November 2015 - Boucha from Kaga
This month we selected a Boucha (棒茶) of Kaga (加賀), in the prefecture of Ishikawa (石川).
Boucha is a roasted green tea. Broadly speaking, Japanese green teas are divided in three categories: Matcha (powdered tea), Sencha (steamed tea) and Hojicha (roasted tea). Boucha is a kind of Hojicha, produced by using only stalks. Literally Boucha (棒茶) means stick (棒) tea (茶), because tea stalks look like sticks.
Boucha is produced from stalks of good Sencha coming from all around Japan, especially from the prefectures of Shizuoka, Kagoshima or from the region of Kaga. The stalks are sorted and roasted fleetly under high heat until the color becomes a golden brown, called the color of fox, kitsune-iro (きつね色).
Boucha was invented in the middle of Meiji era. After several iterations that helped improving its quality it was eventually to our previous Showa emperor who drank Hojicha by preference. Since then, Boucha is fancied not only by the emperor, but also by a lot of Japanese people.
In Japan, there is an old superstition: if you have a stick of tea floating vertically in your tea cup, good luck will last all day.
Boucha has a slightly roasted bouquet and a mild taste with amber color. It is great with sweets as well as with meals.
Kaga, in the prefecture of Ishikawa, Chubu
Miyazaki is located in the middle of Japan, facing Japan Sea. During Edo era, the lord of Kaga encouraged craftsmanship, resulting in excellent lacquer utensils (Wajima-nuri) and elegant tissues for kimono (Kaga-yuzen). He also encouraged the production of green tea.
It brought prosperity to the city of Kaga, so that it could afford to feed one million inhabitants, compared to the current population of two hundred thousands. People in this region inherited this expertise and are still producing crafts and tea. The region also has a luxury hot spring area since the 6th century. This ancient resort area has a Japanese retro ambiance.
The producer is Maruhachi Seichajo Co., Ltd., who is famous for Boucha, especially, a dedicated tea to our precedent Showa emperor.
Yamanaka Onsen, image by Inside Japan Tours
The amount of leaf should be adapted according to the desired taste: it should be around 2 heaping teaspoons (6 grams) of Boucha for 260ml (8.8oz) of spring water. The infusion should last thirty seconds in water at 100ºC (212ºF).
For cold Boucha, put 3 tea spoon of tealeaves (9 grams) in a tea bag, pour one liter (33.8oz) of spring water with the tea bag in a bottle and let it cool in a refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
If you have questions about Japanese green teas, please don’t hesitate to contact us!