Ito En North America Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., a subsidiary of Ito En Ltd., will debut bottled Shincha green tea in the United States. Shincha is the year’s very first harvest of green tea, which is known for its fresh and lively flavor, sweet finish, and smooth umami character, the company says. The company plans to bottle the tea, which is only accessible for a few months each year, under its Oi Ocha green tea brand and release it online and at select U.S. retailers for a limited time.

In Japanese, "shin" means new, and "cha" means tea, the company notes. Shincha's character derives from its harvest starting in early April, when young green tea leaves contain naturally higher concentrations of nutrients and vibrant flavors as a result of wintertime dormancy, it explains. Fresh Shincha leaves are distinct from latter-harvested green teas, with a subtle sweetness attributed to its higher content of the amino acid L-theanine and lower caffeine content, it adds. The leaves also are higher in vitamin C and catechin antioxidants than regular green tea, it says.

"Americans' evolved palates are appreciating the flavor nuances among green teas, making this the optimal time to introduce Shincha in a modern and convenient way," said Rona Tison, senior vice president of corporate relations for Ito En North America Inc., in a statement. "Authentically brewed and bottled to preserve the young green tea's essence, Oi Ocha's Shincha is an experience like no other."

Oi Ocha's Shincha is available in 16.9-ounce, BPA-free, recyclable bottles at select retailers and at in limited quantities.