oops ... thought I replied to this.
2017 was according to Kevin a "difficult year" for Sae Midori. But I simply adjusted time to a little to over a minute for the first steep ... and it was quite good. Different, but good. Perhaps a bit of a challenge to brew and a bit more astringent after the first steep.
2018, very good to excellent. Very easy brewer. No adjusting needed, comes out outstanding every time.
The first few sessions were wildly potent BUT at the same time rich and delicious.
"Aromatically", 2018 is perhaps the best SM I can recall. From the dry leaf to the brew, magical.
I noticed today, already, my bag that I opened immediately upon arrival has lost some of its "shincha luster" ... to be expected.
Glad I purchased 5 bags! I will be sharing this selection with sencha/shincha neophytes beginning tomorrow.