How to brew Hojicha for the best flavour

Many people enjoy drinking Hojicha tea after their meals, or before heading to bed. Hojicha is just like matcha, but less vegetal and nutty. When prepared the right way, it yields the most alluring taste and aroma that makes tea time very enjoyable. It is actually easier to brew Hojicha as compared to other green teas as you can just steep the roasted Hojicha tea leaves in boiling water.

However, factors such as the type of vessel used, the ratio of loose leaf to hot water, and the steeping time greatly contribute to a good cup of brewed Hojicha tea. In this Hojicha tea brewing guide, we will share with you some great tips to steeping the perfect cup of hot and cold brewed Hojicha tea.

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What is Hojicha?

Hojicha is a type of Japanese green tea that is roasted at high temperatures. It’s got a smooth nutty flavour that’s naturally sweet. The roasted tea yields a beautiful reddish brown colour when steeped in water. 

In the old days, merchants would roast hojicha in their shop – the fragrance being so alluring that passer bys were enticed to step into the shop and browse the wares. Hojicha is appreciated by many for its low caffeine content, making it enjoyable for children to drink as well.

If you wish to know more about Hojicha, you can refer to our Ultimate Japanese Hojicha Tea Guide for a deeper insight into this unique roasted green tea.

Introducing Hojicha tea – the most forgiving Japanese green tea

One of the best things about hojicha tea is its ease of preparation. Unlike other Japanese green teas, you don’t have to mind the temperature when brewing hojicha.

Steep boiling water over hojicha leaves and you still get a rich, fragrant brew. Unlike matcha, there is much less attention on tea preparation rituals. Most places will recommend a steep time, but ultimately it is your personal preference.

For many people who may not have sampled Japanese green tea, hojicha is a great choice for an easy introduction. The fragrance and flavours are easy appreciated, and even first-time tea drinkers quickly take to hojicha when they taste it.

Best of all? Hojicha makes for a brilliant, reinvigorating beverage whether brewed hot or cold.

The traditional way of brewing hojicha tea

The traditional way of brewing hojicha is a clay Japanese teapot. It is known as a kyusu in Japanese. The most frequently encountered kyusu is a small teapot with a side handle (Yokode Kyusu) usually sticking out at a 90 degree angle from the sprout. A capacity of only 250ml (~8oz) is typical. You may also find other Kyusu styles such as the back-handle kyusu (ushirode kyusu), the top-handle kyusu (uwade kyusu) and the no-handle Kyusu (hohin kyusu).

Most of them comes with a built-in mesh strainer to prevent loose tea leaves from pouring into your teacups. Compared with western teapots, Kyusu teapots are much easier to handle when serving tea as the pouring action is more gentle on the wrists.

How to brew hot Hojicha

If you don’t have a kyusu, you can brew hojicha in any regular teapot or tea infuser. As with other teas, make sure your brewing device is large enough to let the tea leaves unfurl and infuse properly.

Part of the joy of hojicha is that you can steep it over and over again, usually at least 5 times. Each steeping will taste a little different as different notes and flavours are drawn out.

To start, simply take 3 grams (or about 1 tablespoon) of hojicha leaf and add 230ml (7 oz) of boiling water. All you need to take note of are the ratios. Hojicha is a very forgiving tea, and using very hot water straight off the boil is perfectly fine.

We usually steep our hojicha for about a minute, but this is really up to your personal preference as some of you may enjoy a stronger flavour. As we increase the number of steepings, we also like to increase the steep time in order to preserve the intensity of flavour.

Here is a table showing how much tea and water to use, along with how long we personally steep our hojicha for before drinking.  

1st Steeping 

2nd Steeping 

3rd Steeping

4th Steeping

5th Steeping 

We love drinking hojicha in the evenings, or after having a sweet dessert, or when the weather is colder. The roasted notes give off an incredibly warm, nourishing feeling.

How to cold brew Hojicha

Besides hot Hojicha tea, we also enjoy drinking cold brewed Hojicha. It’s the perfect thirst quenching drink on a warm day as it yields a mellow, nutty flavour that’s truly refreshing.

Brewing cold Hojicha tea is also much easier as you don’t need any special equipment. There are specialized cold brewing bottles and jugs nowadays and these are really pretty to look at and easy to use. But any regular water bottle or large mason jar will also do the trick to make cold brew hojicha tea.

1.Use 1 tablespoon (or 3 grams) of Hojicha loose tea leaves, for every 7 oz (230 ml) of water.

2. Add the tea leaves and water into the glass jar. For best results, use filtered water.

3. Refrigerate it for about 8 hours

4. Strain the Hojicha loose tea leaves by pouring the iced Hojicha tea over a sieve into an empty cup or bottle.

5. Add some ice if you’d like. Enjoy your Iced Hojicha tea!

We routinely take a bottle of cold brew hojicha to work because it is so refreshing. When the weather’s hot, cold brew hojicha tea is a fun drink that provides great flavour without relying on any added sugars.

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