Today I want to write about houjicha. Many customers who are new to Japanese tea will usually ask this question “Where do I begin?”
While I really want to promote more about matcha, it maybe a bit overwhelming for beginners of Japanese tea because of the umami tasting profile. I have learned during the last year that matcha is an acquired taste which means it takes time for human being to get used to. I did not understand that because matcha had been in my life for very long. But the more people I speak to, the more I start to understand.
So, I will usually answer “How about to start with Houjicha?” which is a roasted Japanese tea. It is usually a mixture of tea leaves and stems, however you can also see just stems, which is also called kukicha (kuki=stems). It has a very nice aroma, unlike other steamed green tea such as sencha, the colour is brown. During the roasting process, almost all the caffeine is gone therefore it is a very popular drink in Japan during evening and even for kids. Houjicha pairs very well with sweets, or to be enjoyed on its own after a evening meal. If you are worried about caffeine affecting sleeping pattern, Houjicha is best choice amongst other Japanese tea.
This Japan trip J and I brought back some kukicha from Sakurai Tea experience. He is one of my most respected people and his lab/tea experience in Tokyo always calms me down. Unfortunately it was very popular and had been sold out a couple of weeks ago.
However if you wish to try kukicha, this may be good news. I will be roasting fresh houjicha from the raw ingredients that J and I brought back recently from Uji. It has a sweet tasting note, quite light and delicate. It will be available on the menu soon!
So next time, whether you are at Cha-ology or at another tea house, perhaps give Houjicha a try!
If you want to ask more about houjicha, please do! I will do my best to answer!
Have a good evening!