Have you ever tried hojicha before? Maybe you’ve had it without knowing? If you’re not sure, you can read our article below to find out all about the special tea that is hojicha!
The special preparation of Hojicha
Compared to other Japanese green teas such as matcha or genmaicha, the leaves that eventually become hojicha are submitted to quite an original process. Unlike most Japanese green teas, which are steamed and then dried, hojicha leaves are specially roasted in a porcelain pot at a high temperature, over hot charcoal. This gives them the quite distinct colour of a reddish brown. But don’t worry, just because they’re brown does not mean hojicha is not green tea. More importantly, this tradition, originating in Kyoto, gives hojicha a unique taste and special properties which you won’t find with another green tea.
The unique taste of Hojicha
Due hojicha being roasted, its taste and smell are given a more particular character. When making hojicha, you can most easily identify it by an almost distinctive nuttier aroma. As well as this, hojicha tea leaves are reinvigorated by an almost ‘caramel-like’ flavour. This is in contrast to the more traditional green teas like sencha and bancha, which have an astringent bitter taste. This makes hojicha an ideal tea for smaller children, or anyone who is less comfortable with the often harsh vegetative tones of usual green tea. But this should definitely not dissuade you if you are used to your usual strong matcha taste. The sweeter flavours of hojicha make for a unique taste that can be easily appreciated by any tea lover. In fact, it is now one of our favourite teas at our office.
The further benefit of Hojicha
As much as hojicha may also retain some of the health benefits of green tea, a major plus we see is the almost negligible amount of caffeine. This can make it especially nice for anyone looking to enjoy green tea without having a strongly adverse impact on their caffeine levels. In fact, this very property makes hojicha the green tea of choice served to young children and the elderly in Japan. Of course, if none of these criteria apply to you, it can always be a soothing drink before going off to bed.
Perhaps we’ve caught your interest with our description of the tea and you’d now like to see how you could go about trying some on your own, or maybe you’ve already bought some hojicha and decided to skip straight to this section. Either way, here is our advice on how we think you can best make your hojicha at home:
Caution to all non-glazed-teapot-using tea lovers:
As a preliminary word of caution to any green tea lovers who use their favourite non-glazed pot whenever they make their usual fix, we suggest in this (at least first) instance to preferably use a glazed pot. This is due to the hojicha leaves having an impact on subsequent brews, and hence likely altering the taste of a lovely sencha or genmaicha, or other tea (we don’t judge) you may have planned to drink in the future.
Our experts recommend a dosage of 1.27 grams of hojicha leaves per 50ml of water. This comes to three flat tablespoonfuls per 200ml of water (one mug). Unlike most green teas, where boiling water is ill-advised for brewing, hojicha needs a very high temperature of water to properly infuse. This infusion time can take anywhere between 30 seconds and three minutes, however, 1:30 is recommended for an optimal taste.
Once your tea has infused, pour it into your cup, and enjoy the warm taste and aromas of your freshly-brewed hojicha tea!