How to Prepare Hojicha
Since hojicha is a roasted tea, its preparation is different than other Japanese green teas. Below you'll learn how to prepare hojicha traditionally, as well as directions for the most popular methods of making hojicha. If you're new to hojicha, you may want to start with our beginner's guide which includes detailed advice for each step of your tea session.
1.2 Carefully measure tea leaves
1.3 Soften hard water
1.4 Ensure the correct temperature
1.5 Pay attention to the recommended steep time
1.6 Resist stirring while steeping
1.7 Wait before sipping
1.8 Experiment with various vessels
2.2 Cold Brewing Hojicha
2.3 Flash-Chilling Hojicha
2.4 Slow-Chilling Hojicha
2.5 Preparing Loose Leaf Hojicha Latte
2.6 Preparing Hojicha Latte with Powder
A Beginner’s Guide to Preparing Hojicha
Whether you like hojicha warm, iced, or cold brewed, here are a few tips and tricks that help guarantee the perfect cup of hojicha every time.
Use a teapot with a built-in strainer
While disposable tea bags may work for some teas made out of smaller particles, most bags are too small for hojicha to move freely and release its flavor. Using a teapot or even a stainless steel tea infuser allows the large rolled leaves and stems of hojicha to be steeped evenly.
Carefully measure tea leaves
Tea leaves are often measured in grams to ensure a precise weight. One tablespoon of large leaves and stems weighs much less than the same tablespoon of small and tightly rolled leaves. The difference occurs across different varieties of hojicha, but also even within the same container of tea. If you have accidentally used too many tea leaves, you might be able to salvage your pot of tea by adding more water.
Soften hard water
Japanese green teas taste best in water which is low in minerals, also known as soft water. The minerals contained in hard water alter the taste of the tea, which is often why the same tea you’ve enjoyed in Kyoto may taste completely different when you try steeping it at home. While most of the water in Japan is naturally soft, it is possible to soften hard water. In order to experience the full potential of hojicha, filter and then bring water to a full boil before using it to steep your tea. Any remaining minerals will settle at the bottom of your kettle, so simply leave some water behind and then rinse it out.
Ensure the correct temperature
As a roasted tea, hojicha is steeped at a higher temperature than most Japanese green teas. However, it is still too delicate for boiling water. In order to enhance the sweetness and avoid bitterness, steep hojicha in water that is no hotter than 90°C / 194°F. If you don’t have a variable temperature kettle, simply boil filtered water and then pour into a cooling vessel.
Pay attention to the recommended steep time
Once you pour hot water over hojicha, use an hourglass or timer to accurately measure steep time. Oversteeping hojicha will result in a bitter cup of tea, but you won’t have to wait around for long since premium loose leaf hojicha is ready in as little as 30 seconds.
Resist stirring while steeping
As hojicha steeps, resist the urge to stir the green tea leaves. Agitating the leaves in any way will negatively alter the tea’s final taste. Let the tea leaves steep naturally for the perfect infusion.
Wait before sipping
While you can’t afford to be distracted for too long when steeping hojicha, now’s the time when forgetting about your tea is a good thing. When hojicha is too hot, it tastes very smoky. However, letting it cool is the best way to bring out hojicha's natural sweetness as its flavor deepens.
Experiment with various vessels
The flavor of hojicha is influenced by both the type of vessel used to steep the tea leaves, as well as the vessel used to drink the brewed tea. Experiment with vessels made from different materials to discover which one best enhances the tea to match your personal taste.
How to Make Hojicha
Preparing Traditional Hojicha
Prepare hojicha by adding 5 grams of roasted green tea leaves into a teapot or a tea infuser. Heat filtered water to 90°C (194°F), and pour 250 ml of water over the hojicha in a circular motion. Let the hojicha steep for only 30 seconds.
Set the teapot or tea infuser aside, and save the tea leaves for a second steep. If using a traditional Japanese teapot (kyusu) with a built-in strainer at the spout, divide the hojicha evenly among your tea cups. Carefully pour out every last drop of hojicha, and save the tea leaves for the next steep.
Enjoy the smoky aroma of hojicha, as you sip on your roasted green tea. Let it cool to bring out hojicha’s natural sweetness as the flavor deepens.
Hojicha can be steeped for a second and a third time. Simply steep hojicha in 90°C (194°F) water for 30 seconds longer than the previous steep for a rich flavor.
Cold Brewing Hojicha
Cold brew hojicha by adding 10 grams of roasted green tea leaves to 1 L of filtered water. Refrigerate for about 10 hours, and enjoy the delicate flavor of the hojicha cold brew. View the full recipe for Cold Brew Hojicha.
Prepare iced hojicha by adding 10 grams of roasted green tea leaves into a teapot or a tea infuser. Heat filtered water to 90°C (194°F), and pour 250 ml of water over the hojicha in a circular motion. Let the hojicha steep for one minute. Pour the hojicha over ice cubes for a refreshing summer drink. View the full recipe for Hojicha Iced Tea.
Skip the ice to experience the naturally sweet flavor of slow-chilled hojicha. After preparing loose leaf hojicha, cool the tea on the counter for a few minutes. Then place the hojicha in the fridge to create the perfect drink for a warm day. Since hojicha is low in caffeine, it can be sipped anytime.
Preparing Loose Leaf Hojicha Latte
After preparing hojicha, try it with a simple splash of your preferred type of milk. If you'd like to take your hojicha latte to the next level, then steam and froth your milk to create a beautiful layer of foam.
Preparing Hojicha Latte with Powder
Whisk up one teaspoon hojicha powder in 60 ml of 90°C filtered water. Stir in sweetener if desired. Add 180 ml of steamed and frothed milk, and enjoy your rich and creamy hojicha latte. View more Hojicha Latte recipes using Hojicha Powder.