There are 3 great origins of binchotan in Japan: Kishu, Tosa, Hyuga. Each name comes from the old name of the production area. Kishu is the ancient name of southern Wakayama Prefecture, Tosa is present Kochi, and Hyuga is the current Prefecture of Miyazaki. The best known of the binchotan is the one originating from Kishu, as it might be at the origin of the Japanese binchotan.
<p>Tosa binchotan charcoal is contemporary. Indeed, its regular production began only a hundred years ago. The ubamegashi and arakashi oaks present in the mountainside forests are owned by the state or by private persons who grant the concession for given periods and areas and thus avoid disastrous deforestation. The production of binchotan requires 20 days. Wood taken from the mountains is cut into 170 cm sections. It is then placed in an oven made of earth and bricks: the "bai". This kiln is 360 cm high, 340 cm wide and 400 cm deep. The fresh wood is placed there and the fire is on. The oven door is closed, reducing the oxygen supply. The combustion is almost zero, the green wood will dry and dehydrate slowly, for 10 days. Then, the fire is activated by always limiting the supply of oxygen. The combustion is done at low temperature. This step is called carbonization and will last about 10 days. The oven temperature then reaches up to 1300 ° C and higher. <br />After the last 10 days, the oven door is open. Air enters and fuels combustion. This primordial step takes the name of activation or "kamadashi". The temperature at the entrance of the oven easily displays 600 to 700 ° C.<br />It will then take twelve hours of work to empty the incandescent furnace with special poles. The binchotan charcoalcoal is then born, almost pure carbon. By striking it, it expresses a metallic sound, even crystalline. Its density is such that it is very heavy in the hand and almost as strong as steel.<br />Binchotan is commonly called white charcoal because of the whitish color of its surface. This is due to rapid cooling as soon as it leaves the oven because it is covered with a clear grayish mixture of earth and sand and ash. This method stops its incandescence.</p> <p><strong>What are the strengths of binchotan ?<br /></strong>It is extremely dense and porous, its combustion is very slow and thus allows a use of several hours, it heats up at very high temperatures, it does not produce smoke or an unpleasant odor, it is of considerable hardness, it can be used several times unlike all other coals. Used in cooking, it gives food subtle and delicious flavors and fragrances thanks to its powerful infrared radiation. It is very popular for eels and grilled fish on the barbecue, for duck and beef ... It is a pledge of quality proven and showcased in the famous and high quality grill restaurants in Japan.<br />It cooks food in direct contact on its surface. The cooking is instant, and the food is not burned.</p>
<p>Lau binchotan charcoal from Laos is made from wood of twig, Cratoxylum pruniflorum, Hypericaceae family. This charcoal, of excellent quality, of a slightly lower density, has a different heating power, slightly lower than the Japanese binchotan. Its manufacturing method is identical to that of Japanese Tosa binchotan. <br />The creators of the Lau company were trained in Kôchi (Tosa) both for the manufacture of Lau binchotan and for the realization of the ovens. <br />For comparison, the hardness of Tosa binchotan is 17 to 20 degrees against 16 to 18 degrees for that of Lau Binchotan. <br />Our supplier has obtained, for its Lau Binchotan, special permission from the Japanese Patent Office on the process of making Lau binchotan charcoal from the Lau tree Cratoxylum pruniflorum, to produce the charcoal corresponding to characteristics required for the Japanese binchotan.</p>