Hojicha: The Roasted Japanese Green Tea

Erika Marty

Hojicha, also written as houjicha, is a unique type of Japanese tea. It’s a roasted green tea that boasts flavors more commonly found in oolong tea and black tea rather than traditional green teas. It’s often consumed in the evening as it has a low caffeine content and can be brewed as a hot tea or an iced tea. Learn more about hojicha and its savory, roasted flavor with hints of vanilla and caramel in this brief guide.

What Is Hojicha?

In Japan, most green teas — including matcha, gyokuro, sencha, and genmaicha — are steamed during the drying process. These teas have notes of floral flavor with umami and seaweed hints. They tend to be more vegetal and herbaceous than roasted Chinese green teas. Hojicha is one of the rare Japanese green teas that are roasted rather than steamed. The result is a bold green tea with mild caramel notes and toasted undertones.

hojicha tea leaves

How Is Hojicha Made?

Hojicha is typically made using bancha tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis tea plant — leaves that are harvested during the final harvest of the season. Hojicha loose leaf tea is largely cultivated in the major tea-producing regions of Japan including Kyoto.

The leaves are hand-picked in the fall and withered in sunlight before drying. The drying process involves a combination of high temperatures and fans that reduce the moisture content of the leaves. As a green tea, the tea leaves are not oxidized but feature a reddish-brown color due to the roasting process. While the tea is usually made with tea leaves, it can also be made using kukicha, or the stems from the tea plants.

The tea leaves are roasted using charcoal or sandpits and the high heat turns the leaves a deep brown color. The heating process removes much of the caffeine content in the tea leaves and provides a rich coffee-like flavor thanks to the increased presence of tannins. Since the amount of caffeine in this Japanese tea is low, it’s often a popular choice for people who are looking to replace a cup of coffee with less-caffeinated tea.

brewed hojicha tea

How to Brew Hojicha Tea

  1. Preheat a kyusu or teapot using hot water. To do this, pour hot water into the teacups and teapot and swirl vigorously. Discard the hot water.
  2. Use two teaspoons of hojicha loose tea or one hojicha tea bag for every eight ounces of water. It’s best to place the loose leaf tea in a tea strainer for steeping.
  3. Heat water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and pour into the kyusu. Add the tea strainer and let the tea steep for 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on the desired flavor strength.
  4. Remove the tea strainer with the roasted tea and pour the tea into a teacup. Enjoy!

Indulge Your Taste Buds With A New Green Tea Flavor

Houjicha green tea is a roasty and toasty green tea that stands out among other vegetal green tea varieties. It looks and tastes like a black tea, but has far less caffeine so it can be enjoyed at all hours of the day. Try hojicha green tea today to discover a roasted, unoxidized tea that delivers a new take on green tea flavor. You can brew it as a hot tea or take things to the next level with our creamy and indulgent hojicha latte recipe.

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Erika Marty

As a digital nomad, I get to work from anywhere in the world and discover new teas every week. When I'm not working, you can find me mountain biking, hiking, and petting every stray dog I meet.

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