5. Hojicha /Bancha
Don't be mistaken by the brown color, Hojicha is a green tea: it has been steamed tight after the harvest to stop the oxidation of the tea. After steaming, Hojicha is roasted, giving the tea leaves the brown color. The roasting is a natural way to remove the caffeine from the tea. That's why in Japan people enjoy Hojicha mainly in the evening. Azumaya Hojicha has a deep strong taste, making it perfectly suited as an alternative to coffee. Also great for making Ice-tea: just make the fresh tea, and pour it in a glass filled with ice cubes to cool it down.
During the last weeks before harvest, the tea plants are covered with shadow nets. The shade forces the tea plants to produce more chlorophyll in order to make its photosynthesis. The extra chlorophyll gives the tea leaves a very sophisticated and deep taste. It is also very rich in anti-oxidants. If brewed correctly, a sip of Gyokuro brings an explosion of taste in the mouth!