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Product Information Kakegawa Hojicha (roasted green tea) Leaf

Overview:
The hojicha (ほうじ茶) which CHAMART introduces is made from fukamushicha (deep-steamed green tea). The leaves are stored in the fridge for a while to ripen and improve the richness and mellowness of its flavor.  Then, the leaves were roasted by a roasted machine with natural sands at around 180 to 220℃ for about 20 seconds.

The hojicha is single origin and certified as JAS Organic and is produced in Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture.
The tea leaves of hojicha are cultivated by the Chagusaba farming method which was recognized as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the United Nations in 2013.*
This hojicha is eco-friendly tea and CHAMART calls the hojicha “CHAGUSABA tea”.

CHAMART introduces 2 grades of hojicha.

Type of tea: Hojicha (green tea which is steamed and roasted)
Place of production: Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Leaf: Leaf with stem, roasted, slightly hard and larger 
Color of brewed tea: Light brown
Flavor: Rich roasted, mild bitter with a slight acid taste and astringent
Organic farming (certified Organic JAS) *:

Price: Please contact us.
MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity): 10kg x 2 boxes
Net weight: 10kg/1 package (box) x 2 boxes
Gross weight: 12kg/1 package (box) x 2 boxes
Cardboard box size: 425mm × 275mm × 285mm (2kg)
Inner package: Aluminum bag
Storage condition: Avoid storing in places with high temperatures and humidity, and keep out of direct sunlight.

CHAGUSABA farming method *: ◯
The tea is cultivated using the CHAGUSABA farming method in Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) recognized areas.
*The CHAGUSABA farming method is NOT an organic farming method.

Variety: Yabukita
Yabukita is the most popular variety of tea plant in Japan. Yabukita is a well-balanced variety, with a high yield and has a strong umami flavor. Yabukita is suitable for any kind of green tea.

Producers of tea:
A family-run tea garden that manages the production of tea from cultivation through processing. The tea farmer’s teas were awarded at multiple national and international tea contests.

The philosophy of the tea farmers is respect for nature and cultivating tea. They do not want to destroy the ecosystem using agricultural chemicals. Thus, they don’t use any chemicals for their tea cultivation.

They mix Chagusa (grasses around the tea fields) and rice bran with soil and ferment them to make nutrient rich soil. Microscopic organisms work in the mixture and it becomes organic compost. The soil is put into their tea fields.

Making nutrient rich soil with CHAGUSA and rice bran
The photos were taken between August 2022 to January 2023

Putting the soil into the tea field (January 2023)

Tea field with the soil and Chagusa (January 2023)

Processing:
The hojicha is produced from fukamushicha (deep-steamed green tea). The fukamushicha was produced from the leaves plucked in May and stored in the refrigerator for a while. Due to the storing, the tea becomes ripened, and improves the richness and mellowness of its flavor when roasting them by a roasted machine with natural sands at around 180 to 220℃ for about 20 seconds.
Factory processing:
Cooling organic fresh tea leaves in a container → Steaming fresh leaves at around 100℃ by machine → Rolling the tea leaves by machine → Drying the tea leaves by machine → Drying and firing the tea leaves by machine → Selecting tea leaves by machine → Roasting the tea leaves by machine → Inspecting, measuring, packing and shipping

Production place: Kakegawa City, Shizuoka, Japan
Shizuoka Prefecture is a representative tea production area of Japan, located in the center of the main island of Japan. Shizuoka Prefecture has a warm climate with many rivers and is often foggy. These conditions are suitable for tea cultivation. Kakegawa City is one of the major tea production cities in Shizuoka Prefecture.
There are many facilities related to tea such as tea museums, a hotel with a tea theme, etc. in Shizuoka Prefecture.

 

Chamonji on Mt. Awagatake in Kakegawa City

How to use hojicha:
Hojicha leaf can be used for various purposes not only for drinking such as hojicha with milk or mint, but also for cheese risotto, jerry, etc.


