An unusual and "old-school" style of sencha, kamairicha is a personal favorite of the Mizuba team. Deep jade, loosely-twisted leaves create a classically refreshing, umami-filled cup — lovely sweetness with little astringency. Ours is produced in Kakegawa and grown at 500-800 meters; it is allowed a slight oxidation and then pan-roasted. In fact, kamairicha is directly translated as, "pan-fired tea." Kanpai!
What is Kamairicha?
A relatively rare tea, Kamairicha represents only about 2% of Japan's tea production. When tea culture was brought to Japan from China, tea leaves were processed by pan-firing tea leaves to halt oxidation. Nearly all tea leaves from Japan are steamed, but Kamairicha retains the old "Chinese style" of pan-firing, as well as a loose, twisted leaf (as opposed to the fine, needle roll in present-day sencha). This tea represents a hallmark of the historical progression of tea-making styles in Japan. While Chinese in style, the aroma and taste are very different than its Chinese counterpart. The prized umami flavor is present, but there is also a beautiful sweetness with far less astringency than a classic sencha or Chinese green tea. Quite a refreshing cup!
Aroma: Deep umami sweetness; honeydew melon, stone-fruit, papaya. As the water hits the tea a deep, savory toasted barley note appears.
Flavor: Sweet cream, cornsilk, & melon reveal themselves in the brew. This tea exhibits a silky body and mouthfeel with a rich flavor. The second steep will reveal much more vegetal, deep spinach tones and classic robust, brothy umami. A classic Japanese green tea!
Location: Kakegawa, at 500-800m above sea level.
Harvest Season: Nibancha (second harvest) which is preferred for the wilting process to allow for better aromas and flavor.
Cultivar: Koushun, a rare cultivar that only was introduced in the year 2000.
Process: Harvested leaves are allowed to wilt and slightly oxidize — rather than the usual steaming to halt oxidation. Then the leaves are dried (often by simply drying in the sun), and in a less-common step for Japanese teas, gently roasted to halt oxidation. The leaves are not rolled.
Amount: 7g (2tsp) Kamairicha
Water: 180ml (6oz) of 170ºF water. For the second steep, try brewing at 175º F.
Time: 1 minute for the first steep, up to 2 minutes second steep.
Food Pairing: We recommend a sweeter accompaniment to this tea. Try an almond cookie or tart.
Sold in either 50g or 100g bags. Store in a cool, dark location. Best consumed within 3 months.