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Kama-iri cha from Tosa, "zairai"

Type of tea : kama-iri cha
Origin : Ogawa, Inochô town, Kôchi prefecture
Cultivar : cuttings from zairai (botanical varieties) tea plants
Harvest : 2016 May
Kama-iri cha from Tosa, "zairai"

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Tosa is the historical name of an area that now corresponds to Kôchi Prefecture on the Island of Shikoku. The Tosa Mountains are the cradle of Nivodo-gawa River, known for having kept its extreme purity.
This tea is grown organically on the slopes of these mountains, and harvested by hand. The plantation is unique: the tea trees were not grown from cuttings of specific cultivars, but of various half-wild “yama-cha” tea trees growing wild in the forests of the Tosa Mountains. Thus, it is not strictly speaking “zairai,” but it is not a cultivar either.
Once plucked, the fresh leaves are allowed to wilt overnight, and then roasted by hand. The technique is unusual in Japan: they are heated in a wok at 300°C (572°F) for approximately one minute. Two people work together to ensure uniform, complete “chaqing” (the stage when oxidation is halted) without toasting the fresh leaves. Only 6 kilos (13 lb) of fresh leaves can be processed at a time. The leaves are then rolled in a “junenki” style machine, and then dried and sorted.
The result of this unique work is a tea that is also unique, very different from usual Japanese kama-iri chas.
The fragrance of the leaves is sweet and mineral, but also recalls earth and evokes the deep forest.
Infusion brings out more floral scents, though the mineral tones remain present. It is a complez whole that cannot be found in any other Japanese tea. While remaining light, limpid and silky, the liquor has great strength. There is no astringency. The impression is rather of sweetness, although in the aftertaste there is an infinitesimal, delicate touch of umami that brings depth to the mellow, mineral taste, which remains long in the mouth.
This is a tea that can be infused many times, and can also be brewed in a wide variety of ways. The one suggested here is only an example.
From its origin to its flavours, not to mention the way it is made, this is a very unusual tea, but very rich. It allows us to relive the aromas and strength of the green teas of bygone days.

Brewing suggestion
  • Quantity of leaves: 3g / 1 tsp
  • Quantity of water : 70ml / 1/3 cup
  • Water temperature : 90°C / 194°F
  • Brewing time : 70s


Kama-iri cha from Tosa, "zairai"

USD $26.67  / 50g

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TEXT_REVIEW_TITLE    Average Rating:4 of 5 Stars! 4 (1 reviews)
TEXT_OF_5_STARS08/28/2017   by Michael
I have ordered this tea twice! My second batch was good! My first batch was something special. The a...

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