Hojicha, a Japanese specialty, contains roasted twigs from some of the best tea gardens in Uji. One of the joys of Japanese food stores is the smell of fresh roasted Hojicha. It is reminiscent of coffee, but sweeter, and has very reduced levels of caffeine.
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The Japanese are a thrifty lot. Hojicha is another creative use of tea by-products. Hojicha was commercialized when mechanical harvesters were used in Japan (there is a labor shortage there). The tea plant was shorn of everything, and the mess was separated later. The best leaves became Sencha, the larger leaves became Yanagi, and the stems Hojicha. Tea terms in Japan have several meanings, and Hojicha can mean several types of tea. For us, it is roasted twigs.
No leaves at all, just small, light brown wooden stalks. Caffeine is concentrated in the tender leaves and decreases in the tough stems, so there are low levels of caffeine in the brew.
Unlike other green teas, the liquor is caramel brown.
Gently reminiscent of roasted coffee, with more sweet caramel coffee notes (at least that is our memory from when we drank coffee).
Overall it is medium bodied, however much less than coffee.
The lush green flavor of the freshest steamed spinach, the cooked flavor of lightly toasted walnuts and a very slight note of sulfur. Filling and sustaining.