JAPANESE TEA PICKING SEASON
FIRST PICKING SEASON
HIGH ABOVE SEA LEVEL
FIRST PICKING SEASON
APRIL - JUNE
Japanese green tea in Japan are categorised as first, second, and third based on when the tea is being harvested. The first harvest of the season is called Ichiban-cha. This is also called "new crop" (or Shin-cha/1st flush/1st pick). The characteristic of the first harvest is that the tea leaves are still "young" so their age brings a richer and clearer aroma. It is also called Shin-cha. It also have lower caffeine.
Second crop tea is called niban-cha. "Ni" refers to number 2 in Japanese. This is also called 2nd flush/2nd pick). Nibancha is cropped usually after 45-50 days after first crop (ichiban-cha) which is between June to July in the usual year.
Third crop tea is called sanban-cha. "San" refers to number 3 in Japanese. This is also called 3rd flush/3rd pick) Sanbancha is cropped usually after one month after the second crop (niban-cha).
Tea picking is still conducted in the traditional way, the tea leaves are handpicked and gathered into wide baskets. The hand picking ensures that only the best leaves of the tea plant are collected and used for producing the tea.
In Japan the tea picking seasons starts in Spring and continue June to August. The first tea crops of every year are called “New Tea” 新茶, also called first flush/first pick and it is rich in flavor and aroma.
Only the plant bud and two young leaves are used for the processing the tea. Normally is picked during sunny period 9am and 2pm.
Ichibancha is the first picking of new leaf shoots of the year. After that, tea is called Nibancha and Sanbancha based on the order in which it is picked. Ichibancha is sometimes called Shincha. Ichibancha is used more extensively than the later harvested Nibancha and Sanbancha. Shincha includes the meaning of “first picking of the year” (Hatsumono) and is also called “in-seaon” tea. In some tea-growing regions, there is also “Shutonbancha” picked in early fall, with no Sanbancha being picked.