Hojicha is a prevalent type of Japanese green tea. It may not look like green tea because of its colour; moreover, its characteristics and preparation method are also different. In fact, in the Japanese language, "hoji" means roast, and "cha" means tea. Hojicha refers to any roasted Japanese green tea. Based on which type of tea is used and which part is being processed, Hojicha of various types and grades are available. Hojicha is reddish-brown because of how it is processed. It has a sweet flavour, described as roasted nuts or caramel. During the roasting process, its bitterness is removed.
Hojicha originated in the 1920s, in Kyoto. At that time and till now, waste prevention was a part of Japanese culture because Japan was an island with limited resources. A tea merchant experimented with making tea from the leftover leaves twigs and stems by roasting them. As a result, he succeeded in making Hojicha. Its appealing aroma and enjoyable flavor became the reasons for its popularity. Shortly after tea shops all over Japan started to attract customers with the deep smoky smell and sweet taste of Hojicha, and day by day, it becomes a high demand.
Plants are cultivated in open fields, and they are exposed to sunlight in all stages of their lifecycle. They undergo rapid growth. The first harvesting, sencha, is done from the upper shoots while the other collection, Bancha, is done from the lower leaves. Bancha includes Hojicha and some other teas as well. The lower leaves are more abundant and coarse than the upper ones. Hachijuhachiya is marked as year's first tea picking day allocated on the 88th day of spring, according to the Japanese calendar. This is the time near early May. Sencha and Bancha leaves are harvested together and afterward sorted based on their size and shape.
Mostly lower-grade tea leaves are used to prepare Hojicha; therefore, it is not as costly as matcha. Its earthy aroma is also more attractive as compared to the grass like the aroma of other green teas. Hojicha is prepared from whole leaves, pieces of leaves, stems, and veins of plants. After the first harvest of green tea leaves i.e., Sencha or in some cases after the second harvest the leftover leaves, stem, and twigs are used to prepare Hojicha. The leaves are steamed to stop the oxidation inside them. Cooking is done within 12-20 hours after picking. The steaming process is quite short and lasts up to 15- 20 seconds. At this stage, the nutritional components are retained inside the tea. Later they are dried using the rolling method, which releases the flavor components of tea. Finally, they are roasted in a porcelain pot at about 200 Celsius, and they cooled down quickly. This process decreases the amount of catechin and caffeine in the leaves regardless of the tea type, making it less astringent and bitter. It also makes it more light and soothing in taste. During the roasting process, there are some chemical changes inside the tea leaves, reducing the caffeine. If Hojicha is made from stem and veins i.e., Kuki Hojicha, it has even less caffeine because caffeine is found in the leaves.
HOJICHA LOOSE LEAF, HOJICHA TEA BAG OR HOJICHA POWDER ?
Hojicha is available in the market as whole leaves and powder form. Depending on your purpose and the taste profile you like to achieve, there is a variety of Hojicha you can purchase.
For iced tea, and drinking on its own ,we recommend steeping Hojicha whole leaf if you have the time, because in this form it has a more complicated profile, and you can enjoy its original taste and leach out the tea's maximum benefits.
• TASTE PROFILE: It is slightly sweet and smoky with a full and complex flavor.
• TIME: IT has a longer brewing time as compared to the powder form
• BEST USED FOR: Cold brew & iced tea.
Grounded Hojicha tea leaves (Deluxe Tea bag)
At Teaspoons & Co., we offer hojicha deluxe tea bags. Hojicha whole leaf is grinded up into finer tea leaves. There is 12g of hojicha per teabag! Perfect for milk teas since the flavor is more potent. If you want a STRONG tea flavor, then you need to try our deluxe tea bag!
Using the Hojicha powder is the easiest and quickest way to enjoy the pleasant aroma and sweet taste of Hojicha. So it will be the best option if you instantly want to enjoy a cup of tea during busy office hour or in any tiring travel.
TASTE PROFILE: Hojicha powder is creamy, nutty, and lighter in flavor.
TIME: It has a quick and instant brewing time. Hojicha powder dissolves quickly in hot water.
BEST USED FOR: Use in tea-infused baked goods, e.g., pastries, bread, and on-the-go milk tea.