Houjicha, also called Bancha, is made by roasting Sencha tea leaves over high heat. It is a brown tea with a toasted nutty flavor. Therefore, it is also easy for to try Japanese tea for the first time.
The first three processing steps of Houjicha tea leaves are the same as for Sencha: 1) Steaming, 2) Drying and Crumpling, and 3) Shaping. But to make Houjicha, the tea goes through one special additional step: 4) Roasting. Stems contained in Houjicha create the unique nutty aroma, the stems are essential for high quality Houjicha. (For roasting process of Houjicha, click here.)
Like Sencha, tea leaves for Houjicha are grown with fully-flooded sunlight, so that Houjicha contains beneficial Catechin. And since Houjicha is pan-roasted, it is very low in caffeine. In Japan, Houjicha is commonly given to babies and people who are sick because it is both nourishing and low in caffeine. Besides, Houjicha is perfect for iced tea. It will cool you on a sizzling hot day.
The flavor is very smooth and the aroma lingers nicely for a while.
It is said that Houjicha grown specifically in Ujitawara, where Hibiki-an is located, has a particularly delightful aroma, even when compared with other Houjicha grown in the Kyoto region of Japan. (For more information, click here.)
Also This Houjicha is a good affordable everyday tea, and tea farmers drink large quantities of it every day. Houjicha is a source of health for farmers, and Japanese farmers are well-known for their good health.