Come early May, I always pay a visit to the website of the Kyoto-based tea company Ippodo, hoping to secure the most ephemeral green tea of late spring: shincha. This aromatic tea is made with just-sprouted leaves that, if left to mature, would grow up to become sencha, one of Japan's most ubiquitous tea varieties. The coveted young leaves, only available within a few months of harvest, go straight from being picked to being packed—no refrigeration. They yield a brew just as sweet and viscous as one made with mature leaves but with a delicate astringency that speaks to the tea's freshness and a sunny perfume that heralds the warmth of summer.
Schincha Tea, from $10.44 at Ippodo Tea Company
Peter Weltman is a New York City-based sommelier.