Hojicha: Everything You Need to Know (And How to Make it Properly)

houjicha tea leaves

Quick Look:

  • ORIGIN: Japan
  • TASTING NOTES: mellow, smooth, sweet, nutty, toasty, smoky, caramel
  • STEEP TIME: 1 to 2 minutes

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What is Hojicha?

Hojicha is a Japanese green tea recognized by its reddish-brown hue, thanks to its high-temperature roasting process. 

Back in 1920, a Kyoto tea merchant was looking for another use for his leftover, unsalable Bancha tea. He roasted it over charcoal in a porcelain pot, thereby creating a deliciously smooth, sweet, and nutty tea that he called Hojicha (which literally translates to “roasted tea”).

While it was traditionally made with Bancha tea leaves, Hojicha can now also be made with Sencha and Kukicha.

Note: hojicha can also be spelled “houjicha”.

How do you pronounce Hojicha?

The proper way to pronounce Hojicha is “hoe-jee-chuh”, with an emphasis on the “ho” syllable. 

What do you need to make Hojicha?

Tea Scoop

This is the perfect tool to help you get the perfectly measured scoop of tea leaves every single time. You won’t regret adding this to your tea arsenal!

Electric Tea Kettle

An electric tea kettle with a temperature setting is a must-have brew gadget for tea drinkers! You can set the temperature to the degree for the perfect brew every time. This kettle is a favorite of ours. Or you can check out our full post on the best electric tea kettles.

Spring Water or Filtered Water

To get the best flavors from your tea, use high-quality water. Don’t use tap water or distilled water!

Tea Pot with Strainer

A teapot with a built-in strainer makes brewing tea so much easier when you’re using loose tea leaves. If you’re an avid tea drinker, you won’t regret buying this tea tool!

Loose Hojicha Tea Leaves

Using loose tea leaves really will give you the best tea-drinking experience. By letting loose leaves steep in the boiled water, they have room to unfurl and release all of their natural aromas.

Tea Cup

This one is up to you! Use whatever cup makes you happy! If you need some inspiration, check out some of our favorite drinkware.

How do you make Hojicha properly?

To make the perfect cup of Hojicha, you will want to use 1.5 teaspoons of tea leaves for each 8-ounce cup. If you don’t have loose-leaf tea, use 1 tea sachet or 1 tea bag.

Tea tip: if you want a stronger flavor, add more tea leaves rather than steeping them for a longer period of time. Most people don’t realize this, but steeping tea too long doesn’t increase the good flavors, it actually can make it more bitter.

Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.

Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.

Step 2: Boil your water.

For an optimal flavor experience, bring the water to about 200°F. This is important, as green tea is delicate and will become quite bitter if it is steeped in water that is too hot. If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, bring your kettle to a full boil, then remove it from the heat and let the water sit for a moment before steeping the tea.

Step 3: Warm up your teapot.

First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your teapot or steeping vessel and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Then you can discard this water in the sink. 

Step 4: Put your Hojicha tea leaves into the teapot and add the rest of your hot water and then cover the pot.

Step 5: Steep your tea leaves for up to 2 minutes.

Some enjoy Hojicha after just 30 seconds, while others prefer to steep it for a minute or two. Feel free to play around with steep times to see what option you like best.

Step 6: Strain your tea leaves.

This is easiest if you have a teapot with a strainer. 

If you would like to re-steep your leaves, add about 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion time. 

Step 7: Decant your infused tea into your teacup, add sweeteners (if preferred), and enjoy!

Can you cold brew Hojicha?

Yes you can definitely cold brew Hojicha tea for a mellow yet refreshing drink!

Keep reading for the steps to Cold Brewing Hojicha at home.

Did you know cold brewing is the best way to make iced tea? To learn all about it, check out our post on everything you need to know about cold brew.

How do you make cold brew Hojicha properly?

To cold brew Hojicha, use 1.5 teaspoons of Hojicha Tea leaves for every 8-ounce cup of water.

STEP 1: Add your tea leaves to a pitcher with an infuser.

STEP 2: Pour room-temperature filtered water or spring water over the tea and stir gently.

STEP 3: Put your pitcher in the refrigerator to steep for up to 8 hours

STEP 4: Strain the leaves and enjoy!

What is Hojicha Powder?

Like matcha, Hojicha can be ground into a fine powder to be used in drinks or dessert recipes! However, unlike matcha, which is known for its bright green color, Hojicha is identifiable by its brown hue.

Hojicha powder is prepared the same way as Matcha, with a tea bowl, warm water, strainer, and bamboo whisk

What does Hojicha taste like?

Hojicha is a mellow and smooth textured tea that has a sweet, nutty, toasty, and smoky flavor with notes of caramel. 

Hojicha is much less bitter than other green teas, thanks to its high-temperature roasting process, which removes most of the tannins typically responsible for astringency. 

How much caffeine is in Hojicha tea?

Hojicha has less caffeine than other varieties of green tea since it has been through the roasting process. Generally, a cup of Hojicha can have about 8 to 10mg of caffeine, making it a great after-dinner beverage. 

What are some health benefits of drinking Hojicha?

Hojicha has many health benefits including antioxidants, immune boost, heart health, and aiding in digestion.

For the full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of Green tea.

Where can you find good quality Hojicha?

There are several good quality Hojicha tea options you can try. Here are just a few options to get you started:

What is the best way to store Hojicha?

When it comes to storing Hojicha, there are a few important things you will want to avoid. These are air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors. 

In order to keep your Hojicha in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats. 

The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics. Beware that while you may see wood tea storage options, they are not best for storing loose-leaf tea, as they can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea. 

Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place. 

Here are some good options for storing your Hojicha leaves:

Looking for ways to organize your tea bags? Try these:

You want to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!

We hope this guide helped you learn everything you need to know about Hojicha and how to make it at home!

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