Today’s review will focus on the Organic Tezumi Teira Kamairicha Kanayamidori Green Tea from Yuuki-Cha. You may view this product at the Yuuki-Cha website by clicking here.
One of the few remaining artisan Kamairicha green teas produced in Japan, this product is processed completely by hand. The leaves of the Kanayamidori cultivar tea bushes are hand-picked (Tezumi), and hand roasted (Teira), unlike the majority of Japanese Kamairicha green teas which are now plucked and roasted/processed with the help of machines. The tea garden is located in the mountains of Gokase Town, at an altitude of about 600 meters (1,970 feet) above sea level. Gokase Town is in the Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan.
Kamairicha is a unique style of green tea in Japan. While other types of better known Japanese green teas such as sencha, gyokuro, and kabusecha are steamed in order to halt the enzymatic activity that causes oxidation, kamairicha teas are pan-fired, more similar to Chinese green teas. However, Kamairicha certainly holds it Japanese green tea qualities quite well, as we will see in the review below.
The sample packet has been opened, and the pan-firing gives this tea a completely different smell than other Japanese green teas. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a uniform dark, slightly faded forest green color. The leaves are mostly large fragments, and I expect to find a few unbroken leaves in the mix. There are no bare stems in the mix. There appears to be some young, fresh buds in the mix. The leaves are neatly hand-rolled, giving them a high quality appearance. The leaves appear to be quite young, as they are quite small. The leaves have a dry, rigid texture. The smell has scents of dry sweet grass, brown sugar, cherry blossom, and roses.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 minutes.
My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 175°F (80°C). Steep the leaves for 2:00 minutes. Expect three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves, increasing the steep time by 30 seconds on each subsequent infusion.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, welcoming greenish-yellow color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of steamed asparagus, cherry blossom, roses, grass, light cherry, very light brown sugar, and light sweet corn. The body is light-medium, with a pleasing umami quality, and a smooth, buttery, brothy texture. There is a considerable level of astringency. The taste has notes of fresh grass, steamed and buttered asparagus, cherry blossoms, roses, sweet corn, and lighter notes of cherries and nuts. The grassy, cherry blossom notes carry into the aftertaste, and leave a refreshingly sweet essence in the mouth.
The infused leaves have a uniform fresh bright forest green color. The leaves are mostly large fragments, with some unbroken leaves in the mix. There are no completely bare stems, and a few young buds in the mix. The leaves are quite small, with the largest unbroken leaf measuring just slightly over one inch (25 mm). The leaves have a soft, tender texture. The smell has scents of fresh cut grass, steamed asparagus, and lighter scents of roses and cherry blossoms.
The Organic Tezumi Terei Kamairicha Kanayamidori Green Tea from Yuuki-Cha is a perfect counterpart to the steamed green teas of Japan. If you overindulge in one type, the other type is there to provide the desired character. This artisan Japanese green tea has a refreshing character, with vegetal and floral aromas and tastes, and complete with a satisfying umami touch. The leaves provide consistent quality of aroma and taste through at least three to four infusions. Throw in the fact that this green tea is organically certified by the JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard), and I consider this product to be a keeper.