January 17th, 2022
Hojicha: Japan's Premium Roasted Green Tea
Malaysia is fortunate to be a land at the confluence of a trio of cultures, each with a rich history of producing fine teas – China, India, and England. All of these cultures have manifested themselves in Malaysia throughout its history, and all have brought their tea-making and tea-drinking heritage to bear on the country and its people.
But Japan’s tea culture is also making itself known in Malaysia, and both the quality and history are most impressive. For the first time, from the Yamanashi Tea Factory, Malaysians now have the opportunity to learn about and experience first-hand the highest grade of fine Japanese green tea leaves. You’ve likely heard of Japanese Matcha and Sencha, we have a new green tea to add to your list, and it’s quite the up-and-comer. The tea is called Hojicha (or Hoji Cha, more properly), and it hails from the Japanese prefecture of Shizuoka.
The Shizuoka Prefecture has a long history of producing high quality green tea and is one of the largest tea producing regions in Japan, accounting for over 40% of the country’s overall tea production. With an ideal climate between 14-16°C and a diverse topography, the area is perfect for cultivating the best quality and delicious tasting Japanese green tea.
Most tea farms in Shizuoka are family-owned and harvest are still done by hand, ensuring only the best tea leaves are picked and sent for processing. A popular method of processing is through roasting of the tea leaves to produce a distinct, toasty flavour that most of us know as Hojicha.
The production of Hojicha is a precise process requiring the tea leaves to be roasted at a very high temperature to bring out the umami flavour of the tea. This part of the tea processing, heating, and packaging is usually done by a wholesaler rather than the tea farmers, who prefers to focus on the tea cultivation and harvesting. The expertise required for this process takes many years to perfect and thus, there are not many Hojicha manufacturers. In Shizuoka, there are roughly 500 tea wholesalers but only 15 producers specialised in Hojicha and overall, in Japan, there are maybe 50 companies producing Hojicha for the market.
A well-known manufacturer in the area, Yamanashi Shoten produces a variety of Hojichas, from the highest grade – Kuki Hojicha (which uses leaves from the first harvest) to the more commonly used Akiban Hojicha (made from autumn harvest leaves). The younger leaves when roasted would produces a soft golden colour and provides a good balance of umami and sweetness. For this reason, Hojicha is often said to be an ideal tea for coffee drinkers to enjoy!
The health benefits of Hojicha are slightly different from other Japanese teas. Firstly, it has lower calories compared to green tea and coffee. As the tea is roasted at a very high temperature, it increases the level of pyrazine, a chemical found in tea which helps improves blood circulation and keeps you warm and relaxed. Finally, it has low caffeine content, making it an ideal drink to have before going to bed.
To learn more about Hojicha, and discover an intriguing array of quality Japanese teas for purchase, you may visit the Secai Marche shopping site.
Secai Marche is a Farm-Direct platform that connects Passionate Farmers & Enthusiastic Consumers from all over the world. Secai Marche’s goal is to help build and grow small-scale farms all over the world to become more economical, viable and sustainable by providing them access to Chefs from hotels and restaurants. These hotels and restaurants in return are satisfied with the Freshness, Transparency & Quality of products, giving them the confidence to use them for their dishes, not to mention more variety and choices.
By being a farm-direct service, the company encourages sustainability for farmers as well as establish the ultimate supply chain both for Farmers and Consumers, providing more recognition to the farmers, supply better quality produce, reduce air pollution, and more.