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The History of Roasted Green Tea

Roasted green tea (Hōjicha) is a kind of green tea, but hōjicha is made from tea leaves which have lost their aroma due to humidity. These tea leaves are roasted in porcelain pots to restore their flavour, while other Japanese green teas are steamed. Therefore hōjicha has a reddish-brown colour and a distinctive flavour.

This process of roasting tea was developed in the western part of Japan, and there are regional differences in the acceptance of roasted tea. For example, people in the area around Tokyo hardly drank it half a century ago. Even now people in some parts of northern Japan call hōjicha “bancha”, which originally meant “lower grade green tea”.

Roasted green tea gradually spread across Japan, with the spread of Kyoto cuisine. We can even buy hôjicha in plastic bottles, now.

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