Kama-iri cha from Gokase, Minami-Sayaka and Mine-Kaori

I continue to highlight the kama-iri cha, minor and little-known genre of Japanese tea, green tea whose oxidation is stopped by the Chinese method and not by steaming. There is very few production which is concentrated in Kyushu (mainly the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kumamoto), but there are still some variety, with some dedicated cultivars, many having been developed in Miyazaki.

Today I present two kama-iri cha by Miyazaki Akira (yes, Mr. Miyazaki from Miyazaki!), a renowned grower, who is working organic farming in Gokase (which is along with Takachiho the kama-iri cha Mecca). I do not know how many cultivar he is growing, but there are a dozen I think. Furthermore, he also produces black teas, Baozhong types and even more experimental, white teas. But its original specialty is the real Japanese kama-iri cha. So here are two which seemed to me particularly interesting, a Minami Sayaka cultivar, my readers and Thés du Japon users are familiar with, and Mine Kaori cultivar.

Both are varieties developed in Miyazaki. Minami Sayaka cultivar is classified as sencha cultivar, but nevertheless seems to work wonders in all genres, from black to green. Kaori Mine however is a kama-iri cha cultivar.
Both tea leaves look quite different, but both of them has a little green white typical of kama-iri cha. Kaori mine (on the right) looks more skillfully rolled. Sayaka Minami leaves have a frank and simple scent, but clearly fruity, in the field of yellow fruit, while that of Kaori Mine seems more complex mixing of fresh and floral scents and slightly fruity flavor somewhat reminiscent of lychee.

For Minami Sayaka, it can be good to slightly warm down water temperature, about 85 ° C.
There is in the brew grilled sweet potato flavors, some ripe fruit, something sweet and mineral too. The fruity appear more clearly after the tea has cooled a bit.
In the mouth the first attack is powerful, with a hint of bitterness at first in the case of an infusion of more than a minute. The aromas reflect the impressions of the nose, then in the after taste, gradually appears this creamy flavor with a taste of peach which seems to be typical Minami Sayaka cultivar characteristic.
P1180992 P1180995
The following infusions give a tea softer and velvety, more subtle, with an amazing touch of vanilla.

Compared to the Minami Sayaka from Takachiho I’ve presented so far, this one seems rougher, but has clearly this cultivar characteristics.

After a hot infusion, Mine Kaori has a remarkable typical flavors of kama-iri cha, warm scents of sweet potato and roasted chestnuts.
Here again, the attack is strong with a big presence in the mouth. In addition to the aromas of roasted chestnuts, there are also light floral notes.

P1180993P1180996The after is less wealth than Minami Sayaka, yet there are length, smooth and mellow aromas that grows as time passes.
This Mine Kaori gives a more typical, exemplary kama-iri cha.

Both of these teas find expression primarily in a direct manner through the nose, which is relativley rare for a Japanese tea. They nevertheless have a certain volume in the mouth, and are mostly very easy to drink teas, refreshing, persistent on the palate but in a subtle way, without too much insistence. The specific characteristics of the respective cultivars are very clear and simple to understand, so perfect for parallel tastings. In short, two excellent kama-iri cha, at very reasonable prices.

Categories: Reviews

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