Shincha, the Japanese tea from the first harvest of the year, has a very fresh aroma.
This fragrance that reminds us of spring isn’t found in teas from later harvests.
Where does this smell come from?
The main compound is leaf alcohol: cis-3-Hexen-1-ol, which was discovered by Takei Sankichi from Kyoto University.
Its chemical formula is C6H12O.
It can be described as a vegetal, green aroma, similar to fresh cut grass.
The related compound leaf aldehyde, cis-3-Hexenal (C6H10O), has an even stronger smell but it is much more unstable.
Both of these are used in the perfume industry.
According to what I read online in Japanese, linalool (C10H18O) is another important component in this fresh quality of shincha.
Why it’s better to drink shincha as soon as you buy it
Leaf alcohol in green tea is so delicate that it will degrade even if the tea package hasn’t been opened.
Of course, once you open the package it will degrade at a faster rate.
So the advise is to drink it daily as soon as you can. As time passes you won’t be able to fully enjoy the refreshing aroma of shincha.
Actually you should do the same for any Japanese green tea.
The fresher the better.