What is hojicha?
Hojicha is roasted green tea.
Unlike other green teas, hojicha is reddish brown. The leaves and stems undergo a roasting process that gives the brew a light brown color and a distinct roasted taste.
Bancha leaves (tea from late autumn harvest) or kukicha leaves (tea consisting mainly of tea stalks) are used for roasting. Hojicha made from roasted kukicha is very popular - it is low in caffeine and has a sweet, caramel flavor. Tea leaves are roasted in a ceramic dish at a temperature of about 200ºC, and then cooled immediately.
In the case of hojicha tea, the color of the leaves and the infusion are brown, but because it was green tea to start with - hojicha is considered to be green tea.
Properties of hojicha tea
Hojicha is made from parts of the bush (late-harvest leaves, stems, petioles) that are naturally low in caffeine - which is why it also has a lower caffeine content than most green teas. For this reason, it can be given to children, the elderly and be drunk at night. Served during the evening meal will not cause problems with falling asleep.
Hojicha, like genmaicha, is often served with meals in Japan. It goes very well with foods high in fat.
In the summer hojicha is delicious served cold, with ice.
How to brew hojicha tea?
The taste of hojicha tea, as with all green teas, will depend largely on the temperature and brewing time. It is recommended to brew it with a higher temperature (90ºC) but for a shorter time than other teas (less than 1 minute).
Compared to the vegetable flavors of other green teas, hojicha has a very woody taste. Due to the low caffeine content, it is almost completely devoid of bitterness, with a sweet, smoky taste. Some people see caramel-nut notes in it. With all its expressive taste, however, it remains light - that's why most people will enjoy the hojicha.
Hojicha can be made with frothed milk as hojicha latte. We can use powdered hojicha tea or a very strong infusion of leaf tea to make hojicha latte.