Have you heard of Hojicha before? It’s absolutely delicious and it’s actually been gaining in popularity over the past few years as the popular matcha’s cousin.
In a nutshell, Hojicha is a roasted Japanese green tea. The tea leaves are roasted over charcoal which gives it their distinctive reddish brown colour and earthy flavour. It has much less caffeine than matcha which is a fantastic perk as I always want to enjoy matcha at night, but end up losing sleep because of it.
Hojicha Co. has kindly sent me a few of their products to try which includes loose leaf Hojicha as well as Hojicha powder (the tea leaves are ground into a fine powder).
The Hojicha Gold Roast is known as the Champagne of Hojicha. It is harvested early in spring, and the whole leaves are steamed, rolled, dried, and then roasted. This creates a complex flavour profile and it’s light, but with a hint of caramel sweetness.
The Hojicha Dark Roast tea leaves are grown in full sun and harvested in June. The roasting process removes any bitterness and most of the caffeine, making it the perfect drink for later afternoons or evenings. This tea is more smokey and robust in flavour.
The Hojicha Powder was actually what I was most excited about because it’s really hard to find! Slowly more and more companies specializing in tea are selling it, but it’s still not as common as matcha powder by FAR.
Their Hojicha Powder is as versatile as regular matcha powder which means you can substitute it in just about any matcha recipe. Hojicha powder is also finely milled and contains the whole tea leaf so you get more of the health benefits than just steeping the tea leaves.
I tried making 3 recipes using hojicha powder to show the versatility of this amazing product! I hope you like them!
1) Hojicha Banana Bread
For this yummy Hojicha Banana Bread, I used Vancouver Foodie’s Chunky Monkey Banana Bread recipe, but just added Hojicha powder to it and omitted the chocolate. I added about 1 tablespoon of the hojicha powder and I think I can add more next time. 2 tablespoons probably would have made the colour darker, and would have resulted in a more pronounced tea flavour.
2) Hojicha Latte Bubble Tea
Similar to matcha powder, I just used a chashaku (matcha tea measuring spoon) to spoon out about 2 spoonfuls of the hojicha powder, and whisked some lukewarm water into the bowl with a matcha whisk.
I completed the Hojicha Latte by mixing that mixture with some oat milk and viola! Hojicha Latte! Lastly, I added some sweetened boba pearls to make it a delicious Hojicha Latte Bubble Tea. It was incredibly flavourful and I would gladly make it again and again. 🙂
3. Hojicha Cumin Salt
Instead of always using Hojicha for sweet recipes, I thought it’d be super cool to experiment with a savoury recipe using Hojicha powder! Enter the Hojicha Cumin Salt. 🙂 I basically used Sift & Simmer’s Matcha Cumin Salt recipe and replaced matcha powder with hojicha powder.
It’s essentially three ingredients: Himalayan pink salt, cumin, and hojicha. So simple but when blended together, it made for such a beautiful combination. It’s best sprinkled on things you want a bit of smokey robust flavour on ie. beef short ribs, eggs, avocado toast.
All in all, I absolutely loved Hojicha Co.‘s hojicha powder and tea leaves. They are of very high quality and it’s comes straight from Kyoto! It truly transports me back to Japan and when we’re all quarantining, I want to get as close to Japan as I can get, while in the comfort of my home in Vancouver.