Kamairicha (釜炒り茶) is a Japanese green tea that does not undergo the usual steam treatments of Japanese tea and does not have the characteristic bitter taste of most Japanese tea.
After a short withering, they are fired in hot iron pans of up to 300°C with repeated agitation to prevent charring. The different rolling techniques used produce teas of different leaf form. Kamairicha is processed as a pelleted or flat leaf.
Several southern regions are known for making fine Kamairicha. Sechibaru in Nagasaki Prefecture and Ureshino in Saga Prefecture are two of the most respected for their pan-fried manufacturing process.
Kamairicha is generally not available in the West, however a few specialist tea merchants are making this tea more well known.
This Kamairi process develops sweet, mildly roasted flavors, which are very similar to the pan-fried teas produced in China today. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Chinese green tea’ by the Japanese owing to the pan-frying processing of this richly flavored tea.