A package of Shincha (the first tea of the season) has arrived from Okinawa, the southernmost area of growing tea in Japan.
Shincha season generally starts March in Okinawa, and goes up north, reaching to Kyoto around the beginning of May. So, tea made in Okinawa is truly “the very earliest season’s tea” in Japan.
Unlike Kyoto, Shizuoka and Kagoshima, Okinawa is not well-known as a tea-producing area even among Japanese. But, this is not surprising, because it accounts only for less than one percent of Japanese production.
The Okinawa's tea I have is made from a rare varietal “Inzatsu”, which is characterized by containing a lot of catechin and a particular aroma component, producing refreshing aroma like jasmine flowers. Yes, it has a great natural flowery aroma!
A varietal "Inzatsu"
In Japan, the full-blown new tea season in 2011 is just about to start. Hope lots of people throughout the country will enjoy the freshly tea.