Hojicha roasted green tea, yerba santa, yaupon, sansho pepper and sage.
Blend No. 1603 – The street number for Otoko, the 12-seat Japanese restaurant located at the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas, helmed by acclaimed chef Yoshi Okai and our collaborator on this tea blend.
For best flavor, bring 8 oz of freshly drawn filtered water to a boil. Steep 1 tsp of loose tea for 5 minutes and enjoy while planning your next trip to visit Otoko in Austin.
- Select an Ingredient:
- Sansho Pepper
- yerba santa
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.
Sage is a perennial, evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean region and has been established in many places throughout the world. It is a member of the mint family and has a long history of medicinal and culinary applications. Beloved for its savory flavor, it appears in many European cuisines, particularly Italian, Balkan, and Middle Eastern.
Turkey is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world and bridges Europe and Asia. Turkey is nestled in the Anatolia Peninsula and is home to many cultivated plants since the introduction of agriculture. In addition to its vast biodiversity, Turkey has a diverse culture influenced by a blend of other cultures during migration between the two continents.
Sansho pepper is harvested from the Japanese prickly ash, which is closely related to Sichuan pepper. Unlike Sichuan, however, Sansho pepper has a distinctive green color, beautiful citrus notes and tasting notes of squash blossoms, orange marmalade and thai basil. Though don’t be mistaken, Sansho still has a signature spicy sensation said to increase one’s appetite by leaving a cooling sensation on the tongue. Traditionally used in Japanese cuisine as a condiment for unagi (grilled eel), sansho is also one of the components of an authentic shichimi togarashi, or Japanese seven spice.
An island located in the northwest Pacific Ocean, Japan is the eleventh-most populous country in the world, and one of the most densely populated and urbanized.
Yaupon is the only caffeinated plant native to North America. It grows wild as a shrub and thrives in arid, desert regions in the south, especially Texas. Called “beloved tree” by the Cherokees, yaupon has a long history in native cultures and was long celebrated as a medicinal and tea of status. Over the past decade, yaupon has made a comeback as a caffeinated herbal infusion for its distinct malty flavor profile and its potential as a sustainable crop. The particular yaupon we source has tasting notes of browned butter, bark chips and roasted coconut.
Cat Springs, Texas
Cat Spring, Texas is one of the first German-American settlements in the state and was named for a nearby spring where a puma was killed by one of the German immigrants. The community was the location of Texas' first agricultural society, and was the site of a station on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad established in the 1890s. Cat Springs is home to CatSpring Yaupon, a wonderful group of farmers who are reviving this distinctive caffeinated herb for tea.
Yerba Santa translates from Spanish to “sacred herb”, named by Spanish missionaries who were impressed with the plant’s beneficial qualities. This aromatic, evergreen shrub is native to the southwest United States and northern Mexico and its leaves have been used in traditional herbalism for centuries. Its flavor is unique with notes of pine resin, clover and cotton candy.
The United States of America is a North American nation considered to be the world’s leading economic, cultural, and military power. It is made up of 50 states and is the third most populous country in the world. The US is also home to some of the most diverse landscape around, being home to natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon (one of the seven wonders of the world) and urban epicenters such as New York City.