Wednesday, July 21, 2010


For those of you who have faced "Temp Out of Stock" on many of our tea selections in the past month or so, we apologize and appreciate your patience. The wait is finally over; the 2010 Shincha (new harvest teas) is in. In Japan, shincha is anticipated as much as the Beaujoulais Nouveau in France. The first flush of the year can occur as early as early spring in southern climates like Okinawa, but is generally thought of in Japan as beginning on the 88th day after the early February start of spring on the traditional Japanese calendar. For central Japan, this is usually by mid-May. Since our teas are sourced from all over Japan, going as far north as Saitama Prefecture, we have to wait a bit longer for all to be available for international shipping.

Shincha is thought to have more flavor and higher nutritional content that later harvested tea
creating a more than two-thirds market demand for fresh packed shincha. Today's technology of nitrogen-flushed packaging does extend tea's freshness considerably, but it's always special to have the first tea of the season. Charaku Fine Japanese Tea sells only small batch (40-50g) packages that are nitrogen-flushed and sealed in Japan. We do not buy bulk tea and repackage in the U.S. after a long journey or open storage.

We are also happy to announce the additional of a new tea in our line-up, Karigane. Karigane is the term used for stem tea (Kukicha) derived from the harvest of Gyokuro. These stems have an exceptional flavor and full mouth feel, with limited caffeine. Stem tea (both Kukicha & Karigane) is also naturally alkaline (countering acidity) and is a popular tea among those following a macrobiotic diet. We hope that you will give this new tea a try.

By the way, as many of our customers all currently battling heat waves this time of year; we've had comments on how much people are enjoying mizudashi (cold-infused) teas from Charaku. Any of our teas work well for this, but kukicha and houjicha can be consumed in large amounts quickly due to their lower caffeine content. Your favorite sencha also will be delicious cold.
Here's a standard recipe: let 10-15g (or more, to taste) of tea steep in 1 L (about 4 cups) of cold water in a covered container in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Strain thoroughly and enjoy! Keeps well for 24 hours.

Please visit our Charaku Fine Japanese Tea website at to find out more, or to order your shincha now.

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