Tea is a big part of Japanese culture. Different type of tea is suitable with different occasions, some are good for tea ceremony, others complement Japanese cuisine beautifully. Japan is famous for premium tea quality, often made from the delicate hand-plucked young tea leaves. But it is also equally crucial in making use of other parts of the tea plants. Hojicha is a fantastic example that stands out for its unique characteristics. People love it for its distinctive roasted aroma and rich, nutty flavor. In this article, we will walk you through Hojicha caffeine contents, its heath benefits and how it is different from other Japanese green tea.
What is Hojicha?
Hojicha is a type of Japanese roasted green tea. It originated from Kyoto, Japan, around the 1920s with the arrival of mechanical harvesting. Different from Sencha green tea or gyokuro tea which is produced from young tea leaf, the lower grade tea leaves and stems are used for making this tea. After harvest and steam, it comes through a high heat roasting process. Younger tea leaves are delicate and not suitable for this type of roasting.
The amount of tea leaves, twigs, stems, or stalks used in making this roasted green tea is different from maker to maker. But it is regarded as a smart move from tea merchants that use the roasting technique to transform mature tea leaves and other parts of tea plants into a charming tea. The tea has a reddish-brown color, unlike the yellowish-green color often associated with Japanese tea.
The roasting process gives it the unique smokiness in both its aroma and taste. Hojicha is naturally less astringent, earthy with a mellow sweetness. It smells so good some tea vendors in Japan roast it near their entrances, enticing customers to come in. People enjoy this tea by steeping it like other green tea. But the toastiness and addictive flavor of hojicha are suitable for many drinks and desserts. Today it comes far from its humble origin, reaching countries and people around the world.
Hojicha Caffeine Contents
Hojicha caffeine content is significantly lower compare to other Japanese green teas. In 100 grams, there are only 0.2 grams of caffeine. The same amount of matcha contains 3.2 grams of caffeine.
The reason hojicha caffeine content is low because of two reasons: the part of the tea plant used and the roasting process.
The lower tea leaves (older leaves), near the stalk used for making it, has less caffeine compared with upper shoots (young tea leaves). And after the roasting process, these tea leaves loose most of its caffeine. That makes it an excellent choice for people who are sensitive to caffeine but still want to enjoy Japanese tea.
Hojicha Health benefits
Hojicha is famous for its distinctive aroma and rich flavor. But when it comes to health benefits, it is a bit behind other teas. The high-heat roasting process makes green tea leaves lose many nutrients and antioxidants. This process has shown to destroy a lot of catechins – a group of flavonoids that is very effective in fighting diseases. They are essential in promoting heart health, liver health, and diabetes.
This tea has a good amount of L-Theanine. It is an amino acid that supports relaxation on our mind, body, and reduce stress. Unlike other green tea, it stands out for its pleasant toastiness. In a world, when it can be hard to manage pressure, tea like hojicha is valuable not only for its flavor but also for the ability to calm us down in the most delightful way.
Another plus mark for this tea is that it is low in caffeine. If people want to limit their caffeine intake, they can enjoy it as a perfect morning pick-me-up or a calming evening tea. It will not likely affect your sleeping time or cause any discomfort.
There are not many studies on the effect of hojicha on the human body. We can regard it as holding some green tea health properties, but not as much. If you are looking for a boost of antioxidants, it may not be the best choice for you. Instead, look for another type of Japanese green tea like Sencha green tea, or the premium shaded tea Gyokuro.
Hojicha vs. Matcha
Hojicha and matcha are both Japanese green tea. The most significant difference lies in the fact that this tea comes through a roasting process while matcha does not. This crucial step reduces the bitterness and much of the caffeine content. It also gives it a reddish-brown color, unlike the bright green color of matcha.
Hojicha is available in both loose leaf and powder form. But matcha is fine green tea powder, made from processed tea leaves. In Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha is prepared using a tea bowl, strainer, and bamboo whisk. The tea powder is whisked until a layer of foam emerge, and the powder fully dissolves in hot water. These tools can be required for making tea using hojicha powder.
As with loose leaf hojicha, the steeping method is more straightforward. It takes only 30 seconds to steep with hot water (190 F – 88 C) in a teapot. You can experience steeping this roasted green tea using a lower temperature and a longer time frame. But you should avoid steeping it for too long, as the bitterness will increase with time.
Products made from Hojicha?
The beautiful aroma and flavor of roasted green tea make it an incredible addition to various food products. Since it become more and more popular, manufacturers start making hojicha powder for commercial use. People also use it in making multiple drinks and desserts.
Not only in Japan, now you can find products with hojicha in the US, Canada, Australia, and many parts of the world. Below are some of food and drink items with the irresistible hojicha:
- Hojicha latte
- Hojicha frappuccino
- Hojicha chocolate (Kit Kat)
What do you need?
- Tea pot – you can use ceramic or cast iron teapot, but for the best experience, you should you Japanese ceramic tea pot
- Tea cup or mug
- 2 grams of Hojicha loose tea leaf, if you prefer more intense flavor, you can double the amount of the tea leaf
- Electric kettle (you can use traditional kettle or pot as well)
- Step 1: Add the fresh tap water to the electric kettle and make boiling water.
- Step 2: Use the freshly boiling water rinse the tea pot. This step will not only help to clean the tea pot but also reheat the teapot.
- Step 3: For the remaining boiling water, let it sit for a while as the ideal temperature to brew hojicha is from 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Step 4: add loose tea to the teapot and pour the boiling water into it, cover the lip and let it steep for 1-2 minutes. Please note, do not steep this tea longer than 2 minutes for the best result. If you want stronger taste, you can add more tea instead of steeping longer time.
- Step 5: Pouring the steeped tea into the cup and enjoy!
This roasted green tea tastes best with hot brewing method (as presented above). However, you can also make hojicha cold brew or hojicha ice tea if prefer to drink it cold.
What is Hojicha Latte?
Hojicha latte is green tea latte made with hojicha powder and frosted milk. Its toasty and nutty flavor with sweet aroma will satisfy even the fastidious tea drinkers.
As it is also Japanese green tea, thus the method of making it similar to how you make matcha latte. Just simply whisk the tea powder with hot water until is fully mixed. Then add the frosted milk into it and you will have a cup of Hojicha latte.
If you do not have hojicha powder, you can brew the tea leaves or tea bags, then mix with frosted milk. This drink can be served as it is. However, you can add sugar to sweeten it or add a bit of cinnamon powder on top of the drink to enhance the flavor.
For those who are fan of iced milk tea, you will love the idea of iced hojicha latte. To make it, instead of using frosted milk, you use cold milk (just add to your cup of whisked tea powder) and top it up with some ice cube.
Hojicha brands and where to buy
There are many tea brands produce hojicha which you can buy at Japanese supermarket or on Amazon. Here is the list of top picks which we have tested to review for you.
– 100% tea leaves
– Good Value for money
– Slightly weak in taste
– Real Loose Tea Leave
– Excellent authentic Flavor
– Not convenient as tea bag
– Certified Organic &
– 100% Japanese Tea