Houjicha

Houjicha is a Japanese roasted green tea. According to Wikipedia, houjicha is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal. So that explains the reddish color and the smoked scent of this tea.

Before my Japanese friend head back to Japan, I ordered another bunch of Japanese snacks and teas. I got one pack of sencha, matcha and a 20 pack of houjicha. I didn’t get the tea box because we didn’t want a bulky packet but she put it in a zip locked bag so the freshness is still kept.

I like the color and design of the tea pack but bf has mistaken it for … condoms! >.<! I guess it’s because of the glossy sachet packaging. Hmm..  What do you think?

Anyways, the brand name of this houjicha is Oi Cha Ito En. According to a friend, this is one of the famous beverage brands in Japan.

Steeping time is 30 seconds to 1 minute in 85 degrees C water.

Since this tea has a lower amount of caffeine compared to other teas like sencha and matcha, you can drink this before going to bed. When it comes to taste I find it unique because of the roasted smokey taste. I’m not sure if my description fits but just imagine sitting at a bonfire and smell the scent of burning dried leaves.

 

 

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Cute design. But please this is not condom! 😛

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Hojicha
Reddish brown in color just like autumn

Genmaicha

Another tea has been added to my collection. Genmaicha is a Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice. This type of tea is also known as the popcorn tea because you can hear a popping sound during the steep. I’ve been ordering this type of tea from my Japanese friend every time she travels to her motherland.

I did a bit of a research (Google-ling) about this tea. The brand is Seiyu Acknowledged by Everyone. Sounds a bit weird to me, but at least it is acknowledged not only by the Japanese folks but everyone… Lol. But seriously, that is the brand name. Google does not have enough information about the brand. Maybe the Japanese Google has more?

Anyways, personally I find this tea mild in taste compared to sencha and matcha. It has also a sweet and nutty taste. I think genmaicha would be the perfect tea for the first time green tea drinkers because of the subtle taste of tea.

This pack of tea comes in 20 teabags perfect for people like me who are always on the go or for those who does not have teapots. Brewing time is just 30 seconds in 84 degrees C water. You can find this on Ebay too, I think. If not ask the store owners who sells Japanese products. If you are living in Norway, you can find genmaicha in the tea shops.

 

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The box.

 

Instructions in Japanese. Of course.

 

Not much waiting. Only half a minute!

Lovely Finds

Who said that you won’t find nice stuff at a thrift store? I should have done this before, visit the thrift store near my place. They have lots of cheap and awesome stuff that I like (and need). Last Tuesday, I went to the Fretex (The Salvation Army) shop near where I live. I didn’t think of buying anything, I only wanted to check what they have. I also find it relaxing to go inside a thrift store.

It was my first time to go inside this store. It looks small from the outside but very spacious inside. I first checked out the furniture department and found vintage sofas and coffee tables. Then I went to the glass/figurine/porcelain department and there I found Japanese tea cups. I got really happy and even happier when I found out how much they cost. So without hesitation, I put them in my basket and I started looking if those tea cups belong to set. Unfortunately, no tea pots to be found but I’m still glad that I found the tea cups. Four of the tea cups are made of clay and the tall white ones with characters on it are semi porcelains. Then on my way to the cashier, I found a sushi set. This is exactly what I need. I’ve been hunting this kind of sushi plates since last year. I feel so lucky!

I only paid 145 NOK for all of these. It’s a steal!

How about you? Found anything interesting in the thrift shop lately? 🙂

Fretex funn
Sushi set, 89 NOK.

Fretex funn

Fretex funn
Tea cup with Japanese (or Chinese?) characters, 10 NOK. I bought 2.

 

Fretex funn
Clay tea cups, 9 NOK each.
Fretex funn
It is from Japan!

Fretex funn

Sencha from Shizouka

My Sencha story

Sencha tea was introduced to me by a friend of mine only 2 years ago. Before that, I used to drink Earl Grey and Lipton. My tea drinking habits were not that healthy before because I used a lot of sugar (because Earl Grey and Lipton teas dry my throat), when I say a lot I mean like 3 or 4 tablespoons of sugar. No wonder I was close to being diabetic. My blood sugar was high so my doctor strongly advised me to cut down on sweets. Good thing that my friend invited me to her place one day and served a pot of Japanese green tea. From the first time in my life, I drank tea without sugar. My throat did not get that dry sensation and the aroma is just really good. I fell in love with Sencha instantly so I ordered my first pack of Sencha from our Japanese friend who is selling snacks and drinks from Japan. Sencha tea is also my very first loose tea.

Moving on,

I received the teas which I ordered from my friend a week ago. This is one of the Japanese teas, Sencha from Shizouka. A pack weighs 100 grams and it costs 85 NOK.

I transferred around 1/4 of the tea leaves into the tea can and kept the rest in the coldest place in the flat. As much as possible I want my tea leaves to remain fresh and to last longer. And then I brew a pot to myself. I used a teaspoon full Sencha leaves and filled the pot with water (80 degrees C) and brewed the tea for max 2 minutes.

When it comes to the taste, it is sweeter and a bit milder compared to other teas that I have tasted. But you can of course adjust the strength by brewing it longer, adding more tea leaves or using hotter water.

 

Sencha tea
Cool green packaging
Sencha tea
Instructions with pictures. Good for those who cannot read kanji like me.
Sencha tea
My tea caddy given by a friend.
Sencha tea
Sencha leaves.


Sencha tea
A peek inside the teapot.
Sencha tea
The set up today.

Simple Joys in Life

The tea set that I ordered from my Japanese friend has finally arrived today. I’m so happy because I have my very own teapot now. I can now brew and serve Sencha tea into an authentic Japanese teaware.

I got this for 67 usd (Shipping is included.)

Set 5
The set is composed of a 0.5 L size of teapot and 5 pcs of teacups with lids.
Set 4
I found a small card in the box. I believe it says about the history of this teaware brand. (I can’t read Japanese. 😦 )
Set 3
The teapot out of the box. The handle is made of plastic.
Arita
From Arita
Set 1
Simply gorgeous.

I opted for a floral blue one, because blue is relaxing for the eyes, in my opinion. When I asked my friend about tea sets, she sent me like 8 pictures of teapots. From the traditional ones to the modern ones and from the simple white and blacks and to the ones with patterns. I like mine simple yet with feminine touch so I chose the one with floral designs.

The tea set looks nicer and more eye catching in person than in the picture. I could say that my friend Eri, made a very good job finding me a tea set.

Japan Feeling in Stavanger

 

Never been in Japan but I’ve learned to love the Japanese culture because of my exposure to their films, tv shows and cartoons. I have also learned some Japanese words because of the anime song themes. I’m also a big fan of Japanese architecture. It’s very neat and minimalistic but definitely an eyecatcher.

Anyway, when I was jogging a week ago, a gate caught my attention. So I stopped. Took a closer look at the house and the gate. Suddenly memories of my teenage years came back and one of  Rurouni Kenshin’s theme song played inside my head. I felt like I’m one of the girls in that anime series. This house definitely gives me a Japan feeling.

What do you think?

 

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How I love to have my picture taken here in a kimono!