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Kamairicha:  A Subtle, Sophisticated Green Tea

If you are looking to intrigue your palate and expand your tea experience, this tea is for you.

A subtle, sophisticated Japanese green tea

Kamairicha (Kamairi tea) is a very special green tea, with a remarkably smooth yet rich flavor. Kamairicha is rare even in Japan, and more so in the west. Kamairicha accounts for only about 2% of all Japanese tea production. 

Kamairicha is highly rich in natural antioxidants, as it does not undergo the usual steam treatment of green teas.  After a short withering, the leaves are gently roasted in iron pans with repeated agitation to prevent charring.  This is the process which gives Kamairicha its uniquely subtle, rich flavor.

Pan Firing, a Traditional Technique

"Kamairi" in Japanese literally means "pan firing", or "roasting in a pan". The process is an intensely manual, and as a result production is only done on a small scale. The characteristic aroma of tea is strongly preserved in the final product, due to the traditional techniques developed over centuries. 

To make Kamairi green tea, fresh leaves are parched at 300 °C in a process called "Iriha-ki"Fresh tea leaves are immediately parched after harvesting for ten minutes at 300 degrees C, using a Japanese process called "Iriha-ki", to minimize and stop fermentation. Parched leaves are rolled and dried in a four step, intensely manual process. This time-tested Japanese technique yields a unique pan-parched fragrance, with a remarkably complex and rich taste.

Kamairicha Tea Profile

Color ……………… Yellow green
Flavor Notes …..  Medium light, moderately sharp and distinct, slightly roasted
Brew Temp ………  Simmering (not boiling) water.  About 70-77 °C  (160-170 °F)
Brew Time ……….  2 minutes
How Much Tea….. 1 teaspoon per cup (about 2-3 grams per 120 ml)

How to Brew 

High quality Kamairi teas yield their maximum flavor when brewed at temperatures much lower than boiling, and for less time than other teas. Brew it in water that is too hot or for too long, and the tea will end up tasting bitter.

• Use good water, and a non-reactive kettle.
• Brew with simmering water.
• Do not brew for too long. About 2 minutes will do.
• Do NOT stir, shake or mix the tea while brewing.

how-to-brew-a-perfect-cup-of-sencha-and-kamairicha1 - Add Tea to Teapot

Add tea leaves to the empty teapot. One teaspoonful per cup is sufficient. However, you may adjust the amount depending on your own taste.

2 - Add Near Boiling Water to Cups

Pour hot water from kettle into each cup. Let the water cool down a bit in each cup for about 2 minutes. 

3 - Pour Water from Cups into Teapot

Close the lid of the teapot. Let the tea brew for about 2 minutes. You may adjust the time for what suits your palate best. DO NOT stir, shake or mix the tea while brewing.

4 - Serve and Enjoy!

Pour small amounts of tea into each cup at a time, and go around until the very last drop is poured. Japanese firmly believe that the last drop of tea determines its taste as a whole! 

You can add hot water again to the teapot for a second, or even a third brewing.

About Water Quality

If your tap water tastes bad, then so probably will your tea, regardless of its quality!

You should use fresh, good quality water without a lot of minerals (but not distilled water) to get the best flavor out of your tea. If using tap water, let it run cold for at least 10 seconds before using it.

Using a Non-reactive Kettle

Japanese green teas (and indeed all teas,) should be prepared in kettles made from a material that is as non-reactive as possible. The material your kettle is made of can chemically react with water, and cause contamination.  

Aluminum kettles should definitely to be avoided. Aluminum is a reactive material which has been proven to cause toxic contamination. Glass, ceramic, stainless steel, enamel, marble or cast iron are excellent non-reactive, non-toxic materials.

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