If you are looking out for new teas to try, you do not want to miss out on hojicha tea. Compared to other Japanese green teas, hojicha tastes slightly mellower and comes with a beautiful smoky taste. It also has a lower caffeine level than regular green tea, making it a great addition to those who are looking to drink tea at night.
If you are new to drinking hojicha, it might be hard for you to pick out which hojicha brand of tea to enjoy. So to help with you, I have complied a list of my favorite hojicha teas available.
Why I Enjoy Hojicha?
Hojicha is usually made from the tea leaves that is grown under direct sunlight. It uses all the parts of the tea leaves (including stem and twigs) and is roasted under high temperature. This gives it the distinct amazing aroma and taste. The smell is absolutely charming, it has a nice smoky, nutty or toasty scent.
Hojicha tends to use leaves that are called hojisencha. When compared to sencha, hojicha generally is slightly more delicate and non-bitter, while also having a strong aroma. In addition, hojicha that is made with Kikuchi has a much more lighter taste than other types of hojicha. Kikucha is tea that is made from stems and twigs. This helps create an even more milder, creamier and nutty taste. I feel like hojicha that is made with just kikucha tend to be more sweeter in taste.
When drinking tea, you should consider how your tea leaves are packed. You can choose between tea bags, loose leaf or even in powdered form. In general, there is only a slight difference in the different forms. Hojicha in tea bags make it much more simpler and convenient to brew. Bagged tea is a quick option, the tea leaves are already pre-measured and you can just put one straight into your cup.
While I’ll admit, tea bags are very convenient, it does not provide the most robust flavor. If you are looking to brew your tea to the most optimal taste, loose leaf tea will go wonders. It contains a much more fuller range for a more fragrant and flavorful brew. You can also control the amount of tea leaves you want to include into your tea.
Yamamotoyama is one of the best tea brands in Japan. It was first established in 1690, when the Yamamoto family moved from Kyoto to Tokyo to open a tea shop. Nowadays, Yamamoto is one of the oldest tea companies in Japan. They are also one of the few tea companies that grow their own tea leaves for green tea.
Itoen is a really popular brand. This tea leaves are made from roasted green tea leaves (sencha) and provides a nice robust sweet and nutty flavor. The bag is in a plastic pyramid shape that also provides space for your leaves to unpack and fully soak in the hot water.
I found that this tea bag does leave a little bit of powder in your tea. I can imagine that there are finely grained tea leaves or twigs that can seep out from the tea bags. Personally, I do not mind that at all, but something like this could turn you off from this brand.
Iyemon is another great brand that originates from Japan. The tea leaves are carefully selected by a Fukujuen master. This hojicha blend also includes roasted rice to help create an even more stronger scent of the roasted tea. It comes out in a beautiful greenish brown color when brewed. The tea bags are also wrapped in aluminum to help preserve the freshness of the tea leaves.
The Sugimoto Tea Company uses a blend of both roasted leaves and stems to help provide a more earthy flavor. It markets itself as organic and the leaves picked in a sustainable farm. In addition, the tea leaves are stored in a municipally compostable teabag. For those of you who are looking to be more sustainable, this would be a good brand to try out.
This is an American tea company that first started off in San Francisco. They source their tea leaves from renowned tea regions, these ones are sourced in Japan. It is certified as organic, vegan and kosher (but as always, most tea leaves are). When brewed, this brand gives off a nice golden brown color. It smells amazing and I would definitely recommend this if you prefer to buy tea leaves from an US company.
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