October 2023 - Tamaryokucha from Aso

This month we've selected a Tamaryokucha (玉緑茶) produced near the volcano Aso (阿蘇山) in the prefecture of Kumamoto (熊本).



Tamaryokucha (玉緑茶), often referred to as "coiled green tea" or "curly green tea," is a Japanese tea with a rich history dating back to the 18th century. This unique tea stands out not only for its distinct shape but also for its exceptional flavor profile.

The origins of Tamaryokucha can be traced to the Tosa region of Japan, where it was initially known as "Kamairicha." Unlike traditional Japanese teas, Tamaryokucha is not steamed but pan-fried, which gives it its distinctive appearance. The leaves are gently rolled into irregularly coiled shapes, resembling small snail shells.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), Tamaryokucha gained popularity for its refreshing taste and intriguing appearance. Its lightly grassy and mildly nutty flavor made it a favorite among tea enthusiasts. Over time, production spread to various regions in Japan, each adding its own unique twist to the tea.

Today, Tamaryokucha has gained recognition beyond Japan's borders, captivating tea connoisseurs worldwide. Its unconventional appearance and diverse flavor profiles continue to make it a fascinating and sought-after green tea variety.

Mount Aso
Mount Aso


Aso, located in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, is one of the world's largest volcanic calderas, with a history dating back thousands of years. Its central feature, Mount Aso, is an active volcano with a complex geological past.

The history of Aso is marked by numerous eruptions and geological transformations. Records of its volcanic activity date back to the 7th century, with some eruptions having had significant historical and environmental impacts on the region.

One of the notable characteristics of Aso is its constantly changing appearance due to eruptions and collapses of volcanic cones within the caldera. Aso's volcanic activity has also shaped the surrounding landscape, resulting in lush green valleys, hot springs, and unique geological formations.

Today, Aso remains a dynamic and active geological wonder, attracting tourists and scientists alike who come to witness its breathtaking scenery and study its volcanic activity. While eruptions have occasionally disrupted local life, Aso continues to be a source of fascination and study, offering insights into the Earth's geological processes.

Residents near Aso cherish their pristine water, boasting its remarkable resemblance to France's Volvic mineral water — a source of local pride.


Preparing Tamaryokucha

The quantity of tea should be adapted to the desired taste: about 10 grams of Tamaryokucha for 180mL (6oz) of spring water. The infusion should last 30 seconds in water at 80ºC (180ºF). The 2nd infusion should be slightly shorter and hotter than the first, and the third infusion even shorter and hotter.

Enjoy your tea!