If you're exploring the world of Japanese tea, you don't want to miss out on hojicha! This tea is made from green tea leaves, stems, stalks, or twigs roasted over charcoal at high temperatures. Compared to other Japanese green teas, hojicha tastes mellow and slightly sweet with smoky notes. It also has a lower caffeine level and a beautiful copper color.
If you're new to hojicha, it might be tough to choose a type that you will enjoy. So, to help you with your search, we compiled a list of the 9 best Japanese hojicha available online. Chaganju's hojicha is one of our favorites, as it's flavorful and sourced from Kyoto. We also included a buying guide with everything you need to know about this unique tea!
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Choosing Japanese hojicha can be tricky, but we will explain all the crucial factors you should consider, including the source, type, and tea flush.
Hojicha can be made from tea leaves grown under direct sunlight (sencha), stems and twigs (kukicha), or mature tea leaves (bancha). Each type of hojicha offers a slightly different flavor.
Most hojicha products are made from bancha, the name for mature tea leaves. Compared to younger tea leaves like sencha, mature tea leaves are stronger and can withstand the long roasting process.
Hojicha that uses bancha is called hojibancha. Bancha leaves are harvested from the second flush of sencha, which usually occurs in the summer or autumn. Due to the long maturing process, bancha has less caffeine compared to sencha.
This style of tea tastes a little bit more astringent and less aromatic. But, its strong flavor goes great with food. If you like a robust tea, hojicha made from bancha is a great option!
Sencha leaves are grown under direct sunlight, so they contain a high amount of nutrients like vitamin C. There are a lot of tannins, astringent compounds, in sencha leaves as well.
Since sencha leaves are harvested in the first flush, which usually happens in the first month of spring, they have a bright, grassy flavor with slight astringency. First flush tea is deemed to contain more antioxidants and nutrients than other flush teas and is more expensive.
Hojicha that uses sencha leaves is usually called hojisencha. It tastes delicate, refreshing, and non-bitter and has a strong aroma. It has the most flavorful taste out of all types of hojicha and is definitely the best choice for tea connoisseurs looking for the finest option.
Kikucha is made from stems and twigs and has a mild, slightly sweet, creamy, and nutty flavor. Therefore, you can expect hojicha made from kikucha to be quite light with a sweet aroma.
Hojicha made from kikucha has the lightest taste out of all varieties and is a good option for those who want something light and refreshing. There are also hojichas that combine kikucha and bancha for a well-balanced taste.
Another point to consider when buying hojicha is its origin. You will find some of the finest hojicha in Kyoto prefecture. Kyoto is also the birthplace of hojicha!
Some other major tea producers in Japan include Shizuoka, Kagoshima, and Mie prefectures. Specifically, Shizuoka is currently the largest tea-producing region in Japan. In fact, 40 percent of Japan's tea is produced there.
Japanese hojichas can be loose-leaf or bagged. There might be slight differences in taste between each form, but each still offers the flavor and nutrients of tea!
If you're looking for the best taste, purchase loose leaf tea. It contains whole, unbroken tea leaves and stems for a flavorful and fragrant brew. However, brewing loose leaf tea requires equipment, including a teapot and a strainer.
Brewing tea may be time-consuming, but it's a relaxing process. If you're not in a rush and have teaware on hand, definitely try brewing loose-leaf or powdered tea.
If you don't have brewing equipment ready or just want a quick cup of tea, bagged tea is a quick and easy option. The bags are already pre-measured, so you can just put one straight into your cup. Although the brew from bagged tea is usually not as robust and flavorful as loose leaf tea or powdered tea, the flavor is still nice.
Instant hojicha is the most convenient choice. It won't produce a rich and aromatic flavor, but it only requires hot water. You can also use it to make drinks or baked goods. You can also find instant hojicha lattes! Plus, tea bags and instant options can come in individual packs that are very portable.
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Kyoto Uji Yamasan
Best Organic Hojicha With a Refreshing, Nutty Flavor
Hojicha Premium Roasted Green Tea
Best Tea Bags That Taste Great With or Without Milk
Organic Japanese Hojicha Yabukita Cultivar
Best Yabukita Cultivar Tea for a Smoky Flavor
Hoji Cha (Roasted Tea)
Best Aluminum Sealed Tea Bags to Ensure Freshness
Best for the High-Quality First Harvest Tea Leaves
Organic Hojicha Powder
Best for Making Lattes, Smoothies, or Baked Goods
Best for a Bold, Non-Bitter Taste
Hojicha Premium Deep roasted
Best for the Long Roasting Process That Gives the Tea a Rich Taste
Enrich Hojicha Teabags
Best Sustainably-Produced Tea Using Traditional Methods
Chaganju's hojicha comes from Uji, a city in southern Kyoto famed for its tea production. It's made from the stems and leaves of sencha plants that are roasted at 392 degrees Fahrenheit using infrared rays for a toasted, rich flavor. On top of that, this tea is certified organic by the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS).
