Hojicha, Shizuoka Prefecture

A cup of hot tea has got to be one of my favorites ways to conclude a long meal. It's not necessary or even desirable to choose a strong-flavored, assertive tea - it's just nice to have something warm to sip on and reflect back on the meal. I've been served tea twice at the end of a long dinner, both times in cups without handles. This is a delightful presentation that almost forces you to hold the cup closely with both hands - it's cozy by design. As a result I went in search of teacups without handles, finding some at CB2.

The tea I chose to serve is similar to the tea I had at Mosu - hojicha, or Japanese green tea that has been roasted. It has a subtle, almost smoky flavor, is relatively low in caffeine, and I think the roasted aspect makes it a little interesting and special. I was able to find looseleaf hojicha from the Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan at a tea house near me (no luck at a more popular tea store); see if your nearest tea/coffee shop sells hojicha, or serve any tea that you like.

Note: it's often a good idea to warm mugs with hot water before serving tea in them. In my case I found the tea, prepared with boiling water, retained more than enough heat and so I skipped this step.

Ingredients

For 4 servings.

1 1/2 Tbsp hojicha leaves

2 cups water

Equipment:

Teapot with looseleaf insert

Directions

  1. Bring the water to a boil and pour 1 cup over the tea leaves. Let steep 3 minutes.
  2. Pour the first steeping of the tea into the cups, alternating between pouring a small amount into each cup at a time.
  3. Pour the rest of the water over the tea (second steeping) and let steep an additional two or three minutes.
  4. Pour the rest of the tea into the cups following the same alternating pattern and serve.

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