I'm drinking a very wonderful shincha I picked up at the sankouen vendor at Ameya Yokochou in Tokyo. I just happened to be in Tokyo at the right time for shincha season. I picked up an 80 gram bag and while I do not remember the price, it was quite reasonable. I happened to pick the one that I got to taste. The way the tenin had brewed the tea was very heady and bright and had a beautiful color. It was quite the invigorating brew with a light body that made it go down easy. Right away, the aroma of the leaf draws me in, as it is pleasant, light and fresh--spring-like if you will-- with a lovely sweetness about it. It teases your senses and invites you to stick your nose in the bag again
I opened this tea the day after my fiancee and I got back from Japan and was able to have one cup of this, along with a gyokuro and kenkoucha I bought while I was there. Sadly, my family had come to visit for a few days the night I got back from Japan and my fiancee was leaving in 3 days to spend sometime with her family, so we didn't get to sit down and indulge in the tea I purchased while I was there. This means that I have NOT been drinking too much of the good stuff I purchased in Japan while my fiancee is gone. Luckily I will be leaving in a few days to bring her back. Then it will be shincha every morning instead of koucha (紅茶 Red Tea), genmai and mugicha. I also bought her several teas in Japan as a gift for her to take home with her to enjoy, so I'm excited to get those back and try them for myself. As for my family and the tea, well... I opened the gyokuro and the shincha and while I was in ecstasy from the smell alone I passed the bags to my sister to smell and she said they both just "smell like green tea." Mind you, the only green she has ever smelled is bagged from the supermarket. I, of course, recoiled in horror and I've yet to forgive her.
Anyway, back to the shincha. Due to this lack of persistent brewing, and because I brew a billion teas a day, I can never remember my brewing parameters for this shincha. Each session is a mystery where I take a (well-reasoned) stab in the dark. They've managed to come out quite well for the most part, though one was rather underwhelming as I played it far too safe. Today's session is a real winner though. The tea brews up the most fantastic unblemished, clear and pure vibrant green and has all the grassiness of a Japanese green that I was born to love and crave for. It is a joy just to look at this tea in my cup; I am satisfied without even having to taste it! When I do manage to taste it though there is a lingering sweetness, plenty of umami, and a lack of bitterness for a very, very clean cup. I also find I can get a tremendous amount of steeps out of this with minimal leaf and without having to increase temperature. The tea is an absolute joy even at its most mellow and the leaves are tasty to eat as well. Overall, it is easy on the stomach and would be perfect to start off the day with. I'm tempted to cold-brew some in a pitcher but I don't really want to use too much leaf... so I might try it on a small scale.
Edit: In fact, I think that after having exhausted these leaves for my session that they will go into a small batch of water that I will use for cooking later. They would be a good addition while preparing dashi, I think. Perhaps I will use the water with the leaves and throw it in the rice cooker with rice to steam for dinner.