Instead of being steamed like modern sencha, kama-iri cha is pan-fried.
Very robust taste and feeling in the mouth balanced by a dewy sweetness with a touch of astringency. Cooling evergreen forest and fresh medicinal bittersweet herbs layered over a thin, shifting matrix of roasted chestnut and boiled spinach, almost like the forward medicinal character passes through a sheer curtain weaved of pan-fired and vegetal tastes, picking up bits of those flavors as the tea moves through the mouth. There is also a brightness to the tea that I want to liken to citrus but it is not that. Bitterness persists in the back of the mouth; it is not necessarily penetrating, but it is certainly there, giving greater conviction to medicinal notions. The aftertaste shifts from this nature into something floral and vaguely fruity, reminiscent of sakura blossoms. Clean minerality is in the background and becomes evident after the swallow, when the mouth begins to water.
Despite having drank this tea maybe 5 times now, I still find the character elusive. I always feel like I’m on the edge of understanding, which keeps me coming back for more :) It feels like a mountain person, a pine forest hermit strengthened but somewhat burled by nature and who remains under cloak while gathering herbs for a concoction to be simmered over a small fire, in a clearing illuminated by the sun.
It was about dang time to stir up my taste buds and perceptions by exploring Japanese teas, which never really jived with me before. I had been in a tea appreciation slump for a while (several months? half a year?) and these teas from Thés du Japon are doing wonders for me right now.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Evergreen, Ginger, Herbs, Lemon, Medicinal, Mineral, Peach, Pineapple, Sakura, Spinach, Sweet, Thick