*Shizuoka’s Chagusaba farming method (Traditional Tea-grass Integrated System in Shizuoka)
静冈的茶草场农耕法/靜岡的茶草場耕法

The Chagusaba farming method is a farming method traditionally practiced in Shizuoka Prefecture using grass mulch.  It is an example of circular agriculture that harmonizes humans’ relationship with nature to preserve the environment and protect biodiversity.
Shizuoka’s Chagusaba farming method, which is conducted in 4 cities and 1 town including Kakegawa City, has been recognized as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2013.*

Cha (茶) means tea, Gusa/Kusa (草) means grass, and Ba (場) means place. Chagusaba (茶草場) refers to the semi-natural grasslands around tea fields. The Chagusaba farming method makes use of natural resources by cutting pampas or bamboo grasses that grow around the tea fields and laying them in the furrows between the tea fields. These grasses used in the tea fields are called Chagusa (茶草).

Chagusaba and tea field with Chagusa (January 2023)

The grasses laid in the furrows are fluffy and look like a Japanese futon (like a duvet). The Chagusa gradually breaks down to become compost. In addition, the laying of Chagusa makes it difficult for weeds to grow, and prevents moisture evaporation and the soil from being displaced by rainwater.

Tea fields with Chagusa
Left October 2022, Right January 2023

Tea farmers cut pampas or bamboo grasses in autumn and winter, dry them and cut them into smaller pieces. During the winter, tea farmers put the Chagusa into the tea fields. By cutting the tall pampas or bamboo grasses around the tea fields, small animals and plants are given access to sunlight, allowing them to thrive.
Grass mulch farming was once conducted all over Japan. However, it is a burden on tea farmers. Thus, the number of tea farmers who conduct grass mulch methods has been decreasing.

For more information on the Chagusaba farming method, please see the link below.
https://chamart.jp/en/archives/learn_heritage/shizuoka_chagusaba/

*Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
全球重要农业文化遗产/全球重要農業文化遺產

GIAHS are traditional agroecosystems made up of communities that have lived in an intricate relationship with their territory across generations while adapting to changes in society and the environment. They are recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Additionally, the systems are resilient, characterized by remarkable agrobiodiversity, traditional knowledge, invaluable cultures and landscapes, sustainably managed by farmers, herders, fisherfolk, and forest people in ways that contribute to their livelihoods and food security.
FAO has designated a GIAHS related to tea in 2 sites in China, 1 site in Japan and 1 site in South Korea.

*Organic JAS:
The JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) System is based on the Law Concerning Standardization, etc. of Agricultural and Forestry Products (Law No.175, 1950) which governs all the agricultural and forestry products, except for liquors, drugs, quasi-drugs and cosmetics. The Organic JAS system has been further developed with the addition of the JAS Standards for organic livestock products, organic processed foods of animal origin and organic feeds which took effect in November 2005.
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website
https://www.maff.go.jp/e/policies/standard/jas/index.html
https://www.maff.go.jp/j/jas/jas_kikaku/
Japanese tea certified as Organic JAS is considered to conform to equivalent standards as EU produced organic goods and Japanese tea labeled as Organic can be imported to EU if the product satisfies fixed conditions. However, it does NOT mean that the Japanese tea can be certified as an EU organic food.

Reference: 
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), GIAHS Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System
http://www.fao.org/giahs/en/
联合国粮食及农业组织 全球重要农业文化遗产
https://www.fao.org/giahs/zh/
FAO, GIAHS Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System, Traditional Tea-grass Integrated System in Shizuoka 
https://www.fao.org/giahs/giahsaroundtheworld/designated-sites/asia-and-the-pacific/traditional-tea-grass-integrated-system-in-shizuoka/en/

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
Chagusaba in Shizuoka
http://www.chagusaba.jp/english/index.html
文部科学省
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
日本食品標準成分表2020年版(八訂)全体版
https://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/syokuhinseibun/mext_01110.html
公益社団法人静岡県茶業会議所 (2019) 新版 茶の品種