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! Served cold over ice, it’s been a hit at Martha Stewart Café in NYC, and also at the Black Rock and Westport farmers’ markets. 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.
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. 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.
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, satifying brew.
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.
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:
- 4 teaspoons Bancha Hojicha tea leaves
- 1 quart cold water
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
1 teaspoon of Bancha Hojicha tea leaves
8 ounces of 185˚F water.
Steep time: 3-4 minutes
By Chloe Bolton
Photos by Sophie Slater