Have you ever heard about “Hone” (or Stem Tea)?
“Hone” means bone in Japanese and we often hear the word, “Hone” from tea farmers in Japan.
Today, I would like to bring you a little deeper into the world of Japanese tea!
To give you a straight answer first, “Hone” in Japanese tea world refers to the larger stems (almost twigs) which are harvested together during the Tencha Harvest.
*Tencha is a raw material of Matcha. Tencha is shaded for 4 weeks before harvesting, so the tea grows taller and bigger which makes more likely to be included larger stems during harvest.
Tea farmers call this larger stem (almost twigs) part “Hone” and because it is “Hone” from Tencha,
Sometimes it is also called “Tenbone” (てんぼね).
All the stems and twigs are removed from the tea leaf during Tencha Processing. As a result, the tea after Tencha processing factory will become 2 types
1 dry leaf only – ( Tencha )
2 twigs and stems removed from the leaf ( Hone )
*The sticker “骨” says – Hone
When I saw the sticker “骨” first time, I was super surprised because I had no idea about how bone could relate to tea. This was one of the words which did not across my mind at all.
Now, I feel excited when I find the sticker as it is a little bit rare to see.
After separated into those two types of tea, Tencha will go through another factory where the tea is cut, sorted, and ground which results in Matcha.
On the other hand, Hone (stems and twigs) will usually not be used anymore and usually becomes waste in the end.
However, Obubu does’t want to waste it as it is still a part of the tea, so we decided to roast it to add lovely toasted flavour.
That’s how Tsugumi Kukicha was born.
If you would like to try roasted “Hone” tea, you can find it here.
Before I finish up today, I would like to introduce you one more very interesting “Hone” tea in the world.
It’s a tea called Antlers produced in Malawi.
Antlers tea is also made from only stems.
Because it is simply dried without additional process, the flavours and aromas have been changed naturally, so it is categorized as White tea.
Speaking of White tea, usually, it is made from one bud and two leaves from the top or sometimes just only one bud.
That’s why Antlers white tea is very rare type of tea.
There are many interesting stories around Antlers tea, so please also look at if you are interested!
Rare Tea Company：https://rareteacompany.com/products/malawi-antlers-white-tea