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Pouring roasted Hojicha tea from Ivory Kyusu into white Hasami-yaki porcelain teacups on wood cross-section Marubon tray

Hojicha: The Perfect Tea for Coffee Lovers

Written on December 17, 2019 (updated on August 15, 2023)

Not all green tea is green. In fact, one of the most popular everyday green teas in Japan brews as dark and toasty as coffee.

We’re talking about hojicha, an aromatic roasted style of tea leaves and stems. When brewed hot, it’s a hearty, soothing way to warm yourself on cool days. When iced, it’s as crisp and refreshing as a cold swim. It’s even used as an ingredient to add a toasty, roasty character to pastries and desserts. And it’s so affordable you can drink it every day.

Tea for the people

Hojicha is a kind of bancha: tea made from older, more mature leaves instead of the tender young shoots we use for sencha, gyokuro, and matcha. Compared to those baby leaves, bancha tends to have a simpler flavor, lighter body, and more astringency. But it’s also much less expensive to grow and process, and it’s the tea of choice in Japan for everyday casual drinking. If you’ve been served tea in a casual Japanese restaurant, there’s a good likelihood it was bancha. It goes great with food, either alongside a meal as a palate cleanser or afterward, to settle your stomach.

To make our hojicha, we roast dried bancha leaves and stems until they develop flavors of coffee, caramel, and roasted nuts. We’ve found many coffee drinkers gravitate to this tea for its dark aromatic elements and smooth, refreshing taste that lingers after you sip. And it’s more or less foolproof to brew yourself.

How do I brew it?

To get the most of hojicha’s dark, roasty flavor, brew it with full boiling water. Bancha leaves are fluffier than sencha or gyokuro, so you’ll need 4 tablespoons (about 10 grams) to make an 8 ounce (240ml) pot. Steep for 30 seconds to extract a flavorful cup. After you pour, take the lid off the teapot so the tea can work its aromatherapy magic.

Standard Hojicha Brew

Makes one pot
1. Measure the leaves
4 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Hojicha premium roasted Japanese green tea leaves
Silver tablespoon filled with dried rolled Ippodo Hojicha premium roasted Japanese green tea leaves
Standard Hojicha Brew
1. Measure the leaves
4 tbsp. (10 g / 0.35 oz)
Add tea leaves to a kyusu or teapot.
2. Add hot water
240 mL (8 oz) 100°C (212°F)
Pour boiling water to cover tea leaves.
Pouring hot water from silver kettle into white Hakuji ceramic Ippodo Tea Co. Japanese kyusu teapot
Pouring hot water from silver kettle into white Hakuji ceramic Ippodo Tea Co. Japanese kyusu teapot
Standard Hojicha Brew
2. Add hot water
240 mL (8 oz) 100°C (212°F)
Pour boiling water to cover tea leaves.
3. Brew
30 seconds
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
Ippodo Tea Co. white Hakuji ceramic kyusu teapot set beside orange clock timer on white table
Ippodo Tea Co. white Hakuji ceramic kyusu teapot set beside orange clock timer on white table
Standard Hojicha Brew
3. Brew
30 seconds
Brew without stirring or disturbing the tea leaves.
4. Serve
Pour out every last drop.
Enjoy in your favorite teacup or mug.
Pouring amber Hojicha roasted green tea from white Hakuji ceramic (kyusu) teapot into white porcelain Japanese teacup
Pouring amber Hojicha roasted green tea from white Hakuji ceramic (kyusu) teapot into white porcelain Japanese teacup
Standard Hojicha Brew
4. Serve
Pour out every last drop.
Enjoy in your favorite teacup or mug.

Hojicha (and bancha generally) is more forgiving to brew than other Japanese teas, as it doesn’t get too bitter or astringent with overbrewing. So feel free to experiment with leaf ratios and steeping times to find a brew that’s just right for you.

Ippodo Tea - Hojicha Iced

And when it’s hot out, ice it: Hojicha is an amazing alternative to iced black tea. Steep the tea with the same parameters above, but for 60 seconds instead of 30, then pour over ice. There’s no tea more crisp and refreshing.

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