Hojicha roasted green tea from Japan, cacao nibs, cardamom, ginger root, cassia, black peppercorns, natural chocolate flavor, cloves, and cardamom oil.
Blend No. 31: Sip at 11:59:59PM for a happy New Year.
For best flavor, bring spring or freshly drawn filtered water to a boil (212 degrees). Steep 1 sachet or 2 rounded tsp (3.2 g) loose leaf for five minutes and enjoy-joy-joy-joy.
- Select an Ingredient:
- black peppercorns
- cacao nibs
- Cassia Bark
- ginger root
Known as the “King of Spices,” the best black pepper is grown in southern India near Cochin. The berries of the perennial black pepper vine are harvested when unripe, then sun-dried until they blacken. Quality is determined by oil content and appearance. Black pepper is spicy, pungent and often has a light salty characteristic—an important feature in chai blends. After the black pepper has been harvested, it is steam distilled to produce the essential oil.
Kerala is a state in Southwest India, located along the Malabar Coast, famed for its spices dating back to ancient times. Today it is the region from which we source our black pepper and sarsaparilla.
Cacao nibs come from the Theobroma cacao tree and are one of the main raw ingredients used for making chocolate. Whole cacao beans are shelled, fermented and then broken down into chopped bits of cocoa seeds. These nibs then go through an additional roasting step, resulting in a more flavorful and less bitter tasting cacao nib.
The Dominican Republic is located on the island of Hispanolia in the Carribean, sharing its border with Haiti. While cacao, coffee and sugar combined to make up most of the country's economy thirty years ago, cacao now accounts for just 3% of the country's GDP. We source our cacao nibs during the main harvest between the months of April and July.
Seductively fragrant, with floral notes and a menthol bite, cardamom is a bush in the ginger family that grows to 10 feet high. Popular in Persian and Indian cooking, it is also widely used in tea and chai blends. We believe the best is produced by indigenous Mayan farmers in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Its pale yellow flowers turn into clusters of cherries that are dried. These whole green pods or the dark seeds inside are removed to spice tea.
Alta Verapaz Department
Located in north central Guatemala, this area once helped form the core of the Maya Civilization. Now it is home to half of the production of cardamom in the world. Harvest season takes place between the months of June to February.
Often called cinnamon, cassia is a spice with a significantly different flavor profile than true cinnamon. Grown in subtropical climates, its taste varies widely by origin, and quality is judged by the volatile oil content. In Kerinci in Sumatra, cassia bark is stripped and dried year round from a revolving crop of 10 – 12 year old trees that are continuously replanted. Cassia is sweet, hot and spicy and adds fragrance to our chai blend.
Sumatra is located amongst the Sundar Islands in western Indonesia and is the country's second largest island after Borneo. Marco Polo was said to have visited in 1292. The cinnamon trees need to be more than ten years old before their bark is suitable for harvest.
Cloves come from the dried flower of a subtropical evergreen tree that can grow to heights of 40 feet in Madagascar, Southern India, and Indonesia. Dried in the sun, these buds become their signature dark reddish black. Cloves are highly aromatic and are used in mulling spices, cooking, and enlivening various tea blends.
The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar separated from the Indian subcontinent and remained close to Africa after the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. Unlike the breakup of most superbands, Madagascar retained its uniqueness with over 90% of its wildlife being found nowhere else on earth. The clove harvest happens from March to May.
Ginger, used in many cultures to enliven food and drink, is also known for its healthful qualities. A light stimulant, it can treat cold symptoms and sore throat. Ginger is cultivated most prominently in India, China, Indonesia and West Africa. After the plant flowers and the leaves die off, the roots are dug, washed, peeled and sun dried. Ginger’s spicy-sweet flavor adds spark and complexity to our Big Hibiscus.
India is located in Southern Asia and is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations (Indus Valley shout out). It is a country rich in history, culture, religion, geography and so much more, and has been famous since ancient times as a source for spices that continue to be coveted around the world. Our ginger comes from several regions in India and is harvested multiple times during the year.
Japanese Roasted Green Tea
Hojicha is the biproduct of making Sencha and Bancha and comes from the discarded misshapen leaves and stems during those teas' production. An extra step is added, through roasting the tea, which creates a very different flavor profile and makes for a lightly caffeinated cup. Deceptively rich, with notes of honey, cacao and wood.
Kagoshima Prefecture is located on the southern most part of Kyushu Island and is the second largest tea producing prefecture in Japan (after Shizuoka). It is also famous for Sakurajima, Japan's most active volcano that is pretty hard to miss if you spend anytime in Kagoshima City. Harvest time for the tea used to make Houjicha happens from April through September.