

Shincha is exquisite in flavor and aroma because it is made with the first tea leaves to sprout on the tea bushes after winter hibernation. During the winter rest, the tea bushes absorb and store nutrients gathered from the soil during this time. Thus, the first leaves to ‘sprout’ on the tea bushes in the spring contain a large amount of these nutrients and antioxidants, the energies of the season, and, best of all, fresh, bracing flavor.

Our Shincha Kunpu is truly a special tea. The leaves are shiny, thin and delicate, and the taste can best be described as exceedingly lively, herbaceous , earthy and sweet. It displays all the vitality of the new season in its taste, which is an invigorating expression of seasonality. The heady aroma of Shincha recalls the fresh, green aromas that greets one in the tea gardens and tea factories in Japan in the spring.

This highly sought-after tea is best drunk now, when it is young and full of the moment. It is not a tea for keeping, or saving for special occasions ‘later’.

To order our 2011 Shincha, please click here: http://www.teatrekker.com/shop/shincha-kunpu/

6 thoughts on “2011 Shincha – UPDATE !

  1. I am glad to hear about your proactive measures. It is indeed very unfortunate that this catastrophe is affecting the livelihoods of so many people in Japan.

    Although, I must ask:

    If this batch of tea is indeed of unsafe radiation levels, is there a risk of cross contamination? In other words, is this tea securely stored and away from other stock while you ascertain its safety? Just curious.

  2. That is an unfortunate situation for the Japanese farmers. I wish them the best and hope their predicament improves greatly. Also, thank you for staying on top of this and continuing to provide the highest quality (and safe) tea possible.

  3. Fabian….well that is a good point, disposal. We don’t have very much of it and it is vacuum packed and it is in……..my office !! It is not near the rest of the tea. Humm…..wow….what should we do with it ?

  4. Michael…thank you for your comments. This situation is indeed sad, frustrating, maddening, frightening, and, not something that many have answers for. Our food supply is so vulnerable, and what happens in one country can impact us all. We will always be there for our customers, even with the hard decisions. Thanks for your support, too !

  5. I enjoyed a cup of the Sencha Sakura tea this morning and couldn’t help but think of the lasting impacts of the earthquake on the farmers and the Japanese population in general. It’s heartbreaking to say the least. I hope you’ll be getting positive news from your colleague in Tokyo soon.

    • Hi Julia….yes, we wish for the best, too. it becomes overwhelming to think about all that this situation means for farmers, food vendors, chefs, and in fact, those who live and eat in Japan, too. That means everyone !!! Add to that the fact that visitors and tourist are staying away, all areas of the economy will be affected. Despite our connectivity and one-world-ness, out-of-out-control situations of this magnitude are really difficult to grasp. And, as there have been fortunately few nuclear disasters, there is no framework for how governments, policymakers, and the general public are to act-think-do-be-respond, etc in this situation!

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