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A horoku, also called hojiki is one of the coolest off-the beaten track gadgets you may have in a tea ware collection. It is a clay pot designed to roast tea.
Hojicha (ほうじちゃ) is roast tea; in most cases, it is a humble yet very popular tea in Japan. A naturally sweet flavour, low astringency and (oftentimes) low caffeine content make it a delicious and relaxing treat. Some popular variations are:
- Hoji Bancha: late harvest, 'rough' green tea leaves, roasted.
- Karigane Hojicha: twigs (called both 'kuki' and 'bo') from early harvest tea, roasted.
- Sencha Bancha: some older sencha (with diminished aroma) may be brought back to life through a light roasting process. It will NOT taste like fresh sencha; but it can become a delicious, sweet and fragrant tea.
MAKE HOJICHA AND MORE! These are other recommended uses for your horoku:
1) Pu Er Kao Cha (烤茶): many of Yunnan's minorities roast raw Pu Er leaves lightly before boiling them for a few minutes in spring water. This process enables you to achieve a very pleasant, sweet infusion despite 'overstepping' the tea.
2) Roasting Rice for Ryukyu Buku-Buku Cha: roast rice will create the rich, creamy froth required for Okinawa's tea delicacy.
3) Roasting Old Sencha: if you find some long lost tea that may have seen better days... try roasting it. Start with a very light roast, just to bring back the aroma. Then, try roasting it longer, perhaps taking it to a golden hue with notes of caramel.
4) Roast Green Coffee: one of our favourite coffee bars in Kyoto roasted green beans to order with one of the cool pots. To be clear: the results will NOT achieve the consistency and complexity that professional coffee roasters get; however, there is a different kind of enjoyment in smelling the aroma of coffee beans while they 'pop' and become golden in front of your eyes.
5) Matcha Hojicha: it is with deep sorrow that we've sometimes found little packs of matcha that may be too olde to enjoy; these can be lightly, carefully roasted... and taste delicious in an oat milk latte.
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