This is the sister tea to the Tamaryokucha, grown in Ureshino. Both these teas are shade grown and harvested in the spring, when the leaves are still young and approximately 1/2"-3.4" long. The difference lies in the processing. While the Tamaryokucha is steamed, typical of Japanese senchas, the Kamairicha is pan-fired in a large wok, similar to certain Chinese teas. This method was adopted from mainland China in an area just north of Nagasaki, which is known for it's melting pot of international cultures.
The result of processing this robust Japanese tea with traditional Chinese methods is a completely unique experience. The aroma is both sweet and vegetal with notes of hazelnut and soft to. The mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied has just enough viscosity to linger long past the tea is gone. Steeping to a soft yellow-green, the soup is both bright and grounding. The vegetal depth and umami characteristics balance perfectly with the warming toasty notes the pan-firing imparts.
This tea is made by a third generation tea producer and only a limited quantity is available this year.
Harvest: Spring 2020
Origin: Saga, Japan
For all of you Japanese green tea lovers I am so happy to finally offer this tea! This is a tea I was first introduced to a few years ago while visiting Kagoshima in October. Not only are the brothers who make this tea crafting extraordinary teas, they are also avid motorcycle enthusiasts, so we have a lot in common.
This is an award winning tea that is unusual in that it is harvested as a shincha in the spring, but not finished until the fall. The leaves are harvested from first flush Saemidori cultivars and roughly processed in April. They are then stored under refrigeration until October, where they are brought back out and undergo another round of heating and sorting. This resting period allows the tea to soften some of the tannins and also develop a deeper flavor.
The aroma of the dry leaf is intoxicating and refreshing. Steeped, the tea slides into your mouth coating it with a rich, brothy soup that intensifies as it reaches your throat. The flavor notes fill the spectrum between earthy and astringent without touching either. A thick umami lays the base with tones of kombu and a soft hint of sea mist. The flavor lingers and cools the palate and throat with each breath.
This tea can be steeped 4-5 times. The second and third steeps should only be 10 seconds, and after that can go up to 30 seconds. After steeping 5 times you can pour dashi or soy sauce on the leaves and eat them
Origin: Kagoshima, Japan
This highly unusual tea is plucked from Ai Lao Mountain in Pu-er. The family who tends to these plants operates a small organic farm and grow mostly Taiwanese cultivars. This tea is exclusively from the Ruanzhi (or Soft Branch) bushes, which are native to Taiwan and grown for making oolongs.
The leaves are hand picked in the spring from 30 year old plants growing in rich, mountain soil and processed as a Yunnan green tea. The result is guaranteed to intrigue even the most well-versed tea lover, while remaining accessible to newcomers.
The leaves are sweet with a magnolia blossom aroma, full body and silky mouth feel, notes of buttered asparagus with a lingering toasty finish. Good for many steeps, this tea is quickly growing in popularity.
Origin: Pu'er, Yunnan
Grown at the base of the Huangshan Mountains, this is an authentic Taiping, picked and processed completely by hand in Houkeng. The long leaves of the Shi Da Cha plants are unique in that they can grow to be quite large while still remaining soft and pliable. Once the leaves are plucked and withered they are pressed flat between two layers of canvas and baked into their final form. When steeped, the result is a smooth and clear soup with very little bitterness and notes of fresh cut grass, asparagus and a lingering hint of sweetness. This tea is very forgiving and can be steeped a variety of styles, without the worry of bringing out unfavorable characteristics. My personal favorite way to drink this tea is "grandpa style", leaving the leaves in a tall glass in hot water and drinking it slowly. This way, the tea is soft and delicate at the beginning and gradually develops more body and vegetal undertones. Re-steeping is encouraged.
Region: Huangshan, China