Shincha (新茶): The Definition of “New Tea” in Japan
When I went shopping today, I came across this Shincha (新茶) PET bottle from Itoen (伊藤園) in the beverage aisle of a supermarket.
As you might know, 新茶 (pronunciation) means new tea in Japanese, but I didn’t know its definition until now, so after returning home, I researched that online.
The Real Meaning of Shincha (新茶: New Tea)
First and foremost, as a background, 茶 (Cha) or お茶 (Ocha), literally tea, usually refers to unsweetened green tea or Ryokucha (緑茶) in Japan.
So Shincha (新茶) is new green tea, and based on the Ocha Encyclopedia by Itoen, 新茶 refers to the first flush Japanese green tea.
Shincha has another name Ichibancha (一番茶: meaning first tea), and they are essentially the same thing.
The main characteristic of 新茶 or 一番茶 is the fresh and refreshing scent of the young leaves.
Also, the first flush green tea tends to be rich in amino acids, which bring out umami and a sweet taste, and this Shincha from Itoen embodies that.