Have you ever wanted to drink less coffee, but found yourself missing the taste of coffee? Us too! (no, not really, we are all tea junkies here) Well, the blender we use at Loose Leaf Club came up with the idea of combining Houjicha which is a popular Japanese green tea and Tisano Cacao to create our exclusive tea this month, Cocoa Houjicha. Traditional Houjicha has a dark color due to the roasting process, which smooths out the bitterness and brings out beautiful aromatic, savory and smoky flavors. The roasting process also reduces the amount of caffeine to be less than decaffeinated tea.The warm, sweet flavors with savory undertones are reminiscent of salted caramel. The Tisano Cacao adds a rich dark chocolate aroma with delicate chocolate flavor tones lingering on the palate. It is made with 100% organic Tisano Cacao shells. Check out www.tisano.com for more information on their company.

For the Houjicha used in this blend, we chose Toshiaki Kinezuka of the The Kinezuka Family (NaturaliTea). Toshiaki with his wife Kazue and their three children Ayumi, Tamiko and Kazuki run a small, 2 hectare, completely organic tea farm in Shizuoka, Japan. Their fields are located in Nakayama Village, up in the mountains behind the city of Fujieda. They are about 200km southeast of Tokyo. The Kinezuka Family is considered one of Japan’s pioneers for all-natural tea farming. Toshiaki Kinezuka started farming with all-natural methods back in 1976, so the farm has been grown with organic practices for 38 years. This is a great achievement in the midst of Japan’s heavy chemical use in the tea industry. His daughter, Ayumi, initially emigrated to the United States, but returned to take over the family farm and to keep Japanese tea production alive. She works with her brother, Kazuki, on the farms, while her sister Tamiko and mother Kazue take care of quality control for the finished tea and logistics for shipping.

The extra beauty behind the scenes of this exclusive tea for the month of October is the marriage of ingredients from farmers who are very conscious about the land, and the care of their employees and families. I hope I was able to convey the special qualities of this tea. I leave it to you to smell, taste, savor and enjoy our Cocoa Houjicha! The word is out…

Happy Sipping,

Founder and Chief Tea Taster
Loose Leaf Club