A few buyers complain that the tea is too mild for their preferences. Nevertheless, the majority love its refreshing, slightly sweet, and nutty flavor and say it has a pleasant aroma. Many say it tastes great hot or cold, too!
This roasted green tea from Ito En is made from roasted green tea leaves and has a sweet, nutty flavor. The tea comes in pyramid-shaped tea bags that allow plenty of room for the leaves to fully unfurl. It tastes great as it is, but you can add a bit of milk and sweetener to make a latte.
Some reviewers mention that these tag bags leave too much sediment in the cup. On another note, the majority are happy with the taste of this hojicha, saying it's flavorful and toasty. They say it tastes great hot or cold and with or without milk.
This hojicha is made of Yabukita cultivar tea stems grown at Mie and Kagoshima prefectures. Yabukita cultivar is most common variety found in Japan. It's considered the benchmark for other tea cultivars to be evaluated against because it has a rich, umami taste with low astringency.
Overall, most buyers enjoy its rich and smoky flavor. Plus, it is certified organic by both Japan and the United States.
If you like tea on the mellow side, this hojicha from Yamamotoyama is a great choice. It's gone through a roasting process for a light, toasty flavor without any bitterness. The tea is packed in aluminium sealed tea bags to preserve freshness.
A couple of buyers think the tea tastes too light. Yet, most are happy with the nutty aroma and the slightly sweet, smooth taste of this hojicha. They also like the foil packaging that keeps the tea fresh. Some buyers like adding sugar or honey, too!
This hojicha is sourced from Shizuoka prefecture. It's made with the leaves from the first harvest and is produced in small batches for the best quality. It's also certified organic by Japanese standards and is free from preservatives and pesticides. Plus, it's packed in an airtight tin to ensure freshness.
Some reviewers who prefer strong tea find the tea too mild for their liking and use more tea to make the taste stronger. However, many think that it tastes well-balanced, umami, toasty, and slightly sweet. Some buyers also enjoy it with milk.
This hojicha powder is sourced from Uji, Kyoto, and can be prepared like matcha. You can also use this powder to make lattes, smoothies, or baked goods. Another bonus is that the powder is certified organic by the USDA and by Japanese standards.
Most users love the strong, flavorful, and smoky taste of this hojicha powder. They also mention that it dissolves well and is excellent for making drinks and baked goods.
This hojicha is made by Ippodo, a famous and long-established tea maker in Kyoto prefecture. It consists of the second flush leaves and tastes stronger with less astringency than tea made from the first flush. If you prefer a bold tea, this might be a great choice!
Many reviewers like this tea's rich, smoky, and sweet flavor. They add that it tastes very smooth and authentic! Some love using it for their dessert recipes, too.
This hojicha from Kimikura uses tea leaves harvested in the first flush of spring in Kakegawa city, Shizuoka prefecture. The leaves are deeply roasted at a high temperature for a flavorful, refreshing taste with a smoky fragrance. Plus, the resealable package helps preserve the tea's freshness.
Many buyers say this tea is of high quality and tastes delicious. They like its toasty, nuanced flavor, with some reviewers saying it's the best they've tried.
This hojicha is made from green tea stems roasted for a long time for a rich flavor and a toasted fragrance. One point that sets this product apart is its production method! It's grown and processed using the Chagusaba method, which is a traditional sustainable practice that can reduce the negative environmental effects of agriculture.
A few buyers wish that the tea bags were individually wrapped for freshness and easy handling. However, most buyers like the strong roasted aroma and flavor of this tea.
You can easily make a creamy and sweet hojicha latte with this powder. To make it even creamier, try adding a bit more milk. This powder comes in individual packets that only require the addition of hot water. The packets are great to take along wherever you go, too!
A few buyers say this hojicha latte tastes a tad too sweet. However, the majority love its roasty flavor. The brand suggests using about five ounces of water for the best results.
The world of tea is fun to explore since there are many different varieties with distinctive flavors and aromas. Take a look at our articles for some great teas available online!
No. 1: Kyoto Uji Yamasan | Hojicha Tea
No. 2: Ito En | Hojicha Premium Roasted Green Tea
No. 3: Matcha Konomi | Organic Japanese Hojicha Yabukita Cultivar
No. 4: Yamamotoyama | Hoji Cha (Roasted Tea)
No. 5: Senbird | Organic Hojicha
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