Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ikkyu Tomomi

Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf Appearance: jade green, curled
Steep time: 90 seconds
Water Temperature: 175 degrees
Preparation Method: kyusu
Liquor: bright yellowish green

When we think of Japanese green teas, we all probably get a similar mental picture: deep green leaves with a fine, needle-like shape. There are exceptions every rule though. Kamairicha is a traditional Japanese tea that is pan-fried rather than steamed during the "kill green" step. The process makes the tea smoother with a nuttier taste. This style of tea is a bit of a specialty for Kyushu tea farmers but it can still be quite hard to find, even within Japan.

This particular tea is a blend of the yabukita and kanaya midori cultivars. The taste was vegetal and brothy with just a subtle hint of umami. A nuttiness from the firing was present but it didn't dominate the flavor profile. There was hardly any bitterness and the finish had a lovely floral quality to it.

In the second infusion, a curiously refreshing minty note popped up that I did not notice in the first round. Organic certification is not necessarily something that guides my buying decisions but it is good to know that this tea is certified by JAS. It also very affordably priced, especially for those who are just starting out or that aren't familiar with pan fired Japanese teas.

This is the second tea that I've tried from Ikkyu and I have to say that I am impressed. Their teas are very high quality and I love the depth of information that they provide. Each of their offerings is accompanied by a beautiful info sheet that lists the exact location where it was grown, the name of the producer, and a tasting note chart. This is the kind of thoroughness and transparency that I often find missing in the tea marketplace, especially when it comes to Japanese teas.

Have you tried a kamairicha before? Let me know about it in the comments!

Tomomi sample provided for review by Ikku.