Kamairi-cha (Pan Fired Tea)


The scent of Kamairi-cha


Manufacture

The greatest feature of Kamairi-cha (Pan Fired Tea) is its fragrance. By heating with an iron pan at 400 ° C(770 Fahrenheit (°F)), it is a fragrance that is generated by adding unique roast to tea leaves. It is a refreshing cool scent. Most Japanese green tea is steamed with steam, but Kamairi-cha has a scent called "The scent of Kamairi-cha (KAMAKA)" by flavoring with iron pan disappears the plant odor peculiar to tea leaves. Sencha which is famous in Japan has an elongated acicular shape. Kamairi-cha is characterized by having a shape like "Magatama"( Its curved comma-shaped beads of ancient Japan jewelry ). The Kamairi-cha method is not suitable for mass production. So,Sencha can be produced more efficiently than the Kamairicha method, so many areas in Japan that have traditionally been made by the Kamairicha method have switched to the Sencha method. In Japan today, there are very few Kamairicha that have been made using this ancient Japanese manufacturing method.



CRUDE TEA ( ARACHA )

CRUDE TEA ( ARACHA )

After harvesting the tea leaves, they are dried in a processing facility until they are ready for storage.  It is a process to dry the tea leaves to a moisture content of about 5% while applying heat or rolling them. ​"CRUDE TEA", this process is called "ARACHA" in Japan. Unrefined crude tea, unlike most other teas, contains all of the tea leaves, including leaf blades, leaf stems, broken leaf particles, and fine leaf hair.

Our tea factory does not make any tea other than our tea farms. This is to prevent the mixture of tea leaves other than the tea we cultivated with pride. It builds customer trust and is our belief in tea making.


"Freshly picked tea leaves"


Freshly picked tea leaves


Tea leaves in a state immediately picked. Freshly plucked leaves are still alive and breathing, so they generate heat. Therefore, in order to prevent quality deterioration of fresh leaves and maintain freshness, high humidity air is sent to retain water and reduce respiratory heat.

With the passage of time fermentation proceeds with the action of enzymes contained in tea leaves and black tea and oolong tea can be made. Japanese green tea is produced without fermentation.

 

"Roast fresh leaves (Iriha)"


Roast fresh leaves (Iriha)

The maximum surface temperature of an iron pan heated by an open fire is 400 ° C (770 Fahrenheit (° F)). While watching the state of the tea leaves, stir it repeatedly for about 2 to 3 minutes to prevent burning. Sounds like "crackling" from tea leaves. This process suppresses the function of the enzyme and stops the fermentation. This process creates a refreshing cool scent peculiar to Kamairi-cha. 

This first process is the biggest feature of Kamairi-cha. For this reason, we have been doing our own research for decades. In 2006, we developed our own machine. That's why we take pride in our tea being unique in the world.

 

"Rotary iron pot"


Rotary iron pot


In this process, tea leaves are heated over an open flame using a cylindrical iron pan. Oxidation of the tea leaves stops in the process of direct contact of the tea leaves with the inner surface of the hot drum. Ideally, the tea leaves should be finished just before the edges are slightly blackened and charred. By roasting the tea while rotating it, the water content of the whole tea is reduced and it becomes uniform. The surface temperature of tea is high and it is covered with humidity.

 

"Rolling"


Rolling


The only step in tea making without adding heat. Squeeze the moisture of the hard to dry part such as the core of tea leaves and make the whole moisture uniform.

 

"Middle rolling"


Middle rolling


Again, rolling the tea with adding heat. While rubbing the tea leaves, dry them thoroughly. In this process, a rounded magatama-shaped shape, which is said to be a characteristic of Kamairi-cha, is formed. When grabbing and releasing the leaves, dry the tea to the extent that it slowly unravels.

