Known for its innovative and exquisite tea blends, Gryphon Tea Company established ROJI, a tea brand that aims to bring a fun, playful and modern twist to traditional Japanese teas. The brand introduces unique and interesting ingredients to its tea blends to complement and showcase the versatility of Japanese teas. This week, we chat with Lim Tian Wee, the founder of Gryphon Tea Company, to understand what inspired him to launch ROJI, and what sets them apart from other Japanese tea brands.
What led you to launch ROJI, and why is it a separate brand from Gryphon?
Tian Wee: Gryphon has been working with Japanese tea farmers for over a decade. In that time, we have come to gain an appreciation for the Japanese tea they produce. We wanted to share the same excitement we have about Japanese tea with a wider audience, and to bring the appreciation of Japanese tea beyond normal notions of what it is. Generally, Japanese tea is considered very traditional and many do not understand it. So we wanted to create a brand that makes Japanese tea approachable even for novices.
What has been the biggest hurdle for ROJI?
The biggest hurdle for us would be getting the Japanese to understand and accept ROJI, even though it’s not a Japanese brand. Perhaps due to their loyalty towards their own local brands, there is great resistance amongst Japanese people to try a brand that is inspired by their tea culture, yet is not Japanese.
What makes ROJI different from other Japanese tea brands?
We are dedicated to promoting Japanese tea culture using Japanese tea, infused with fun and interesting non-Japanese ingredients. Out teas are sourced from Japan, but the added ingredients like dried fruits are sourced from other parts of the world. We try to infuse our teas with innovative ingredients not usually found with Japanese teas like Konpeitō (Japanese sugar candy), popcorn and peach. We hope that our innovative pairings will also appeal to a younger audience of tea drinkers.
What is the one thing you want people to know about Japanese teas?
There is actually a lot of toil and hard work that goes into producing the Japanese teas we know and love. I hope the Japanese farmers get more credit for all their toil and efforts to create such a beautiful product. I have seen how much goes into the cultivation of the tea bushes, and I really do commend them for their hard work.
If you could recommend just 1 tea from ROJI, which will it be?
I would ask everyone to try our Ume Ume flavour! It’s green tea infused with cherry blossoms and plum. It’s a beautiful blend of Japanese flavours that complements the Japanese tea well. You get the floral notes from the cherry blossoms, and fruity notes from the plum, with a base profile of Japanese green tea. It’s truly an experience in a cup.
ROJI’s Xoxolat Houjicha is a spin on the usual Houjicha blends. This particular blend uses Kogane Hojicha as a base, from Asahina, Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan. This is blended with cocoa nibs, cocoa shells and sea salt for a lovely chocolate-y finish! Fun fact: The majority of Japanese green teas come from this prefecture, which accounts for 40% of Japan’s overall tea production! This part of Japan is blessed with a mild climate, which is ideal for the cultivation of exceptional Japanese green tea.
As part of this brand spotlight, , enjoy 10% off all ROJI products at teapasar.com, with the code “XOXOROJI10”. Valid until 23:59, 18th November, 2018
*Discount valid until 23:59 18th November 2018 only.