Hoji Cha, a specially roasted green tea, may seem exotic to Westerners but in Japan it is one of country's most commonly enjoyed beverages. Our Hoji Cha, produced by award winning Tea Maestro Hiroyuki Sugimoto, starts with young baby stems (other tea farms use low quality Bancha leaves). Owing to its low caffeine content Hoji Cha is often served to accompany meals and is also an ideal choice for late afternoon sipping as well as after dinner. It is also commonly served to children, and patients in hospitals.
Our Hoji Cha is fresh and smooth with good depth and body. After drying the stems are roasted over low heat which imparts a sweet taste and nice fresh toasty aroma. (Hojicha that has been roasted at too high a temperature loses much of its sweetness.) This roasting process results in a tea with a reddish color and light cup with a very exotic character, for a green tea that stimulates the senses, not the nervous system. Hoji Cha's roasting process removes much of the caffeine from the tea leaf. (The caffeine content in our gourmet Hoji Cha is much lower than ordinary Hoji Cha because it starts with young baby tea stems that contain less caffeine than tea leaves.) Try pairing our Hoji Cha with Asian themed meals and notice how well it cleanses the palate. This is truly a refreshing tea that is as good hot as it is poured over ice.
The city of Uji, the namesake of Hoji Cha, is one of Japan's most ancient places. The city is home to the Byodoin, recognized by UNESCO as the world's oldest wooden structure. It was built in 1053 and amazingly, still stands. The region has been home to tea gardens and tea pluckers for centuries and is to this day recognized as one of Japan's foremost green tea growing regions. Tagami Kikusha, a Japanese Poet living during those ancient times wrote about life in the area while living in another of Uji's famous buildings, the Manpuku Temple,
one step outside
The temple gate, its Japan
a tea-picker's song
Translated into English, the poem is a little cryptic. In Japanese, the short poem captures the warm feelings of joy felt by the pickers as they worked in the tea gardens - tea was considered a sacred and divine gift by the ancient Japanese.
Hoji Cha. Is it good? Hai!