Incredible Passion & Dedication


Isshin En is a small tea plantation nestled in the mountains of Miyazaki, in the southeast of Kyushu island. It was started in 1970 by the first generation of Kai family tea farmers, Isshin Kai, who became interested in tea plantations in the small town of Hinokage.

The fields are scattered over the mountainside at an elevation of 250-330m. A nearby river and their location means the tea trees are exposed to fog and temperature variations that impact their development.

Now, Isshin En is run by Tetsuya Kai, who has followed in his father’s footsteps to produce stunning organic tea in Miyazaki. Organic farming is a passion of Kai san. He studied agriculture at Kyushu University, and is determined to use no industrial fertilizers or pesticides on his fields.

Instead, fertilizer is made on-site based on careful measurements made by Kai san. Every year, he conducts a soil analysis to determine what nutrients are lacking, and then carefully prepares a home-made fertilizer with the necessary infusions. ‍ Fertilizer is made from composting weeds cut in the fields at the tea plantation and elsewhere, mixed with shochu lees from a nearby factory.

Kai san is very particular about tea cultivation, believing that the value of Isshin tea begins in the soul.




"Kamairi" in Japanese literally means "pan firing", or "roasting in a pan". The process is intense and manual, and as a result production is only done on a small scale.The characteristic aroma of tea is strongly preserved in the final product, due to the traditional techniques developed over centuries.

Fresh tea leaves are immediately parched after harvesting for ten minutes at 300 degrees C, using a Japanese process called "Iriha-ki", to minimize and stop fermentation. Parched leaves are rolled and dried in a four-step, intensely manual process.

This time-tested Japanese technique yields a unique pan-parched fragrance, with a remarkably complex and rich taste. Kamairicha is highly rich in natural antioxidants, as it does not undergo the usual steam treatment of green teas.


Houjicha is a roasted green tea, usually obtained from bancha or kukicha tea. It is one of the most popular teas in Japan, and not without reason: thanks to its low theine content, and its taste without bitterness, it is perfectly suited to accompany a meal. It is also consumed after meals to aid digestion.

Legend has it that houjicha tea was invented about a century ago by a Kyoto merchant who, wishing to save his unsellable tea, tried to roast it. A recipe that quickly became popular and spread in all Japan! To obtain houjicha tea, one proceeds to an operation quite similar to the roasting of coffee: the green tea leaves are roasted at high temperature using charcoal, in porcelain pots.

Following this operation, they are given a nice brown color.As the fermentation process is interrupted with the roasting, houjicha tea retains all the benefits of a classic green tea, especially its high antioxidant content. Houjicha is traditionally brewed from loose leaves.


Between Sea & Mountains


A Passion For His Terroir

Kai san’s research-based approach to tea cultivation leads to exquisitely flavored teas. His passion for perfecting tea processes carries over into the steps required for roasted houjicha.

Stems for Ishinen houjicha are carefully roasted in a traditional iron kettle for over two hours, giving it a unique aroma and aftertaste. We’re not their only fans: since 2011, Isshin kamairicha has received a quality star ranking from the British-based Great Taste Awards. 


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