Friday, February 3, 2012

Houroku - Ceramic Roasting Pot

焙烙    houroku    baking pan; parching pan
This is a Houroku - a ceramic roasting pot.
According to Keiko-san of But Tea blog, the Houroku roaster has been in use since the early Meiji period (September 1868 - July 1912).
In the Taisho period (July 1912 - December 1926) the Houroku was generally used as a cooking implement - roasting everything from tea leaves to nuts and seeds. Roasters are a great way to perk up old tea leaves. Roast them in the Houroku then brew the tea leaves.
This Houroku is from Shizuoka, Japan can be purchased from a store called They do not mail overseas. You may have to  contact the store in Japan and see what their options might be.
This was a gift from Keiko-san. She sent it to me via the mail. Be advised that the roaster is very fragile.
This particular roaster is hand-made of porous, unglazed clay from Lake Biwa in the Shiga Prefecture, Japan. 

Lake Biwa
The clay from Lake Biwa is rich in iron oxide and has far-infrared effects. The roaster enriches itself from frequent uses and will patina with time. It is a tool primarily used to roast tea. Kuki-cha is roasted to make Houji-cha.
 Kuki-cha is a twig tea (bo -cha) that is obtained green so that it can be roasted on a per use basis. Houji-cha is usually a roasted Japanese green tea.


Brewed cup of Houji-cha

Cautionary Handling
  • Handle with care as the clay is porous and fragile
  • Do not wash the roaster with soap or any detergent
  • You may rinse it with water but dry it thoroughly - AIR DRY OVERNIGHT
  • Again the clay is porous so do not soak it in water as it will absorb the water and WILL need to dry out completely
  • DO NOT USE a damp or wet roaster over the fire/flame - IT WILL BREAK. Air dry it thoroughly before use.
  • The handle gets hot so be careful - have an extra pot-holder on hand to prevent any accidents
  • Allow the roaster to cool down completely before storing it away. 
  • The Houroku is fragile - so store it away in it's own shelf or drawer.
  • Do not store it with food items like spices or dried seafood or any item that has a fragrance - like incense or potpourri  - the clay will absorb the scent. best to use it for tea only.

How to use the Houroku
  1. Over a flame or hot coals, warm the roaster for about 3 minutes
  2. Turn the flame down and add the tea leaves into the roaster
  3. Roast the leaves over the flame until slightly smokey and fragrant
  4. Turn the flame off and continue the roasting with the residual heat from the roaster
  5. Pour the tea leaves through the handle onto a surface or directly into the teapot

According to Keiko-san, the brewed tea leaves will expand and can be eaten.


  1. Wow,Arigatou
    Thank you for loving your roaster.

    Old tea will be good by light roasting.
    I hope that you have a good tea (^^)

  2. Looking forward to roasting it over my brazier/hibachi stove. I will keep you posted on the progress and the taste test of the teas you sent me.
    Thank you again.


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