What Is Hojicha Tea And Why Is It So Popular Right Now?
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"Green tea" is a widely used term in the fitness and health-conscious communities. While a lot of people swear by its health benefits, clinical research has not found any conclusive evidence showing any tangible benefits. Green tea’s caffeine content is significantly lower than that of regular tea. A meta-analysis of multiple studies has shown that green tea helps slightly reduce the risk of stroke and death from cardiovascular diseases. Some studies have also shown a minor reduction in systolic blood pressure after three to six months of regular consumption.

Green tea has its origins in China, during the reign of the mythical emperor Shennong. Green tea has been mentioned in the book "The Classic of Tea" by Lu Yu, written in 618–907 AD during the Tang dynasty. The process used to make green tea from leaves and hot water is called steeping or brewing, which generally involves 2 grams of tea in 100 ml of water or about one teaspoon of green tea for every 150 ml of water. Steeping times range from thirty seconds to three minutes, and temperatures range from 61 degrees Celsius (142 degrees Fahrenheit) to 87 degrees Celsius (189 degrees Fahrenheit). The process of steeping also depends on the quality of the leaves being used. For example, high-quality green tea leaves are steeped for shorter durations of time and at lower temperatures, typically two to three times, while low-quality green tea leaves are steeped for longer at higher temperatures.

China is the undisputed market leader in terms of green tea exports. In 2021 alone, Chinese green tea exports will be valued at $763 million. Japan came in a distant second with a green tea export value of about $99 million. The global green tea market will reach $15.1 billion in 2022. It is expected to grow to $22.2 billion by 2028. Green tea is generally grown under two conditions: one being grown under the sun, and the other being grown in the shade. Green tea is typically harvested three times per year, with the first harvest occurring between late April and early May, the second between June and July, and the third between late July and early August. Occasionally, there is a fourth harvest. Certain artisanal methods, like sunrise, basket or charcoal firing, or pan firing, are used to pick green tea. Modern methods like album drying, tumbling, or steaming are also used.

Japan's oldest tea-producing region is Uji, located near the former capital Kyoto. Other major tea-producing regions include the island of Kyushu and the prefectures of Shiga, Gifu, and Saitama in central Honshu. While black tea was produced for a brief period of time between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most commercial tea produced in Japan today is green tea. Since labor in Japan is extremely expensive, Japanese tea production is highly mechanized and is characterized by the use of modern technology to improve yields. Only the highest possible quality of tea leaves are hand-plucked and hand-processed in a traditional manner. Japanese green teas are produced by steaming as opposed to Chinese green teas, which are produced by pan firing. Japanese green teas are generally sweeter and have a grassierflavor compared to their Chinese counterparts. Because of the limited quantity of green tea that can be produced in Japan, most of the tea production is dedicated to the premium tea market.

The following are some of the most common Japanese green teas:










Of the above-mentioned varieties, most people are familiar with matcha green tea. However, the Hojicha variety is beginning to gain traction. Because Hojicha green tea is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal to about 150° centigrade or 302° Fahrenheit to prevent oxidation, it is different from other varieties of Japanese green tea. Most other Japanese green teas are steamed. Hojicha green tea leaves are wedge-shaped and brown in color. The roasting and high temperature cause the leaf color to change from green to a reddish brown.

Hojicha was discovered by accident in 1920 by a merchant in the city of Kyoto when he roasted his unsaleable Bancha tea leaves, creating a new flavor. Because the process of roasting lowers the amount of caffeine in the tea, it becomes mild and is therefore a popular tea to serve during an evening meal or just before sleep. Additionally, children and the elderly favor this tea because of its low caffeine content.

Hojicha tea is quite popular with tech-savvy and young people, and they usually prefer to consume it in the evening, just like in Japan, due to its low caffeine content. Certain studies have shown that it may block cancer-causing cells and thereby lower the risk of cancer. With a marked increase in its popularity, businesses are scrambling to include Hojicha tea in their offerings. Since it can be consumed straight and at any time, it has reason to be famous. And people have also discovered that it mixes very well with milk flavors. Hojicha drinks have become extremely popular with café chains like Starbucks, and even chain restaurants like McDonald's have jumped on the bandwagon and have started offering hojicha-flavored drinks for a limited period of time. It wasn't long before Hojicha was being added to things other than beverages. For example, hojicha-flavored ice cream and certain other sweets like pudding, jelly, and cake are also available now. Instant noodle soups, pastas, and other savory dishes also come with Hojichaflavor now.

Following in Matcha’s footsteps, Hojicha is catching on quite quickly. From baked foods to instant noodles, from caffeinated beverages to whiskeys, Hojicha is beginning to leave its mark. A low stimulant percentage, many health benefits, and a mellow taste have endeared it to the masses. Hojicha’s consumption is only expected to rise as time progresses.