What is Houjicha

ROASTED TEA

 

A kind of tea unique to Japan that is made by roasting over a high flame at around 200 degrees centigrade of the various parts of tea bush like younger leaves(SEN-CHA), more grown leaves(BAN-CHA), or twigs and stalks(KUKI-CHA). It presents a plain smooth taste, and a peculiar pleasant aroma. The tea, both processed leaves and brewed drink, shows pecularly brown color, but is considered a sort of green tea because it is made of the leaves of Camellia sinensis (CHANOKI, or tea bush), just like oolong tea and black tea.

Various origins are discussed for the roasted tea, and there is one view that it was devised in Kyoto in 1920s in order to refresh the tea left unsold and getting stale. There is some high grade roasted tea made from select quality leaves, but oftner the tea does not use as high-quality leaves, and in general it is ranked below YOKURO or SENCHA, almost on the same rank as BANCHA or GENMAI-CHA.

In Kyoto, however, drinking roasted tea has taken root well into the daily life, and it is nothing rare to serve quality roasted tea on formal occasions. It is also possible to roast some aged green tea at home, and turn it into home-made roasted tea.

 

ほうじ茶(焙じ茶)

 

煎茶や番茶、茎茶などの緑茶を強い火(200℃近く)で焙じて製造した日本独自のお茶で、さっぱりとした口当たりと、独特の香ばしさを有する。茶葉や水色の色合いは独特の茶褐色だが、材料に緑茶を使う事から緑茶の一種とされる(緑茶はウーロン茶や紅茶同様「チャノキ(茶の木、茶樹)学名:Camellia sinensis)」から作られる)。 ほうじ茶の製法が生まれた経緯は諸説あるが、その1つに1920年代京都で売れ残りの古い茶を再生させるために考案されたというものがある。上質な葉を選りすぐった高級品もあるが、材料にあまり高級な茶葉を使用しない場合が多く、一般に玉露や煎茶より下位、番茶や玄米茶などと同位に位置づけられる。しかしほうじ茶飲用の習慣が深く根付いている京都では、上質なほうじ茶が改まった席で供されることも珍しいことではない。家庭で古くなった緑茶を焙じて自家製ほうじ茶を作ることもできる。

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