Introduction: Made during the last few weeks of the tea harvest, Houji-cha is a popular Japanese roasted green tea. As a tradition, only the big, coarse, pale green tea leaves (also known as 'Bancha') are steamed, dried and then roasted in small batch ovens in making Houji-cha. Connoisseur grade Houji-cha, like this one, requires precise roasting time and oven temperature. The roasting reduces the amount of caffeine, and therefore makes Houji-cha ideal to drink in the evening and after meals. The flavor is buttery, smooth, toasty and slightly smoky.
Japanese green teas have by far the most delicate, sensitive leaf and are some of the most challenging (and rewarding) teas to brew. However, larger leaf Bancha as well as roasted teas like Houjicha and Kukicha can use slightly higher temperature water and longer steeping times. We recommend using water at 150 to 170 F and steeping one teaspoon of leaf per 8 ounce cup for 2 to 3 minutes. This method provides 2 to 3 satisfying infusions.
Japanese green teas can be enjoyed in a variety of brewing styles but are traditionally steeped in a kyushu (a small, side-handle pot).