Hōjicha (焙じ茶, ほうじ茶) is a Japanese green tea. It is distinctive from other Japanese green teas because it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal. It is roasted at 150 °C (302 °F) to prevent oxidation and produce a light golden colour, as opposed to other Japanese teas which are steamed. In general, the base of a hōjicha consists of leaves from the second harvest or after.[1]


Other nameshōji-cha, houjicha, pan-fried / oven roasted tea

Quick descriptionPopular in Japan; roasted bancha or kukicha tea, often used as an after-dinner tea

Temperature82 °C (180 °F)
Time30 sec to 3 minutes


Visual appearance

Dry hōjicha tea leaves are brown wedge-shaped needles. The tea is fired at a high temperature, altering the leaf colour tints from green to reddish-brown.

Infusions have a distinctive clear red appearance and nutty fragrance. Hojicha is sometimes sold in a powdered form and used to make steamed milk drinks.


Once infused, hōjicha has a nutty, toasty, sweet flavor. The tea has little to no bitterness.[2]


The process of making hōjicha was discovered in 1920 by accident when a Kyoto merchant had unsaleable bancha. By roasting the bancha, the merchant created a new flavor; hōjicha.[3]

Hōjicha is often made from bancha (番茶 'common tea'), tea from the last harvest of the season. However, other varieties of hōjicha also exist, including a variety made from sencha and kukicha. Kukicha (also known as bōcha or 'twig tea') is made primarily from the twigs and stems of the tea plant rather than the leaves alone.[4]

Hōjicha infusions have a light- to reddish-brown appearance and are less astringent. The lower levels of astringency in hōjicha are due to the tea losing catechins during the high-temperature roasting process.

The roasted flavours are extracted and dominate this tea: the roasting replaces the vegetative tones of other varieties of Japanese green tea with a toasty, slightly caramel-like flavour.

The roasting process used to make hōjicha also lowers the amount of caffeine in the tea. Because of its mildness, hōjicha is a popular tea to serve during the evening meal, before sleep, and preferred for children and the elderly.[5]

See also


  1. A Beginner's Guide to Japanese Tea: Selecting and Brewing the Perfect Cup of Sencha, Matcha, and Other Japanese Teas. Tuttle Publishing. 2002. p. 28. ISBN 978-4805316382.
  2. Uhl, Joseph Wesley (2015). The Art and Craft of Tea: An Enthusiast's Guide to Selecting, Brewing, and Serving Exquisite Tea. Quarry Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-1631590498. OCLC 1232411381.
  3. Driem, George L. van (2019-01-14). The Tale of Tea: A Comprehensive History of Tea from Prehistoric Times to the Present Day. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-39360-8.
  4. Kilby, Nick (2015). The Book of Tea: All Things Tea. Jacqui Small LLP. p. 248. ISBN 978-1909342842.
  5. Saberi, Helen (2010). Tea: A Global History. Reaktion Books. p. 48. ISBN 978-1861897763. OCLC 908338259.
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