There is a wide variety of green teas available for consumers. While some of them are quite famous in certain circles, those who do not drink a lot of green tea tend to overlook them or even view all green tea as simply green tea.
One of these teas, known as Kamairicha tea, is on the rarer side. It’s not one you might commonly come across in your local grocery store, so let’s take a closer look at it!
What is Kamairicha Tea?
Kamairicha tea is a green tea from Japan, which translates to pan fried tea. One thing that makes this unique as far as Japanese tea goes is that most Japanese green teas are steamed, not pan fried. Pan frying tea is traditional with Chinese green tea.
There are two different types of Kamairicha: kamaira tamaryokucha and kamanobicha.
Kamaira tamaryokucha, or pan fried ball green tea, is sometimes called kamaguri. After processing the leaves have curly ends.
Kamanobicha, or pan stretched tea, is prepared in almost the same way but during the end steps the tea leaves are shaped into little needles.
It isn’t uncommon to hear both forms simply referred to as kamairicha, but you can differentiate them by looking at their leaves.
How did this technique come to Japan?
As I mentioned before, pan frying tea is not a common technique used in Japan. Steaming tea is how Japanese green teas are typically prepared. In fact, only about 5% of Japanese tea is prepared by pan frying tea leaves.
The technique of pan frying tea originated in China and is still commonly used there. Tea was first introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks from Japan who had traveled to China. When they returned to Japan they brought tea seeds with them along with the methods to prepare it that the monks learned in China.
Initially, green tea was seen as a drink for the upper classes. But as time went on, since tea was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks, green tea became more of a religious drink. The monks also believed that the tea had healing powers.
What does Kamairicha Tea taste like?
Kamairicha tea has an interesting, unique flavor profile. It is savory with a moderately sharp flavor. It also has a slightly roasty flavor to it from how the tea is initially processed.
Not only does processing affect the tea’s flavor, but the brewing process and anything you might add also affect the tea’s flavor.
How is Kamairicha Tea Brewed?
The brewing process for Kamairicha is relatively simple. To get the best results, there are certain guidelines you will want to follow, but otherwise, there are no complicated devices or techniques involved in the brewing process.
Kamairicha tea leaves are added directly to your teapot, then hot water is added to the pot. The tea is allowed to steep for just one minute, then you pour the tea from the pot until there is no water left.
The leaves are pretty sturdy, you can add hot water to the pot two to three more times with the same tea leaves and still get a good cup of tea from them.
For every 60 ml of hot water, it is suggested that you use one teaspoon of Kamairicha leaves. This is just a suggestion as different manufacturers may recommend using different amounts of tea leaves.
There is no need to stir the tea in the teapot or stir it, simply add the leaves and hot water and let them steep.
Is there a way to make Kamairicha Tea taste better?
Kamairicha, and green tea in general, is typically not complicated to make. You don’t usually need any special tools or devices, and the tea itself is easy to handle. As it is with most basic recipes, the more attention you pay to the base aspects and ingredients, the better it will be.
The time spent brewing is one simple thing you can maintain control over to brew the perfect cup of tea. If you allow your tea to brew for too little time, it will make a weak, watery cup of tea.
However, if you allow your tea to brew for too long, it will be bitter and unpleasant. For Kamairicha tea, a brew time of just one minute is ideal.
Water temperature plays an extremely important role in brewing your tea as well. For Kamairicha tea, you want to use water heated to 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reason for this is that caffeine and other bitter components of tea are extracted more quickly at higher temperatures. There are some green teas that are more forgiving of higher temperatures, but Kamairicha is not one of them.
Green tea’s like Kamairicha are a little more complicated when it comes to what you can add to them. I love adding lemon to my teas, but lemon and other citruses do not mix well with green teas at all. They interfere too much with the natural flavors of green tea.
Sweeteners like cinnamon are also not recommended for green tea. Plant-based milk like oat milk work a little better with Kamairicha tea. They have a neutral flavor that adds a little sweetness without taking away from the natural flavors of the tea.
One last thing you can do is cold brew your Kamairicha. If you keep in mind that overheated water can make your tea too bitter, then you can see what direction this is going in. Brewing your Kamairicha with cold water will drastically decrease how bitter your tea comes out. The only drawback is that it will take one to three hours to brew.
Kamairicha tea is a traditional Japanese green tea. It is not prepared the same way as other Japanese teas are prepared today, and is a remnant of green tea as it was first introduced to Japan. This tea has a unique, savory flavor that you won’t find in many other teas.
Sadly, this tea is incredibly rare to find in Western countries. If you’re able to get your hands on a cup, don’t pass up the opportunity!
- JAPANESE GREEN TEA ORGANIC CERTIFIED: Green tea Japanese organic certified and only 1st harvest leaves are used. Enjoy the healthy and safe organic green tea from Japan.
- PAN FIRED JAPAN GREEN TEA: Rare, scarce Japanese loose leaf tea pan-fired to inactivate enzume. The tea-making was introduced by China before the Japanese steamed method was developed. (Matcha, gyokuro, sencha green tea
- PAN PARCHED FLAVOR: Unique savory, clean taste. We call it 'kamaka'(pan parched flavor). Compared to sencha tea, roasting makes the taste less bitter and gives you a refreshing aftertaste. Single Yabukita cultivar enhances the refreshing tastes.
- AWARD-WINNING TEA FARMER: Made by the organic Japanese green tea farm who received multiple awards in Japan and Europe with kamairicha tea. This kamairicha loose leaf green tea is the highest grade of their loose leaf Japanese green tea.
- BREWING GUIDE: The pan-fired process made the surface of the tea green tea leaves harder and tighter than steamed Japanese green teas such as loose leaf sencha. When brewing your tea, please use a little hotter water and wait a little longer.
*Feature image from Difference engine, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons