Today we’re happy to introduce you to Danielle and Francois, from Hojicha Co, the first brand to specialize in Japanese roasted green tea outside of Japan
Thank you for your time today, we are glad to have you on our blog! Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your company?
We’re a couple from Toronto, Canada and in 2018 we launched Hojicha Co. We always wanted to start a business together, and after one of our trips to Japan we finally found a business opportunity that we were excited about.
Although we brought back plenty of hojicha from our last trip to Japan, it was quickly gone after sharing it with friends and family. We tried looking for it locally, but there wasn’t any fresh and authentic hojicha to be found. At first we thought about importing some just for our own enjoyment, but soon we realized that many others probably wished they could enjoy this tea at home as well.
We founded Hojicha Co. and became the first company to specialize in hojicha outside of Japan. Since launch we’ve expanded our collection to a variety of loose leaf hojicha and our best selling product, the Hojicha Powder.
What is your connection with Japan? What brought you to Japan for the first time?
We love to travel, and Japan is the first country that we decided to visit more than once. After visiting busy Tokyo, we wanted to return to explore the quieter tea growing regions and taste some fresh Japanese tea in the many tea houses across Kyoto.
As tea lovers, it was an incredible treat that exceeded our expectations. We were blown away by the taste of the teas as well as the overall experience and feeling of drinking tea in Japan.
Everyone knows about Matcha but can you explain what Hōjicha is and why did you decide to specialize in this type of tea?
Hojicha is a roasted green tea that is produced in Japan, and has been around for about 100 years. It originated in Kyoto when they started roasting some of the lower grade teas to enhance the flavor and the aroma, which instantly appealed to many. It is traditionally offered as a loose leaf tea, and more recently as a fine powder just like matcha.
After falling in love with hojicha, we wanted to share the unique tea with anyone who hasn’t tried it yet. We also knew there were likely people who visited or lived in Japan that missed this tea. Hojicha is currently very popular in Japan and you can find it everywhere in food and beverages, and we’re working towards making it just as well-known outside of Japan.
Where do you source your tea and how did you choose the producers?
We decided to source our teas exclusively from Kyoto, since there is a long history and tradition of producing hojicha in the region. Before we launched the store, we contacted several farmers in the Kyoto prefecture to request some samples and taste the tea. We select teas by carefully tasting and comparing samples to find the best tasting hojicha. It is important that we both enjoy the tea, and that we can trust the producers to deliver fresh batches to match the demand.
You are sharing recipes using Hōjicha as an ingredient on your blog, what is your favorite dish so far? Any recipe you’d like to share with our readers?
The recipe we make most often is the Hojicha Pudding, which is easy to make and requires very few ingredients. It’s a delicious recipe that shows how easy it is to infuse hojicha into any of your favorite desserts.
Our go-to drink recipe is the Maple Hojicha Latte, which we think everyone should try. Hojicha pairs so well with maple syrup, and this is a simple way to enjoy the two flavors together.
Which product from your store would you recommend to someone who never tried Hōjicha before?
Our best selling product is the Hojicha Powder, which many people prefer to use since it’s the easiest way to enjoy hojicha. The tea powder can be used for crafting lattes or baking treats, and so it’s a great way for a beginner to discover hojicha and prepare it in the same way they do their matcha, cocoa powder, or instant coffee.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
People often worry about trying hojicha because they don’t like green tea, but as soon as they taste it they become instant fans. The roasting of the tea leaves gives hojicha a unique flavor that we’ve found appeals to most people, even coffee lovers. We truly hope everyone gets to experience hojicha and discover this wonderful Japanese tea.
Thank you for your time, it was great to know more about you and your company!