Monday, 10 February 2014


Roasted Japanese Tea


Hoji-cha (Houjicha)

Fortune Cookie


Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.

In the UK we have a phenomenon known as Blue Monday. This day is designated as the result of a mathematical equation. An equation already rubbished by most critics. Still, in January, it feels right.

This year the day fell on January the sixth. Far too early in my view.

Blue Monday is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year based on:

  1. Levels of personal indebtedness after Christmas
  2. The appalling nature of the weather
  3. How soon our New Years Resolutions have failed
  4. Sundry other factors

When this day occurs it is timely to drink a fine, if not excellent cup of tea.  It wasn't fine tea I found but Hojicha is an excellent tea.

This shop is good for picking up tea without recourse to the Internet and attendant postage costs. I decided on 100g of genmaicha and a hojicha. More of the Hojicha later.

There is a good energy around Chinatown happily reminding me of my visit to China in the spring. 

Some of the hustle and the street food of Yunnan is here with some changes (mainly added sugar). 

Having said that I went Indonesian at the restaurant devouring an outstanding beef rendang with rice and greens. 

Right next to Oriental Delight is Chinatown's most famous bakery, The Golden Gate Bakery. 

Here they do sweet desserts as well as savoury buns. They do a good lotus bun and an excellent bun filled with red bean paste and covered in sesame seeds. My personal favourite is the BBQ pork bun (£1.30). A bun glazed with sugar is stuffed with fresh and sweet char sui pork. Best value food items in Chinatown. Definitely worth a pilgrimage to.

On Hoji-cha (Houjicha) ほうじ

Kensho, a book of Zen thoughts, contains a koan that tells us of the provision of a cup of tea, instead of testing and agitating the tongue in futile speech, bringing someone a cup of tea says something about giving - the most valuable act of a bodhisattva. Often speech adds nothing and just as often intends to take away.

If you like this blog visit its twin GuerillaZ the travel blog at the end of this link:

Hojicha is a Japanese bancha grade of green tea. Made from the lower shoots of the tea plant the reddish-brown leaves make it hard to believe it is a green tea but the colour comes from the slow roasting in a porcelain pot over charcoal. 

This roasting also gives the tea its unique woody aroma with the roasted and nutty overtones.

Bancha hojicha has an incredibly smooth flavour and very low levels of tannin.

For more on Japanese teas visit this excellent website:

My Japanese Green Tea

In Japan it is believed that the slow-roasting also reduces the caffeine content of the leaf making it good for post-prandial consumption and good for children and the elderly.

A deep red tea

Hojicha works well with these.

Happy Tea Drinking.