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Ultimate Guide to Kamairi-Cha (2021)

Everything you need to know about this extremely rate type of Japanese Tea. It might taste familiar!

This article was last modified November 23rd, 2021. by Yuki

Leaves of a Kamairi-cha

Here's a rare type of Japanese tea with a characteristic scent - produced from a very different manufacturing method. You might recongize a similar scent from a different tea!

Here, you'll learn everything you need to know about Kamairi-cha.

What is Kamairi-cha?

Here's a rare type of Japanese tea with a characteristic scent - produced from a very different manufacturing method.
While most other Japanese green tea leaves such as Sencha or Gyokuro will be steamed right after harvesting, Kamairi-cha does not. Instead, it is roasted to stop the oxidation of the leaves.
The end product is a light-tasting green tea with a great refreshing aroma, almost like a hybrid between Chinese tea and Japanese tea.
The term "Kama" means Kettle in Japanese. "Iru" is a verb for roasting. Kamairi-cha means "Roasted in a Kettle", and that is exactly how it's manufactured. It is a methodology that relies on manual work and patience. Therefore, the production levels of this tea are extremely low.
As the green tea leaves are roasted and stirred in the kettle, they will form a round, curly shape - like the shape of a bean or a comma. This distinct shape is also one of the characteristics of this tea.
The water color of this tea is a little distinct as well. While Sencha tends to be a yellow-green, and a Fukamushi-Sencha tends to be more of a darkere green, the Kamairi-cha water color develops a golden brownish tint.
Kamairi-cha tends to be a little bit more expensive due to the low production levels, but the gentle taste and usage is intended to be a "daily use" green tea.
Let's jump into the details of Kamairi-cha.

The Taste of the Kamairi-cha

Spoon of kamairi-cha
The aroma
The biggest characteristic of this tea is the great aroma that is produced from the roasting of the tea leaves.
This signature aroma produced from the roasting, called "Kama-ka" or sometimes "Kama-kou" is highly defined.
In fact, it may smell very similar to the aroma of the Longjing Dragon Well Chinese Green tea! After all, although the leaves don't look similar at all, there are many similarities in the production method. It makes sense that it has a similar scent.
As compared to a Longjing Dragon Well Chinese green tea, I would say it blends those aromatic notes with the characteristics of a Sencha - which brings us to the next topic. The taste.
The taste 
The taste is extremely light and refreshing. It does not have the type of body in the taste that normal Japanese green tea may have, but will still have much more than a Longjing Dragon well Chinese green tea.
Because it is roasted, it reduces the catechin levels - and hence the astringency of the tea. Although the Theanine levels decrease slightly, it still maintains the umami and perhaps easier to experience this portion of the taste.

The Health Benefits

The nutrients of Kamairi-cha are very similar to that of other green tea.
Due to the roasting, the levels of catechin may be slightly lower than Sencha, but the health benefits will be generally the same.
You can read in detail about the health benefits of Japanese green tea here.

The curly leaves of kamairi-cha

Other Names and Related Names


Kamairi-cha is also called Kamairisei-Tamaryokucha. "Tama" means ball or round in Japanese. Therefore, "Tamaryokucha" directly translates to "Ball shaped green tea.
There is another type of Japanese green tea - the Mushisei-Tamaryokucha - where the leaves are also rounded. However, the Mushisei-Tamaryokucha is made by steaming the leaves instead of roasting to stop the oxidation.
To reduce the confusion between Mushisei-Tamaryokucha, the Kamairi-cha will add the words "Kamairisei" to indicate that is made by roasting.


Kamaguri-cha is another name for the Kamairi-cha. "Guri" is an onomatopoeia of the green tea leaves being curved into the round shape. Depending on the areas, this name is more commonly used.


Kamanobi-cha is also a type of Japanese green tea that is made in a kettle. Similar to Kamariri-cha, Kamanobi-cha also is roasted instead of steamed. However, unlike Kamairi-cha, it goes through the process of organizing and shaping the leaves. This is usually conducted to prepare the teas for better extraction, and for better presentation.

How best to prepare Kamairi-cha?

Normal-grade Kamairi-cha High-grade Kamairi-cha


2 servings

2 servings

Water (ml)

200 ml

200 ml

Leaves (g)



Leaves (roughly in teaspoons)

3 tsp

3 tsp

Temperature (Celsius)



Brewing time (Seconds)

90 seconds

90 seconds

Chart: Kamairi-cha Brewing Instructions

water temperature

water hardness

  • Soft water with hardness of between 30 to 80 is said to be the best for extracting the taste and aroma of green tea. The tap water in Singapore is "moderately soft", which makes it perfect for Japanese Tea.

How is it made? (Manufacturing Method)

The manufacturing process of the Kamairi-cha is quite different from other forms of Japanese green tea.
The sencha, bancha or most other types of green tea will go through what is called the standard "Aracha" or crude tea manufacturing method. This method consists of 3 general steps.

3 steps of the Aracha (Crude Tea) Method

  1. Steaming the leaves to stop oxidation
  2. Shape the leaves for better extraction and presentation
  3. Drying the leaves for storage

The Kamairi-cha has 2 significant differences.

Firstly, it will roast the leaves to stop oxidation. It is roasted at high temperatures of between 350 and 400 degrees Celsius. Secondly, it does not go through the "shaping" process. Therefore, the steps to manufacture Kamairi-cha will look like this.

3 steps for Kamairi-cha

  1. Roasting the leaves in a kettle to stop oxidation
  2. Continue to stir in the kettle to reduce humidity and round the leaves
  3. Final drying under the sun for storage

There is also the Ureshino-sei and the Aoyanagi-sei, depending on the slight differences of the tilt of the kettle during the roasting.


This is a type of Kamairi-cha where the kettle is tilted 45 degrees during the roasting. The more the tilt, the rounded the leaves will become.


This is a type of Kamairi-cha where the kettle is not tilted during the roasting.


Kamairicha is mainly produced in the Kyushu area of Japan. They are more common in areas such as the Saga, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, and Kumamoto prefectures. It is sometimes produced in the Shizuoka and Kouchi prefectures as well.


Kamairi-cha originates from when the green tea was imported to Japan from China early in the 16th century.
In China, the roasting method of oxidation is more common and actually the steaming used to be a rarity. It is said that this "roasting" method was first introduced to Japan at Ureshino. This is the origin of Kamairi-cha.
From there, Japanese tea has evolved and diversified into the many different forms we currently have.


If Kamairi-cha is roasted, would it be the same as Houjicha which is also roasted?

The Houjicha and Kamairi-cha are two very different teas. You can tell by the color of the leaves that they are extremely different.

Kamairi-cha Tea Leaves

Kamairi-cha leaves

Houjicha Tea leaves

Houjicha leaves

The difference is the timing of the roasting. The Kamairi-cha is roasted on a pan right after harvesting, in order to stop the oxidation of the tea leaves. You can say the roasting takes place as the first step.

On the other hand, a Houjicha is a tea that takes tea leaves which have already been steamed in order to stop the oxidation. From there, they roast it again, turing the leaves into a brownish color.

Author Yuki


Yuki is the Editor-in-Chief AND Community Manager at Tealife. He bleeds Japanese Tea and loves being a part of the Japanese Tea journey of others. Writes, does events, conducts tasting sessions, drinks, drinks and drinks tea! Easily accessible - hit him up on whatsapp (+65) 85882980.