Saturday Morning Tea

Our week was blessed with bright sunshine and deep blue skies even though temps have been hovering at the freezing mark during the day, dropping into the teens at night. I’ve warmed myself every night by wrapping in a big granny square blanket with a steaming teapot close by. The tv show LOST returned this week and, yes, I admit it, I am drawn to that show for some reason. Perhaps it’s their determination to survive that I admire.

This past week I replied to an e-mail from a customer disappointed in the tea I chose for my morning tea today. They thought it would be a green tea and, even though it is processed as a green tea first, I explained how it is far from it in flavor.

I introduce you to Ho-ji Cha tea, a roasted green tea.

Ho-ji Cha tea is traditionally grown and produced in Japan. Using what’s called Bancha (meaning common tea) green tea, the green tea leaves are roasted in porcelain pots over a charcoal fire. Roasting the tea leaves turns them a rich russet color and creates a completely different kind of tea from its original green state. This particular tea has been grown in China.

As you can see, the steeped leaves are chocolate brown with some twig mixed in. Straight twig tea is called Ku-ki Cha and is also very popular in Japan.

In my research, I have discovered that this type of tea was first created in Kyoto, Japan in the 1920s by a merchant but I have not been able to find out why. Perhaps he wanted to “spice” up the taste of the common grade of green tea. I have also read that the roasting process lowers the caffeine content of the leaf. I don’t understand that since all tea leaves are heated up to halt the oxidation process. Personally, I think this tea is lower in caffeine because it is common to have twigs from the tea plant mixed in. There isn’t any caffeine in the twigs.

I steeped my Ho-ji Cha tea for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. As it brewed, its warm, toasty aroma filled my senses.

The flavor of the glowing, dark-amber liquor is woodsy, toasty, nutty and smooth with a whisper of sweet caramel in the finish.

The roasted flavor lingers in my mouth for a long time.

The winter sky is shrouded in a thick, gray blanket. Aside from the gentle water sound of my fountain and the classical music playing, my morning world is silent. I sip my tea and savor the quiet moments.

Weekends are for getting back in touch with myself.

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself

and know that everything in this life has a purpose.”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross