“I’m sorry we’ve just run out of Matcha, would you like Hojicha instead?”
If faced with this question should you say “yes” or “no”?
The answer is simply a matter of comparing Matcha vs. Hojicha.
Matcha and Hojicha are similar in some ways—both green tea, both made in Japan.
However, that’s where the similarities end.
Matcha is made only from young tea leaves that are stone-ground into a fine powder.
Hojicha uses mature tea leaves, stems, and stalks that are roasted at ~200°C. The roasted tea is then left in loose leaf form or stone-ground into powder (just like Matcha)!
Matcha has over 20 times more caffeine than Hojicha!
On average, Matcha has 3.2 g of caffeine per 100 g; Hojicha has only 0.13 g of caffeine per 100 g.
This is because Hojicha uses parts of the tea plant that are naturally lower in caffeine. The heat from roasting may also breakdown some of the caffeine found in the leaves!
Matcha is thus the perfect morning pick-me-up whereas Hojicha is great for unwinding in the evening.
If you are sensitive to caffeine or want to reduce your caffeine intake, Hojicha is the tea for you.
Taste and Aroma
The roasting process used in Hojicha has a significant impact on the teas flavour and fragrance.
Roasting reduces the bitterness of Hojicha, making it more palatable to some!
We would describe Hojicha as sweet yet smoky with a pleasant, earthy aroma.
Matcha, on the other hand, has a more savoury, umami flavour and fresh, grassy aroma.
The green tea leaves used to make Matcha are specially grown in the shade. This causes the leaves to produce more of the green pigment, chlorophyll!
As for Hojicha, its reddish-brown tone is due to the tea being roasted.
The exact hue of Hojicha will depend on how it was roasted, when it was harvested, and the origins of the leaves.
Matcha, which translates to ground tea, is always in powdered form.
In contrast, Hojicha can be sold as whole tea leaves or in powdered form!
This means Matcha is always whisked with a bamboo whisk known as a Chasen.
Hojicha can be prepared either with a whisk or steeped in a teapot, depending on the type you are using.
As you can see, there are several notable differences between the two Japanese green teas.
We recommend trying both before deciding which you like best!