One of my favorite teas is one that contains zero tea leaves. No, it’s not an herbal, it’s the Japanese green tea, Hojicha. Hojicha contains only stems. Another creation from the early twentieth century, this concoction did not exist before mechanical harvesting. Hand harvesting of tea leaves allows for only the essential parts of the plant (leaves and buds, or tips) to be plucked, leaving stems and older leaves behind. With mechanical harvesting, however, a greater amount of the plant is taken (tips, leaves, and stems). The difference between the two is like trimming a bush leaf by leaf by hand and trimming the bush with a hedge trimmer. Mechanically harvested leaves must be separated from the stems to make tea, and the stems and stalks are often discarded.
Enter, once again, an ingenious Kyoto merchant who took the twiggy remains of the harvest and roasted them. The resulting brew tea, with its dark roasted flavor, has remained popular since.
My favorite Hojicha comes from Harney and Sons. They carry only the best quality teas and since they buy directly from growers, you’re always getting a fair price.
The tea itself looks quite different than most green teas. All you get with Hojicha are little golden twigs of varying lengths, fairly uniform copper color. You’ll likely notice the smell of the twigs first as they give a lovely roasted scent.
Steep your twigs at 175 degrees Fahrenheit for about 3 minutes.
As the dried teas will look very different than a standard green tea, so the liquor color differs. Hojicha is a reddish brown, almost like a caramel color. The aromas are warm toasted flavors. It is not smoky like a camp fire, but is more like woodsy roasted scent.
Light bodied, the liquor is smooth with flavors reminiscent of toasted nuts. Rather than a meatiness that one may except with a nut flavor, you’ll experience a pleasant woodiness.
Because of the robustness of this tea, I often use it to introduce coffee drinkers to the expansive world tea.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then energy is the father. Recognizing a problem is one thing. Seeking a solution to it is something entirely different. Creating is costly, whether it be a solution to a problem – like making something from the byproducts of mechanical tea production – or a painting a masterpiece, as it takes energy.
Our energy is our most valuable resource.
Renewable, yes, but it should not be spent unwisely. Often people will spend exorbitant amounts of their precious energy on things that do not offer a valuable level of return. Time-sucks, they are often called, because they take up so much of our time, but they really feed on our energy. Tasks that you dread seem to be the hungriest of all.
We ought, therefore, to be conscious of our energy. To manage it versus trying to manage our time, our calendars, or those tasks and people around us.