Following the previously mentioned competition grade Gyokuro, here is one more tea that competed at the All National Tea Competition of Japan, this time even getting the third prize with 185 points out of 200. Picked in Kamimashigun, Kumamoto, it was imported to Europe by Teamountain and sold in Slovakia by Nomad.sk, from which I got my bag quite a while ago, though I hadn't had enough time to talk about it back then.
As the name suggests, it is a traditional, pan-roasted (kamairi) tea from Ichibancha, the first picking and most likely the Yabukita cultivar.
Packed in a design typical for most higher-grade Teamountain offerings, these are some beautiful, uniform and curly leaves with dark-green shine.
Their smell is typically sweet and creamy, though there is one thing distinguishing it from most Kamairi teas – it's less nutty and caramel-like than the majority of these teas, instead taking on a more vegetal, “lighter” side of aroma.
The first infusion is faithful to this smell – light-yellow in color and transparent (though getting a bit opaque as it cools down), its taste is somewhat drier and lighter than what I'm used to. Even so, most typical Kamairicha tones are vivid – almonds, hazelnuts, creamy sweetness and noble softness with significant amount of umami. The taste is pleasantly refreshing, not too juicy and fruity, but very pure and complex – same goes for aftertaste, which is light, but intense enough to remain in mouth for a long time.
The second infusion is poured down immediately, with the resulting brew being yellow, more aromatic and with fruitier taste – reminded me of honeydew melon and blackberries. This brew is a bit heavier than the previous, though still quite sweet and nutty. Its aftertaste is also less light and significantly more mouthfilling, dominated by fruity notes and slight sharpness.
The following infusion is the greenest of all in terms of color; its taste is now much nuttier, being very reminiscent of hazelnuts and almonds. The previously strong fruity tones are now weakened; this brew fully shows the drier side of this tea's character. Still it doesn't show any unpleasant tones and remains very complex and pure – same goes for the aftertaste, which is shorter and warmer than before.
One more brew is made of these leaves; yellow and transparent, quite woody, simple and refreshing with just medium-long aftertaste.