Translated by Sandy Lau
Taste Hojicha Japanese Tea And Sweets At Morinoen In Ningyocho, Tokyo
Written by Kunihisa
Hojicha is a popular type of roasted Japanese green tea with a high fragrant and low caffeine level. At Morinoen, a hojicha specialty shop in Tokyo, you can buy, drink, and eat exquisite roasted green tea desserts.
Morinoen: A 100-Year-Old Tea House
Morinoen is a tea house with over 100 years of history, specializing in hojicha, or roasted green tea. The shop is on Amazake Yokocho, a street that covers a stretch of land in Ningyocho, Nihonbashi in Tokyo. The shop has no door, allowing customers to easily enter. It is filled with a nostalgic atmosphere. The Japanese teas of various sizes here attract visitors and have created loyal customers.
Shops that specialize in hojicha in Japan are rare. The owner of the shop, who loves hojicha, opened the business with hopes of introducing people to the taste of the high-quality roasted tea leaves.
The teas sold in the shop are high-grade tea leaves from areas such as Kyoto, Shiga, and Kagoshima. Over 30 types of teas are brewed every day by the owner personally. Morinoen also carries a selection of products like sencha (non-powdered green tea), green tea, and black tea while mainly focusing on hojicha. Duty-free services are also offered to international tourists.
About Hojicha and Its Health Benefits
Hojicha is a type of Japanese tea made from sencha that is roasted over high heat. Its leaves have a light brown color and a unique aroma. This is caused by the loss of caffeine contained in the tea leaves after roasting.
The advantage to hojicha is its low caffeine. It is soothing for the stomach and you can drink it before sleeping.
On the other hand, hojicha is lower in nutritional content compared to green tea or sencha as it is partially lost from the roasting. Due to that fact, Morinoen has developed blends of tea with the nutrients from other ingredients. These blends are Kuwaba Hojicha, Shoga Hojicha, and Yakuzen Hojicha. The features of hojicha remain the same while increasing health benefits.
Morinoen Café: Japanese Sweets on the Second Floor
Hojicha Anmitsu (1,080 yen including tax) Picture courtesy of Morinoen
Morinoen doesn’t only sell tea. Their café, where you can eat dessert infused with tea, is also very popular. In particular, the parfaits, cakes, and dorayaki (*1) here made with hojicha have received high ratings, and the café even has been covered by the media. Hojicha is less bitter than matcha (powdered green tea), making it easy to enjoy it mixed into sweets.
The second floor also has a tea roastery where customers can surround themselves with the fragrance of hojicha. Have tea and eat sweets in this calming space filled with the scent of hojicha. The café's interior will be sure to charm you.
*1 Dorayaki: a traditional Japanese sweet of red bean paste sandwiched in between soft, sweet pancakes.
Hojicha Ice Cream Parfait
The shop’s most popular item is the Hojicha Parfait (1,080 yen including tax). You will understand why it is is a favorite from the first bite.
Start from the cream sitting at the very top. Next, eat the monaka (wafer sandwich) and shiratama (rice flour dumpling). The entire dessert has a hojicha-flavored base.
The parfait also has large chestnuts, mandarin oranges, hojicha-flavored Nagasaki castella, agar-agar, ice cream, and syrup. Various flavors and textures will mix together into one bite, making this a charming Japanese-style dessert.
A Summer Treat! Hojicha Kakigori
Hojicha Kakigori 1,609 yen (Photo by Morinoen)
Popular on the summer menu is the ice cold kakigori (shaved ice) dessert series.
A thick hojicha syrup was created by combining ingredients from Tanegashima and the shop’s best hojicha so customers could enjoy the fragrant smell of hojicha from the shaved ice. This syrup is poured over the sparkling ice, making picturesque, delicious kakigori.
It is a simple dessert but is filled with high-quality ingredients.
The Seasonal Matcha Sweets Series
Matcha Parfait & Warabimochi Set (1,420 yen including tax) Picture courtesy of Morinoen
Starting from October, the shop begins serving matcha sweets. This dessert series includes a matcha parfait, matcha warabimochi (bracken starch dumpling), and matcha zenzai (red bean soup). During this time you can try both hojicha and matcha.
Flavorful Hojicha Soft Serve On the First Floor
If you don’t have time to sit down and eat a dessert in the café, then buy the Hojicha Soft Serve Ice Cream on the first floor! The hojicha flavor soft serve ice cream is made with the shop’s best-selling tea leaves. The faint bitterness from the tea lingers in your mouth, making it addictively delicious.
Popular products at the shop are dorayaki, Nagasaki castella, and yokan (a Japanese jellied dessert) made with hojicha. These products taste amazing while you drinking hojicha or eating hojicha sweets!
Enjoy Hojicha Sweets in Tokyo
Hojicha is popular in both Japan and overseas. When in Tokyo, be sure to make a visit to Morinoen to envelope yourself in the deep fragrance of hojicha.
In cooperation with Morinoen