Hojicha Co, the first brand to specialize in hojicha, a Japanese roasted green tea, has launched its first store targeting the North American and Asian markets in Toronto.
“We are excited to finally unveil the Hojicha Co brand,” said co-founder Danielle Geva. "There is an opportunity for a broader audience to discover and enjoy the benefits of hojicha, and we are looking forward to introduce our roasted green tea products to the world."
Hojicha has taken the Japanese food industry by storm with over 90 product launches in the recent year, including food products from popular brands such as Haagen-Dazs and Starbucks. According to market research firm Intage Inc, hojicha’s share of the sugar-free tea products in Japan has already reached 3.5%, and sales have been increasing steadily year over year.
“The hojicha boom in Japan may quickly spread internationally and could overtake matcha in the near future,” said Mitsue Konishi, Senior Innovation Analyst of Consumer at GlobalData.
The duo behind newly founded Hojicha Co, who are partners in both business and life, is a pair of marketers who have made a living out of helping the most promising technology companies take their products to market. The idea to bring hojicha to North America was sparked during the partners’ recent trip to Japan, when the two co-founders were offered hojicha at a small teahouse in the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka. They had never encountered a green tea with such a pleasant aroma before, and were eager to share the beverage with friends and family.
Hojicha tea originated in Kyoto in the 1920s when a tea merchant tried to make the most of leftover tea leaves, stems, stalks, and twigs by roasting them over charcoal. Shortly after hojicha was invented, tea shops across Japan began roasting green tea as their customers were enchanted by its deep smoky aroma and round flavor. The recent popularity of hojicha may have been driven by the tea’s many health benefits, some of which include: lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and relieving stress.
Furthermore, hojicha’s roasting process removes virtually all of the caffeine content in green tea, preventing the jitteriness that coffee drinkers experience. After sampling hojicha from over a dozen tea fields around the Kyoto region, the Hojicha Co team found two distinctive loose tea leaf products that cater to tea beginners and tea connoisseurs alike: Hojicha Dark Roast and Hojicha Gold Roast.
The company is already working on developing and launching additional hojicha products in the coming months, and throughout 2019. “Our goal is to source the most authentic, high quality hojicha from Japan,” said co-founder Francois Mathieu. “We have a comprehensive roadmap of hojicha related products that we want to introduce to consumers in North America and beyond.”
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