This post is overdue. I mean long overdue.
I intended to write about Kamairicha when I tried it for the first time last summer. I snapped photos and took notes, but one thing lead to another and the post was never finished.
Now it’s time to makes things right. Let’s talk Kamairicha. 🙂
What is Kamairicha/Tamaryokucha?
There are two terms we’re dealing with here: kamairicha, and tamaryokucha.
Tamaryokucha, sometimes called guricha, is a type of green tea that is curly or comma shaped. It can either be steamed like most Japanese green tea or pan fried. Kamairicha is a pan fried green tea that also typically exhibits the same comma shape.
It is my current understanding that kamairicha and pan fried tamaryokucha are the same thing, or at least indistinguishable in their common forms. If I’m wrong on this, expect an update when I’m better informed. 😉
This brings us to the tea we’re reviewing, Organic Kamairi Tamaryokucha from O-Cha.com.
Background on Kamairi Tamaryokucha
Kamairi Tamaryokucha is from the Miyazaki prefecture, which is in the south of Japan.
The leaves are a medium shade of green and emanate an aroma consisting of sweet, citrusy, and grassy scents.
If you measure your tea by sight, keep in mind that kamairicha has been pan fried. This means the leaves will likely have expanded more than a normal steamed green tea.
Kamairi Tamaryokucha is somewhat forgiving when brewed. I’ve found a good balance when using 4.6g/125ml, a temperature of 79C(175F), and brewing for 1:20.
A regular kyusu is an adequate brewing vessel, though you may wish to use a glazed Japanese teapot.
Thoughts and Observations
I told you I took the pictures in the summer, didn’t I? 😛 As you can see, the liquid is a transparent yellow-green.
There is a roasted flavour to this tea, but it may not be what you’d expect. It is noticeable, but it is more like a base for the flavour. On top of it is a clean, plant taste mixed with dried seaweed aspects. For an aftertaste, a mildly astringent honey-like sweetness is left on the tongue. Drinking this tea creates a certain feeling of warmth.
Kamairi Tamaryokucha yields many decent infusions with minimal astringency. Steep the second infusion for 20 seconds at the same temperature as the first, the third for 45 seconds 10 degrees hotter, and the fourth for 1:30 with water that is hotter still. For the fifth and beyond, use boiling water and brew for several minutes.
Kamairicha is an intriguing Japanese tea, and the fact that it is generally unavailable to the West only fans the flames of interest. I’ve found that O-Cha’s Organic Kamairi Tamaryokucha has satisfied my curiosity in a delightful way. Anyone who wants to discover what kamairicha is all about should look no further than this tea. 🙂