What is Hojicha tea?
Hojicha is a Japanese roasted green tea. At some point in tea production, heat has to be applied to stop oxidizing of tea leaves. In Japan, this is traditionally performed by steaming the leaves, in China – by pan-firing. Hojicha is a special Japanese green tea made by roasting bancha (mature, late summer tea leaves) over charcoal.
Tasting notes in reviews
Hojicha is smooth, toasty, nutty. It is naturally low in caffeine and rich in flavor. Some would say it has “barley notes,” others would refer to “hint of seaweed” and “toasted nori.” Many first time drinkers are surprised by the lack of the grassy taste so common in other Japanese green teas. This Japanese tea offers a lovely transition between black and green teas, thanks to its unique earthy taste.
The origin of Hojicha tea
It may be popular for its nutty, smoky flavor today, but Hojicha tea actually came about for eco-sensitive reasons. At the start of the 20th century, Japan’s new trade policies had caused green tea exports to shoot up. To meet the sudden increase in demand, Japanese tea farmers started using mechanical harvesting machines. This helped them produce valuable green teas like Sencha, Gyokuro, Matcha, Genmacha at a fraction of the cost. However, there was a flipside – mechanized harvesting would create a lot of waste, something that’s a big no-no in the island nation. A tea merchant in Kyoto came up with a solution in the 1920s. He roasted the stems, stalks, and leftover tea leaves over charcoal, and Hojicha was born. It wasn’t long before tea drinkers had discovered its irresistible smoky aroma and well-rounded flavor, and Hojicha green tea had become a crowd pleaser!
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Isabelle is a freelance writer, self-taught tea nerd, and tea blending enthusiast. She is a herbalist with a strong interest in Ayurveda. Each year Isabelle travels extensively, returning with tea samples from around the world. She is a big fan of handmade teaware and Japanese green teas.