Two of the most popular types of Japanese green tea are Shincha and Sencha. While both are made from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, there are some differences in how they are grown, harvested, and processed, which result in distinct differences in taste and aroma.
Shincha is a type of Japanese green tea that is harvested early in the spring. It is sometimes referred to as "new tea" or "first harvest" tea because it is the first harvest of the year. The leaves are hand-picked when they are still young and tender, giving the tea a unique flavour and aroma. Shincha has a delicate, sweet taste with a grassy, vegetal note and a hint of umami. The aroma is fresh and invigorating, with a hint of sweetness.
Sencha, on the other hand, is a more common type of Japanese green tea that is harvested later in the season. It is the most widely consumed green tea in Japan and is often referred to as "regular" or "Estate" tea. The leaves are picked when they are slightly more mature than Shincha, giving the tea a stronger, bolder flavour. Sencha has a more grassy, earthy taste than Shincha, with a hint of bitterness and a deeper umami flavour. The aroma is also more pronounced, with a stronger vegetal scent.
In terms of brewing, both Shincha and Sencha are typically brewed with water that is around 80°C to 85°C and steeped for 1-2 minutes. However, due to the difference in flavour and aroma, the brewing method and time may vary depending on personal preference.
One of the main differences between Shincha and Sencha is the way they are processed. Shincha is minimally processed, with the leaves simply steamed and then dried. This minimal processing helps to preserve the natural flavours and aromas of the tea leaves. Sencha, on the other hand, goes through a more involved processing method, which includes steaming, rolling, and drying. This process results in a more consistent flavour and aroma.
When it comes to health benefits, both Shincha and Sencha are loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can help to improve overall health. They are both low in calories and can help to improve brain function, boost metabolism, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Ultimately, the choice between Shincha and Sencha comes down to personal preference and the desired flavour and aroma profile.