Up in the mountains of Takachiho, Mr. Issin is hard at work crafting his famous Kamairicha, a rare pan-fired green tea with a beautifully nutty note. Last April, we got a chance to sit down and have lunch with his family in their 200-year-old house. He drove us around the village to see breathtaking mountain tea fields in the countryside. We learned all about Kamairicha production, from the special organic fertilizer he grows, all the way to the pan-firing method that gives this tea its trademark flavor.
While most Japanese green teas are steamed, this tea is actually turned in a hot pan, similar to a Chinese green tea. As a result, the flavor picks up a little bit of this roasted caramel or nuttiness. The tea is quite dense and creamy, making it a perfect tea for the wintertime. You get this slightly roasted flavor, but nowhere near as intense as a hojicha. If you normally prefer Chinese teas but want to venture into the exciting world of Japanese green tea, this is the best choice for you. If you are looking for something slightly different from the grassy sencha teas, this is also a good way to add a little variety to your tea collection.