A handmade kamairicha, pan-fired like a Chinese tea so it is sweeter and less grassy than sencha teas which are steamed. This tea is made on a small 8 acre farm in Minamata-shi, Kumamoto Prefecture by Master Matsumoto, a 4th generation tea maker who is well known for continuing to use old tea trees (his trees are around 90 years old) and no pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers or even manure – hence the tea grows ‘supernaturally’. Only 30kg are made each year.
This is one of our favourite and most popular green teas, mainly due to it’s unusual toasted, cereal aroma and long fruity aftertaste. As well as being an interesting half-way house between Chinese and Japanese styles of tea production, its sweetness and lack of grassy flavours also make this appealing to oolong drinkers or people who don’t usually drink green tea at all.
Compared to other Japanese greens this is a very forgiving tea to brew and we would recommend using water that has been cooled to anywhere between 75-85°C and 3g of leaf per 150mls.
Master Matsumoto’s Tea Farm, Minamata-shi, Kumamoto, Japan
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Seed grown 90 year old Yabukita cultivar. Pan-fired. Harvested Spring 2019.
75-85°C, 3-4g per cup. 3 infusions.
Coming from Minamata where terrible mercury pollution in the sea killed or disabled thousands of local people, Master Matsumoto believes that chemical farming is not an option for him and his family. Where he has broken new ground is by his decision to use no fertiliser not even organic versions as he believes that all fertilisers attract insects to plants. His delicious teas have confounded critics and made the possibility of tea farming with no or low amounts of fertiliser look possible.
Master Matsumoto studied tea agriculture in Makinohara but even then he was convinced tea could be grown without any additions. He also believes weeds have a vital role to play in improving the soil’s balance. His unusual traditional teas like his Kamairicha which he designed his own machine to fire, as well as innovations like this black tea which is different from the many other black teas coming out of Japan at the moment, have made him a leader of a small but significant tea movement.