Our New Bancha Hojicha – a Roasted Green Tea Perfect for Dinnertime

Lately we can’t get enough of our newest Bancha Hojicha, a nutty, rustic, and roasted Japanese green tea! Hojicha is unique among Japanese teas because it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal, whereas most Japanese teas are steamed. Served cold over ice, it’s been a hit at Martha Stewart Café in NYC, and also at the Black Rock and Westport farmers’ market. It’s one of my favorite teas to pair with dinner, hot or cold, because it has a savory, earthy, and well-rounded taste, with much less caffeine than most green teas. These days it goes perfectly with a summer BBQ dinner.

Bancha Hojicha: Roasted Japanese Green Tea

Our new Bancha Hojicha is a blend of tea leaves and twigs from three different organic farms, combined to create a perfectly well-rounded brew. The leaves give this blend a strong, bold beginning, while the lighter taste of the twigs comes out towards the end, evening out the aroma.

What is Hojicha?

Hojicha is used as a general term for any kind of roasted Japanese green tea. This is a particular Hojicha is made from bancha, which is harvested in Japan during the early autumn. If you are familiar with other Japanese green teas you may know Sencha. Bancha is similar but from buds that grew later in the season than Sencha teas. The dark and reddish color of Hojicha comes from the prolonged roasting process, which also reduces the caffeine content.

What Makes Bancha Hojicha Unique?

The unique taste and mouthfeel of Bancha Hojicha comes from its roasting process. Traditionally, late harvest tea leaves and twigs were roasted in porcelain pots over charcoal. Today many producers use a technique similar to that of coffee roasters to achieve a perfectly toasty taste. Though Bancha Hojicha is a variety of green tea, the roasting process gives the leaves a reddish-brown color. Roasting the tea leaves not only gives it its unique flavor-profile, it also mellows out the caffeine content and astringent quality found in most green teas, leaving you with a smooth, satisfying brew.

When you sip a cup of Bancha Hojicha you can taste the smooth, nutty, and toasted notes with hints of caramel and wood. The roasted quality is reminiscent of coffee, but unlike coffee’s acid-forming effects, Bancha Hojicha is alkalizing. Increasing alkalizing foods and drinks in one’s diet is vital to maintaining one’s health. Many coffee drinkers switch to drinking Bancha Hojicha because it satisfies the desire for a roasted brew, and also give you a little lift.

Macrobiotic Benefits of Bancha Hojicha

Bancha Hojicha is very popular among followers of a macrobiotic lifestyle. In macrobiotics, one always considers the yin, yang, and elemental energies of food and drinks.  The roasting process of Bancha Hojicha imbues the tea with fire yang energy. This energy lights the digestive fire, helping to improve digestion, as well as reduce acid-reflux and other digestive disorders. For this reason, many macrobiotic followers drink this tea along with their meals.

How to Brew Bancha Hojicha

Bancha Hojicha is affordable and easy to prepare. Here is how to brew your Bancha Hojicha, both cold and hot!

To make a Pitcher Bancha Hojicha Iced Tea:

Steep the tea leaves in cold water in a glass pitcher or mason jar. You can use an infuser basket, or put the leaves directly in the vessel. Keep in the fridge and let steep overnight, or for at least eight hours. If you put the tealeaves directly in the water, strain the tea when ready.

To learn how to make an instant cup of iced tea, and an easy way to make a gallon or more of iced tea read this blog post.

To Make a Cup of Bancha Hojicha Hot Tea:

By Chloe Bolton

Photos by Sophie Slater