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Hojicha – The Perfect Tea for the Coffee Drinker

Even though my wife utterly hates when I watch baseball on TV, she actually enjoys going to the games in person. Baseball is much more than just stats and box scores. Being at a live game is all about the perfectly manicured grass, the “crack” of the wooden bats and the smell of freshly roasted peanuts.

To me, baseball is all about the sounds, sights and smells. It is these three things that really make it America’s favorite pastime.

Now, it wasn’t long ago that some marketing companies realized the power of our senses and started to capitalize on them. In the tea world, some astute marketers discovered that there is a way to make tea so fragrant that people will walk in your store to find out what smells so delicious. The end result of this was a tea called Hojicha.

Hojicha has a fragrance of freshly roasted coffee

When Japanese merchants first roasted Hojicha, they found it had a delicious smell very similar to coffee. This smell was so intoxicating to the average Japanese person because most have never smelled coffee before.

Because of this, merchants started to roast Hojicha near their entrances to help lure shoppers into their stores. And, due to the fact that Hojicha was actually discovered by a businessman, it makes even more sense that merchants used it to increase their business.

Hojicha is a clever discovery

In the 1920’s in Japan, a lot of farmers started using the first “tea plucking” machines. The interesting byproduct of a machine-harvested tea is that they strip the leaves off of the plant leaving the stalks behind.

It didn’t take long for a clever businessman to figure out that you could take these stalks (that most threw away) and roast them.

The Roasting process changed the flavor of the tea

With a nutty taste and a finish of molasses and burnt sugar, Hojicha is a unique tea in that it has a “roasty” flavor that no other tea has. Interestingly enough, this “roasty” flavor makes Hojicha taste quite a bit like freshly roasted coffee.

In fact, it’s this roasted flavor that makes Hojicha a fantastic tea for those who love coffee.

Hojicha is naturally decaffeinated

When people stop drinking coffee, a big reason is because of their caffeine sensitivity. The best news about Hojicha is it is almost naturally caffeine free. Since the majority of caffeine is found in the tea leaves, the tea stalks contain almost no caffeine. Add to the fact that Hojicha is made from almost all tea stalks and what you end up with is a delicious tea that has almost no caffeine.

Summary

If you ever have the luxury of smelling freshly roasted Hojicha, then you can understand why people would literally line up outside the door to catch of glimpse of the wonderful fragrance source. And if you don’t think that a delicious smell can make your mouth water, then I suggest you look at the peanut stand line at a baseball game. If people line up for peanuts, imagine what they will do for tea.

photo: www.flickr.com/photos/chashitsu_lasere/3694612194

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