February 17, 2023
Hojicha is roasted green tea. Unlike coffee beans, which need to be roasted to bring out their aroma and flavor, green tea can be drank on its own. Why take the additional step of roasting an already finished product? Surprisingly, by turning green tea into hojicha, it gains several unique benefits but only because of what it loses. What is being traded? Read on to find out more!
By roasting the tea leaves, they lose their fresh vegetal flavor and become milder, with nutty undertones and brew to a dark orange. Brewed using the whole leaf, hojicha has a pleasant mellow flavor. However, 3 Leaf Tea powders its hojicha, which releases a more full-body aroma, a dark caramel color and an even deeper toasty flavor that even avid coffee drinkers will be satisfied with. Our premium hojicha comes unflavored and is available in several great tasting flavors, the most popular of which is banana.
The roasting process also breaks down the caffeine which makes hojicha a very low caffeinated beverage. However, the anxiety reducing amino acid, L-theanine, is not removed in this process. L-theanine promotes relaxation and helps to reduce stress (there is also another special relaxation chemical in hojicha called pyrazine but more on that later). Matcha is great because it gives you an energy boost and soothes your nerves but when you don’t want or need an energy boost, what other options are there? This low caffeine, relaxing elixir with delicious calming fragrance is the perfect drink to have before bed. In fact, in Japan, it is traditionally served in the evenings after dinner and because it is so gentle, even children can drink it.
By roasting green tea, a molecule called “pyrazine” is formed. Pyrazine actually formed when amino acids and saccharides are heated, such as when baking bread, brewing coffee, etc. This chemical is known to have a calming effect and is one of the reasons why we typically enjoy these kinds of smells. Pyrazines also help improve blood circulation and when ingested, will cause a warming sensation throughout your body. Coffee and green teas contain caffeine, which increases your metabolism and causes your blood vessels to constrict. You might actually feel colder after drinking a cup of coffee than before you drank it! Because hojicha doesn’t have the caffeine content to counteract the effect of the pyrazines, you’re left with a warm soothing mug of happiness.
Because hojicha lost most of its astringency during roasting, it can withstand higher water temperatures without turning bitter. Matcha and green tea should be prepared with 165F to 175F water while hojicha can be prepared with boiling water. While typically no green tea-based beverage should be made using boiling water, hojicha is very forgiving in this aspect.
To prepare, simply scoop the desired amount of hojicha from the resealable bag into a mug and add hot water and stir well. Because it’s been powdered, our hojicha can be mixed like matcha using a bamboo whisk or frothed by combining with milk and using handheld milk frother. Add your choice of milk or milk substitute and sweeteners for a hojicha latte (or throw in some ice for a refreshing cold drink).
While merely toasting tea leaves may not seem impressive, the roasting process has given hojicha a profound array of unique benefits. Its earthy aroma and calming affect wraps around you like a kind of drinkable wool sweater, warming up your heart and body. 3 Leaf Tea’s top priority is to bring you products that improve your mental wellbeing and keep you feeling vibrant. We hope adding hojicha into your daily tea routine will help you gain the peace you’re looking for!