What is Hojicha tea? How to make it, and how to use it? Find out all about this reddish-brown Japanese roasted green tea in this comprehensive hojicha guide.
What is hojicha tea?
Created in Kyoto, Japan in the 1920s, Hojicha 焙じ茶 (also houjicha) is a finely-ground Japanese green tea that has been roasted over charcoal in a porcelain pot at a high temperature.
Due to the roasting process, the tea takes on a reddish-brown color and smoky aroma with a natural sweetness.
What is hojicha powder made of?
Hojicha tea powder comes from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, the same plant as matcha.
It's made with bancha leaves, which are from the second flush of sencha (green tea leaves) -- a lower grade of tea.
The tea leaves, stems, twigs and stalks go through a roasting process over charcoal.
From there, the leaves are stone-milled and ground into a fine powder.
Hojicha tea powder should only contain pure roasted green tea powder, with no other ingredients, fillers or sweeteners.
What does hojicha taste like
Hojicha has a pleasant flavour that is mild, smoky, caramel-like, toasted flavour.
It is much less astringent/bitter and has a sweet and nutty flavor.
It shares a similar flavor profile to oxidized teas such as oolong, pu'erh or black tea.
What is the difference between hojicha and matcha?
Matcha powder is finely ground quality green tea leaves that have not been roasted.
The leaves are de-veined and de-stemmed.
Hojicha is similar to matcha, except roasting the tea leaves over charcoal gives it its smoky flavor and aroma.
Due to the roasting of the tea, hojicha tea takes on a reddish brown color.
It has a mild, sweeter, smokier, nuttier flavor compared to matcha.
It also contains less caffeine than matcha.
Read my Beginner's Guide to Matcha for more information.
Hojicha tea leaves vs. tea powder
Hojicha is usually available as a loose leaf tea, or in tea bags.
Loose leaf hojicha tea can also include bark, twigs and stems.
Hojicha tea powder is much more concentrated than hojicha tea bags, so a little green tea powder goes a long way.
With loose leaf tea, steeping/infusing tea leaves in hot water extracts the tea brew.
Whereas, with hojicha powder, you whisk it with hot water to create a suspension of tea particles in the water.
How to best store hojicha
Store the roasted tea powder in an airtight container in a dark, cool location, away from heat or light.
To prevent it from quickly oxidizing, it's best to keep it in a dark container (not glass or plastic) or solid tin.
You can also store it (in an airtight container) in the fridge to slow down the oxidization.
Optimal brewing temperature
Hojicha can withstand a higher water temperature, as compared to matcha green tea.
Brew hojicha tea at around 200 degrees F/93 degrees C, almost boiling hot water.
To avoid bitterness, you can use a cooler temperature water, around 80 degrees C/176 degrees F.
The same tools used to make matcha can be used to make hojicha tea.
Chashaku: bamboo tea scoop, used for scooping the tea powder
Chasen: bamboo whisk, used for whisking the powder with water
Chawan: literally "tea bowl," a small bowl for preparing and consuming the tea
Ingredients you'll need
- hojicha roasted tea powder: sifted; you can also use tea bags or loose leaf tea
- milk: optional; you can use milk of your choice if making a hojicha latte
- sweetener: such as honey, simple syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup, optional
How to prepare hojicha tea
Sift the hojicha tea powder into a chawan (tea bowl) to remove any clumps.
Pour a little hot water into the bowl and gently press the chasen (whisk) against the bottom of the bowl.
Move the chasen in a zig zag motion until the liquid becomes foamy.
Use a electric whisk/frother or blender to froth the tea.
Top the hojicha off with more hot water, or milk of your choice and sweeten to taste if you like.
How to use hojicha powder in drinks
Add a little hojicha to your:
What type of milk to pair with roasted tea?
The protein casein, which is found in dairy milk, lowers the absorption of the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea.
Try a plant-based or non-dairy alterative such as:
For an Iced Hojicha Latte, add in some ice cubes.
Try a flavoured syrup for a different variation, such as Pumpkin Spice Hojicha Syrup.
Try at Matcha Latte, which is an unroasted green tea latte.
Does hojicha contain caffeine?
Roasting the tea alters the tea's chemical structure, and thus reduces its caffeine content.
Hojicha contains much lower caffeine levels compared to matcha.
This makes hojicha tea suitable for everyday drinking, even in the evening.
Similar to matcha, hojicha is high in antioxidants and l-theanine (amino acid), which may help reduce cancer risk and increase metabolism.
It is also high in catechins which helps to lower bad cholesterol levels.
Consuming roasted green tea after meals helps aid digestion, especially in the elderly.
Where to find hojicha powder?
You can find hojicha tea powder online and in specialty tea shops.
It's best to stick with reputable brands with a penchant for quality in their product.
Is hojicha considered a green tea?
Yes, it is a roasted green tea.
Is hojicha more bitter than matcha?
Theoretically, hojicha should not be more bitter than matcha.
That said, if the quality of the hojicha isn't great, it can be slightly bitter.
What's the difference between hojicha and oolong tea?
Oolong tea is an oxidized tea, which means it has undergone fermentation.
Hojicha is not a fermented tea.
Does hojicha have the same benefits as green tea?
Roasting the tea does reduce the levels of antioxidants in the brew, as compared with matcha green tea.
How to use hojicha powder in baking & desserts
Hojicha roasted tea is a great flavour to add in baking.
It gives baked goods a robust, bold, nutty, caramel flavor.
Check out my recipes using hojicha tea.
Note: Hojicha is a drying agent, similar to cocoa powder, so be sure to follow the recipe carefully when adapting with hojicha powder.
My best hojicha tea recipes
Here are some of my best recipes using this versatile roasted green tea powder:
Let me know if you tried out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Hojicha Roasted Green Tea
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- ½ teaspoon hojicha roasted green tea powder sifted
- ¼ C hot water
- ¼ C additional hot water or steamed milk of your choice (for a latte)
- 1-2 teaspoon sweetener (honey, sugar, maple syrup, agave syrup, etc.) optional, to your taste
- Use a chashaku (bamboo tea scoop) to add the hojicha powder to sieve placed over a chawan (tea bowl).
- Sift the hojicha into a chawan (tea bowl) to remove any clumps.
- Pour about ¼ C hot water into the chawan (tea bowl) and gently press the chasen (whisk) against the bottom of the bowl.
- Move the chasen in a zig zag motion until the liquid becomes foamy.
- Or use an electric whisk/frother to froth it up.
- Add remaining hot water, or steamed milk of your choice.
- Sweeten with honey, sugar, maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice, to your taste.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.