Fine kuki-cha and home-made hôji-cha

Impossible for me not to link up together kuki-cha and hoji-cha.

The kuki-cha is what is sometimes called a ” de-mono ”, a kind tea recycling, since it’s made from stems sorted from a Japanese green tea raw material (called ‘aracha’) during the finish process of sencha, bancha or even gyokuro (ffinished product is called ‘honcha’). Yet we must admit that kuki-cha has very great qualities, much more than other “de-mono” (kona-cha and me-cha) in my opinion. This is an easy to prepare tea, with little or no astringency, which may even be very good as it comes from the sorting of quality green tea.
However, I’ve never worn a huge interest in kuki-cha, until I experienced myself its second face: It is very easy to make yourself an excellent hoji-cha by roasting a kuki-cha, using a hôroku or simple frying pan (very clean, ideally new). Although easier than roasting the tea leaves. And hoji-cha is the more delectable the more kuki-cha used is high quality.

Here is a kuki-cha composed of stems obtained from a fukamushi-cha from Makinohara (Shizuoka).
They seem to have a certain thickness; color is a beautiful clear and bright green.
The scent is powerful, very soft, rather the field of floral, very aromatic. It’s quite different from sencha flavor, but already very delectable.

It is a high-end kuki-cha, and preparation with water at 80 ° C seems perfect.
After a minute, a little trouble liquor is obtained, very fragrant. This is very sweet, with notes of cocoa, and while cooling down a little, floral aromas like graceful flowers with soft and silky petals, recalling party rose.
In the mouth this kuki-cha is very easy to drink while having strength. No astringency, a soft mellowness, without too strong umami. The flavors are rather those of cocoa at first then floral notes appear in the aftertaste.
A second infusion, with warmer water is possible. We obtain a liquor still powerful and incisive without much astringency, though flavors and fragrances are less clear.

This kuki-cha has nothing to envy to many similarly priced sencha.

But that’s not all this Japanese tea offers. I reach for my hôroku, and within minutes, here is a beautiful hoji-cha, with delicious and relaxing scent.

But actually, if one is tempted to drink immediately this “fresh roasted” hoji-cha , it is best to be patient and wait for two or three days before brewing. The aromas are affirmed and small parasites flavors disappear.

It is good to roasted the hoji-cha at high temperature over a short time. With a hôroku one can roast approximately 7 g of kuki-cha. You should repeat two or three times the process to get a small stock.
Before putting it in a bag, it is best to wait until it has cooled.
After a few days this hoji-cha’s fragrances are wonderful. Surprisingly fine and fresh, strong, there is vanilla, notes of dry wood, weakly roasted coffee. We are in an all different domain than those of cheap hoji-cha made from second harvest Japanese green tea or Bancha.

Brewing as hot as possible. Brewing in a hôhin (without handle) as I often do is not very smart (but I like to use Bizen-yaki ware for hoji-cha, so stoically, I support burns when pouring!).
This is of course a very fragrant liquor that is obtained with the warm and sweet aromas of a good hoji-cha. But then I think it is useless to burn yourself when drinking this hot tea as soon as possible, because it is once it cooled down a bit that the wealth of hoji-cha aromas is revealed. Finally, as in the stems before infusion, one finds nothing ” grilled aromas” but rather mild coffee flavors, aromas remind very soft vanilla and caramel.
The liquor is fine, very drinkable, but it is above all a delicious and relaxing olfactory experience offered by this fine hoji-cha.

Tea ware:
* Kuki-cha: Banko-yaki teapot by Yamamoto Taisen
* Hoji-cha: Bizen-yaki cup by Yoshimoto Atsuo (son) and Bizen-yaki hôhin by Yoshimoto Shûhô (father)

Categories: Reviews

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