Hojicha Vs Matcha

Hojicha Vs Matcha — What’s The Difference?

It has been around for millennia – and is still gaining popularity today because of its exceptional health benefits. However, as so many options become more readily available, choosing one becomes extraordinarily difficult. There are a lot of similarities between Hojicha and Matcha, but when you look closer, you will see some major differences.

What is the difference between Hojicha and Matcha? Hojicha is made by steaming and roasting the leaves, changing their color and flavor. It is available in loose leaf, powdered, and tea bag forms. In order to make matcha, the leaves must be steamed and dried on a flat surface. The result is a brighter green. It can only be found in powdered form.

Here, we’ll discuss what these teas are, how they are made, the different types, how they taste and look, and, of course, what they offer in terms of nutrition. We’ve even included a section on how they’re made!

What Is Hojicha?

A unique aspect of Hojicha is the way it has been processed, which makes it one of the most popular types of green tea in Japan. It is first necessary to steam these green tea leaves in order to prevent them from oxidizing.

They are then roasted over charcoal coals at 302oF (150oC) for about 3-4 minutes. The result is beautiful golden brown tea leaves! The process of making hojicha tea leaves was discovered in 1920 by a Kyoto-based merchant. Hojicha tea leaves are roughly 102 years old!

Types Of Hojicha

Several different types of hojicha can be found, but all of them are made from the second or third harvest. A second point to keep in mind is that the tea comes from a lower-grade leaf. Keep in mind that “lower grade” doesn’t necessarily mean “lower quality” – even low-grade teas are unique.

1. Bancha (Most Common)

In most cases, hojicha teas are made from bancha tea leaves, which are harvested from the second flush of tea leaves. However, the later the leaves are harvested, the lower their market grade (not quality).

Each grade of bancha has a distinct flavor, and there are 22 grades in total!

2. Sencha

In a way, sencha tea leaves are similar to bancha tea leaves, except that they are harvested earlier, so they are considered to have a higher market value. Their flavors will also differ due to the fact that they are harvested at different times.

Also, not all sencha leaves are used to make hojicha. Many are processed in the traditional manner of making green tea, not roasted.

3. Kukicha

There is also a variety referred to as kukicha, also known as bocha. This tea is mostly made from the twigs and stems of the tea plant.

This is also why this tea is often referred to as “twig tea.”

Forms Available

This ingredient also comes in three different forms, making it unique!

1. Loose Leaf Hojicha

Whole leaves are best steeped in this method. This is time consuming, but the tea will taste much better and have more nutrients.

Depending on the size of your teapot or tea ball, we recommend getting the larger tea leaves, while for smaller items, finer tea leaves will work.

Likewise, you will find a variety of different grades of hojicha. Here, you will be able to taste the difference in taste between them.

2. Powdered Hojicha

Next, we have powdered hojicha, which is in a ground powdered form. This tea is much quicker to prepare and can be used in baked goods or cold drinks.

You won’t get as many nutrients from powdered tea as you would from loose leaves.

3. Hojicha Tea Bags

Although loose tea leaves deliver more flavor and nutrients, tea bags are probably the most convenient form of tea for day-to-day consumption.

Whether you’re making a warm cup of hojicha tea, or a large batch of iced hojicha tea, tea bags are easy to use and clean.

Appearance

The dried leaves of hojicha tea have a wedge-shaped, needle-like appearance. Most are reddish-brown to golden-brown in color.

In addition to the grade of the leaves, the roasting temperature and timing also have an effect on the color. You can occasionally get greenish leaves, but this is rare.

It is also available in a powdered form that is reddish brown or golden in color. The powder is made by grinding whole roasted leaves or twigs.

Flavor

While roasting, the tea loses its astringent qualities, which are replaced by a roasted, toasty, or nutty taste. Many describe it also as having a sweet undertone.

We’ve already mentioned that different grades have different flavors. Some are more vegetal or smoky, while others have a slight caramel undertone.

While hojicha powder doesn’t necessarily create different flavors of tea, it can create creamier, nuttier teas; however, their flavor is less prominent than loose-leaf tea.

Basic Nutritional Breakdown

During the roasting process, hojicha’s caffeine content is significantly reduced, so many people consider it a caffeine-free tea.

Hojicha is also very high in antioxidants, so it is excellent for fighting free radicals and removing toxins from your body.

A known stress reliever (like most teas), hojicha contains an amino acid called L-Theanine, which boosts mental capacity and lowers blood pressure.

As a result, this tea can even reduce your cholesterol, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease.

How To Make Hojicha

The teapot should come with a fine-mesh strainer if the tea is loose-leaf.

Depending on your preferences, you may use 1–112 teaspoons of leaves per 1 cup of water.

When brewing hojicha tea, 190°F (88°C) is the ideal temperature. The highest quality leaves should be brewed at a lower temperature.

