How do we love Hojicha? Let us count the ways...

How do we love Hojicha? Let us count the ways...

Hojicha is THE most popular tea in Japan right now. And if it's hip in Japan, you know it's good! 😉 Hojicha is a Japanese green tea, but unlike traditional green teas, hojicha is roasted after the leaves are steamed. This process removes all bitterness, and gives hojicha a natural sweetness, earthy aroma, its reddish-brown color and a unique smoky, almost nutty taste. Now imagine that paired with milk, and you have a Hojicha Milk Tea (ok, you can call it a Hojicha Latte, too). Either way it sounds amazing!

I've been addicted to this drink the first time I had it a couple years in Kyoto at one of the many Matcha/Hojicha cafes around the city. I had originally gone in for a refreshing Matcha Milk Tea on a hot summer day but saw an interesting, darker, richer version that smelled even more amazing. I had to try it and was instantly hooked to the sweet, nutty flavor. I didn't realize a tea could taste like this without added flavoring! The bonus is that hojicha has LESS caffeine than most teas (about 0.13 g of caffeine for every 100 g while matcha is upwards of about 3.2 g of caffeine for every 100 g.) so you can drink it any time of day and can still get a good night's sleep!

So how do we love Hojicha? So much that we're proud to announce that Twrl M!lk Tea will be launching a with a 3rd flavor in the new year — Hojicha M!lk Tea!

Because of its naturally sweet and unique flavor, plus being low in caffeine, this makes Hojicha Milk Tea the perfect alternative to coffee for those seeking a tea drink in the afternoon or evening.

To understand the properties of hojicha, we can look at the roasting process. During roasting, the tannins, flavonoids, and caffeine in the leaves are broken down. This makes hojicha milder-tasting then other Japanese green teas and also lowers its caffeine content.

Hojicha vs Matcha

If you are familiar with matcha, you can really see the difference. Matcha will have a more vegetal aroma while Hojicha, in its roasted green tea form, will have more of an earthy umami aroma to it. Matcha is quite bitter while Hojicha has a sweeter and even smokey flavor to it. Hojicha tea leaves are steamed before being dried while matcha is made by grinding the dried leaves into a very fine powder. Hojicha can also be ground into a fine powder, but it is typically in loose tea form.

Hojicha vs Chinese Roasted Tea

There are a number of differences between Chinese roasted tea and Hojicha tea. Chinese roasted teas are often prepared in such a way that the oxidation process is stopped because they are traditionally heated in woks.

However, Hojicha is typically steamed to stop the oxidation process first then roasted. Because of this careful preparation, Hojicha has little to no bitterness as well as a low caffeine content. (Often times, hojicha is made with bancha or tea which has less caffeine; this also helps with having low caffeine)

We are also proud to say that our Hojicha tea comes from family farms in Japan, where there is actually no such thing as fair trade because all farmers are paid fairly in this country. The farmers of our tea practice eco-friendly initiatives such as Chagusaba farming, a practice of sustainable techniques designed to enrich, rather than strip, the natural environment. Because of this form of traditional tea growing, many endangered species can be found in the area. In 2013, the Chagusaba method was recognized by the United Nations as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).

We can’t wait for you to try our Hojicha M!lk Tea, launching in early 2021!

Yours teal-ly,

Pauline Ang
Founder & CEO, Twrl M!lk Tea