Shincha FAQ's

What's The Difference Between Shincha and Sencha?

Understanding the difference between shincha and sencha can be confusing. To clarify, all shincha is a type of sencha, but not all sencha is shincha. Here's the key distinction:

Sencha green tea is typically harvested multiple times each year, with the first harvest generally recognized as the highest quality. Most of this initial harvest is stored in a cold environment, allowing it to be distributed fresh throughout the year as it is taken out of storage and repackaged.

However, a specific portion of this first harvest is immediately sold and not stored—this is what is known as shincha. Shincha is prized for its freshness and is available only once a year, directly after harvest.

Is shincha better than regular first harvest sencha?

The question of whether shincha is better than first harvest sencha doesn't have a straightforward answer. While shincha is undoubtedly the freshest form of green tea available, since it is sold immediately after harvesting without undergoing cold storage, this doesn't necessarily make it superior. The cold storage process can alter the characteristics of the tea, sometimes enhancing and sometimes diminishing its qualities depending on personal taste preferences.

Shincha tends to have a bolder flavor compared to regular first harvest sencha, which often becomes milder after the storage period. While we cannot definitively say that one is better than the other, it is clear that many customers eagerly await shincha arrival each year, seeking the unparalleled freshness it offers.

(FAQs continued at bottom of page below the products)

 2024 Shincha Releases:

Note: Every green tea located under this category is considered shincha at this time even if it doesn't specifically say the word shincha, or only has the word sencha in its title.  This will remain the case until around the middle or end of June. The following teas have been released this year so far in the shincha form.

If you would like to be notified when a shincha comes into stock, navigate to the product and enter your email address into the "notify me when back in stock" area.

April 26, 2024 - Sae Midori Shincha

May 2, 2024 - Shizuoka Shincha Mio

May 6, 2024 - Shizuoka Shincha Haruna

May 8, 2024 - Shizuoka Yutaka Midori Shincha Madoka

May 8, 2024 - Organic Sae Midori (Medium Steamed)

May 9, 2024 - Organic Sae Asamushi Shincha (Light Steamed)

May 10, 2024 - Organic Chiran Shincha

May 11, 2024 - Tsuen Shincha Kirameki

May 14, 2024 - Organic Kabusecha Kurasawa

May 14, 2024 - Organic Kirishima Sencha (Medium Steamed)

May 14, 2024 - Organic Sakimidori (Medium Steamed)

May 16, 2024 - Tsuen Shincha "Aoi" (Light Steamed)

May 17, 2024 - Yutaka Midori Shincha (Deep Steamed)

May 19, 2024 - Fukamushi Shincha "Kaoru" (Deep Steamed)

May 19, 2024 - Chiran Shincha (Deep Steamed)

May 19, 2024 - Oku Midori Shincha (Deep Steamed)

May 20, 2024 - Chiran Organic Shincha (Deep Steamed)

May 27, 2024 - Uji Shincha Miyabi (Deep Steamed)

June 4, 2024 - Organic Sae Midori Kabusecha (Light Steamed)

Every product below is currently in shincha form even if the label says "sencha".

When is Shincha available?

It's available from harvest in late April through usually June, as supplies permit. Quite often the tea we are selling in June is actually shincha though not labelled as such.

Shincha green teas are released one by one. To be notified by email the moment any of the following shincha come into stock, navigate to the product and click on the "Notify Me When Back in Stock" button. 

 What about "shincha" gyokuro and matcha?

Shade-grown gyokuro and matcha leaves are typically harvested in May, aligning with the timing for the first harvest of traditional sencha. However, these varieties of tea usually undergo several months of aging to enhance their flavors, which consequently delays their market release until the autumn season. If these teas are consumed prior to this aging process, they exhibit a markedly pronounced "green" taste.

During the summer months, it is customary for producers to blend the current year's gyokuro with leaves from the previous harvest, particularly in instances where there is a shortage of older stock that must be extended until the fall. Although these teas remain suitable for consumption, they do not represent the peak quality of fresh harvests and thus are not categorized as true "shincha."

At, we opt not to market our products as "shincha matcha" or "shincha gyokuro," as these teas are valued not for their immediacy but for their matured, robust flavors.

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