After you have brought the water to a boil or the correct brewing temperature (with the leaves inside), allow it to sit for 30 seconds to a minute to cool slightly, and then serve your tea.

What Is Matcha?

In the United States, matcha is by far the most popular green tea.

Ancient matcha dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.).

Throughout the centuries, matcha making has changed.

It is possible to buy loose-leaf tea (sencha) as well as powdered matcha, and matcha comes in many different grades and types.

How Matcha Is Made

Basically, the tea bushes are grown in shade to make matcha, which requires specific conditions and techniques.

The leaves are covered with nets at some point to slow growth, which increases chlorophyll in the leaves.

Sencha is made by steaming (to prevent oxidation) the leaves after harvesting. This is what sets it apart from matcha.

When making sencha, the leaves are rolled and then dried, while when making matcha, they are first rolled into tencha.

What Is Tencha?

Unlike rolled and dried tea, powdered matcha is made by laying the leaves flat and then breaking them into smaller pieces. These pieces can be de-stemmed, de-veined, and ground into a fine powder.

Matcha loose-leaf tea can be made with them whole, but it’s not matcha. If you see anything labeled as “Matcha loose-leaf tea,” it’s either sencha or tencha, not matcha.

For 30 grams of hand-ground matcha, it takes about one hour to grind 30 grams of tencha tea. Because the stones cannot heat up too much, the grinding process is slow.

Grades Of Matcha

There are three grades of matcha: ceremonial, premium, and culinary. The packages will clearly indicate the grade of matcha. Matcha is an ancient tea and in high demand.

A ceremonial matcha has the most vibrant green appearance and the smoothest flavor of all the matcha options. This is the best matcha for traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

The best matcha to consume daily is premium-grade matcha, which is made from young leaves and has a fresher, more delicate flavor.

Due to its lower-hanging leaves, culinary matcha is the cheapest option you can buy and shouldn’t be used to make tea.

In addition to culinary matcha, there are five subcategories (cafe, classic, ingredient, kitchen, and premium) with different intended uses.

In addition to when the leaves are plucked and how the powder is made, the lower the quality will be the later the harvest takes place.

Appearance

There are several shades of green in matcha, depending on the grade and method of production, but generally, they should all be bright and vibrant. Lower-grade matcha has a less vibrant color.

If the matcha powder has a coarser texture (like some cooking powders), it may not be the best quality.

Flavor

The flavor profile of matcha is generally more vegetative, with savory and umami undertones.

There is a misconception that matcha is bitter. It is more bitter than hojicha, but ceremonial-grade matcha is rather creamy and relatively sweet.

Basic Nutritional Breakdown

However, the quality of matcha should be taken into account as it is one of the most nutrient-dense green teas.

Most people believe ceremonial-grade matcha is better for antioxidants, while premium-grade matcha is best for everyday drinking. However, don’t make tea with culinary matcha!

High in antioxidants, matcha boosts your mental health, boosts your overall brain function, and can lower stress levels. It may also help lower the risk for heart disease and cancer.

The only downside is that it contains some caffeine, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but some people can’t tolerate it. There’s still some caffeine in it, but it’s not as much as in coffee.

How To Make Matcha

Matcha is a powder, so it is prepared differently than loose-leaf tea. To prepare it, you need a tea bowl (chawan), a strainer, and a bamboo whisk (chasen).

If you boil your water over 176°F (80°C), you will create a bitter tea.

To make matcha, 2–4 grams of powder are sieved before being added to a tea bowl with 60–80 ml of hot water. The ingredients are whisked to create either a smooth or frothy liquid.

Depending on the ratio of powder to water, the drink can be either thick (koicha) for ceremonies, or thin (usucha) for general consumption.

What’s The Difference Between Matcha And Hojicha?

In order to understand more specific differences between the two, let’s compare the two side by side.

These two teas can come from the same bush, but they are prepared differently.

For both matcha and hojicha, the later the leaves are harvested, the lower the grade of the tea. Matcha is made from different grades of leaves, including first-harvest leaves; hojicha is never made from first-harvest leaves.

Matcha is steamed, then dried on a flat surface. The production methods used to make matcha give the powder a very bright green color. The flavor of matcha is slightly bitter, earthy, and vegetative.

Steaming and roasting the leaves gives them the reddish-golden-brown color and roasted, nutty, and smoky flavors of hojicha.

These two green teas also come in quite different forms.

Matcha is only available as powder, while hojicha is available as loose leaf, powder, and tea bags.

The way these two teas are prepared also differs. Matcha is a powder that is whisked with water using special equipment.

In spite of the different brewing temperatures and times, hojicha is made using traditional tea brewing techniques.

Finally, there’s their flavor and nutrition.

Hojicha teas tend to have a more complex flavor profile because there are more variables.

Hojicha and matcha are both green teas with the main difference being that Hojicha does not contain caffeine, while matcha does.

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