debunix wrote:I find Hojicha to be a lovely tea for a chilly or gray day, fall or winter especially. Also, because it is so good natured and refuses to become bitter or unpleasant when brewed, I also reach for it at any time when I am in a rush and only have time to throw tea plus hot water at the thermos and run out the door.
Dresden wrote:Mugicha is also great but I find it better on ice in the summer.
Hojicha is one of two Japanese green tea drinks derived from late-season green tea leaves. This low-caffeine drink caught on in the 1920s, as a cheaper alternative to higher-grade and younger green tea leaves being processed around the country and throughout Asia.
At the beginning of fall, after two or three earlier harvests, the Sencha plant is stripped of more leaves and twigs, then processed for hojicha tea. This harvest produces leaves that make what is known as bancha tea leaves. This leaf is brewed in a specialized roasting process aimed at complementing the leaves' nuttier flavor. Since the leaves are picked so late in the harvest season, they have a tougher consistency and more rustic flavor, which is why bancha leaves are often valued less than other varieties.
chingwa wrote:I believe most of what we come to see as 'traditional' japanese green tea today only in fact came into development since the early Meiji era, and paradoxically much of this was in response to foreign influence and the development of tea into a cash crop for export.
Throughout early to late edo period most green tea was in the form of matcha, and all the ceremony and accoutrements that developed along with it kept it mainly as an upper class activity (not to mention the cost, or the taste ^_^ ).
I'm not sure where houjicha falls in this timeframe, but it makes sense it would have been in response to a glut of tea in the market due to overproduction for foreign sale. Similar to other teas we come to expect as having a long tradition, such as gyokuro, and fukumushi, actually don't and are very recent developments (Showa era I believe).
It's interesting how history and perception don't actually jive much of the time.
In any case, I love me some Houjicha. Usually in the evening after dinner, and almost always hot. I've tried it on ice in the summer and it IS pretty tasty this way, though I prefer tea to be hot usually.