Kumamoto Prefecture, on the Island of Kyûshû, may not be very well known, but it is the fifth largest tea-producing area in Japan, and the premier producer of Kama-iri cha, that rare type of Japanese green tea for which oxydation is halted not by steaming, but using the Chinese method.
In the mountains of Ashikita, Mr. Kajihara meticulously produces a Kama-iri cha using neither chemical pesticides nor fertilizers, taking care to preserve the beautiful environment where his tea plants grow.
In addition to the classical Yabukita, he grows the Oku-yutaka cultivar, and bushes known as “zairai-shu”, in other words, botanical varieties, which means they are not cultivars but plants that come from seeds and that are in consequence quite different.
The fragrance is spellbinding, difficult to define. It has something of peat, a very raw sweetness, rustic and natural.
Along this line, in the mouth, there is absolutely no astringency, a very airy mellowness, which certainly recalls nature; it is earthy, with touches of peat, the aroma of cooked vegetables, slightly floral flavours, and a mineral texture.
This green tea is very refreshing, and has extremely good length and a powerful aftertaste.
Quantity of leaves*: 4 g / 1.3 tsp
Quantity of water: 70 ml / 1/4 cup
Water temperature: 80°C / 176°F
Steeping time: 60 seconds