 

"Medium heat drying"


Medium heat drying


It is a machine that conducts heat to the tea leaves that come into direct contact with the inner surface of the drum by heating the tea leaves with a direct flame using a cylindrical iron pan. Once again, the tea leaves come into direct contact with the heating body to create the "The scent of Kamairi-cha (KAMAKA)" that is unique to Kamairi-cha. It creates a shape peculiar to Kamairi-cha and gives the tea leaves a firmness, making it a product with a shape, luster, and flavor.
This process is usually unsuitable for mass production. Therefore, although there are differences depending on the tea producer, there is a tendency to omit this step. However, we have solved the problem by developing our own mechanism to connect the two machines up and down. As a result, we succeeded in maximizing the characteristics of Kamairi-cha.

 

"Forming"


Drying


The drying machine is almost the same as the appearance of middle rolling machine but its function is only to promote the drying of tea leaves with hot air. The water content of the tea leaves is sequentially removed to bring the product into a desired dry state. The friction of the tea leaves against each other and the pressure of the weight of the tea itself will eventually result in a round, twisted " Magatama"(a type of jewelry in ancient times in Japan). 

 

"Drying"


Drying


In order to stabilize the quality and prolong the life of the tea, the water content of the tea is dried by hot air drying so that it is reduced to about 5%. When this process is completed, the primary processing of tea is completed. The tea made so far is called "Aracha". From "Roast fresh leaves (Iriha)" to "Drying", it took about 5 hours to complete "Aracha". Green tea will be completed up to "Aracha" on the day it is picked in the field.



Finishing the Tea

Finishing the Tea

The finishing process is "Align, Separating, Soating, Roasting, Blending" of tea leaves.
The finishing process involves sieving,  re-roasting to dry, and blending multiple teas.  As with making "Aracha", the five senses of the tea master become a more delicate sensor than a computer, maximizing the characteristics of tea.  "Aracha" is made only during the season when tea leaves are picked, but consumers can get "usual tea" throughout the year. "Aracha" is stored in a large tea warehouse, and the temperature is strictly controlled to maintain its deliciousness and freshness. This is taken out as needed and finished. It plays a role in filling this temporal and spatial gap well and expanding the appeal of tea as a luxury item.


"Align (Sieve process)"


Finishing tea (Sieve process)

At first, Align tea leaves with size. Using a sieve to align the size of the tea.  Leaves are sorted by size using a flat sieve. The small pieces fall through leaving the larger pieces left-over. The larger pieces are then sent to a cutting machine. 

 

"Separating (winnower process)"


Finishing tea (winnower process)


Next, the tea leaves are sorted by weight. Tea is divided according to weight by the power of wind. Depending on the wind pressure, tea leaf fragments fall into different categories. For example, the stems and leaves are separated so they can be used to make different kinds of tea.

 

"Soating (Color sorting process)"


Finishing tea (Color sorting process)


Finally, Align tea leaves with color. Depending on the color, tea leaf fragments fall into two categories. Tea sort out stems and leaves by color. By sorting by the color of the tea leaves, the mass of the tea leaves can be made uniform. By doing so, In the final "roasting", the tea leaves are heated evenly. It greatly affects the quality of the tea you usually drink.

 

"Roasting"


Roasting


"Roasting" is performed to dry rough tea to improve its storability and to generate a unique aroma called "Roasting aroma" to improve the flavor.  It's the same as roasting coffee. The tea leaves are heated by direct fire, hot air, far infrared rays, microwaves, etc. "Roasting" not only changes the temperature and time depending on the type of tea, but also adjusts according to the season, the temperature and humidity of the day.

 

"Blending"


Blending


"Blending" is a process that makes the best use of the characteristics of finished tea and adjusts it to suit the taste and price of consumers.

In the case of large-scale production, all the tea leaves are blended at the tea-making stage, but because we are small-scale production, it is possible to make tea for each tea farm. The soil environment and growing conditions differ for each tea farm. We produce varieties suitable for the land by the production method suitable for the land, so the individuality naturally comes out. When blending tea, it is necessary to understand the taste characteristics of individual teas. The main purpose of the blend is to redesign the taste by combining different flavors of tea.