Over the summer my Japanese girlfriends came to visit and we had a great time catching up with one another. My girlfriends are always so generous with their gifts and they brought so many wonderful things from Japan! One gift was hoji cha from Nara. Hoji cha is a Japanese roasted green tea.
Green tea is unfermented tea leaves. By roasting the green tea leaves over charcoal, the color of the leaves become a warm brown transforming the flavor to a deeper and smokey taste. After roasting, they say the tea becomes less caffeinated so it’s a good after dinner tea.
To bring out the flavor of hoji cha, my girlfriend roasted the leaves in a hot dry frying pan and it brought out a wonderful aroma. This may also be a good idea if you live in a place that has high humidity. From experience, I know how fast things go stale in the tropics! Re-roasting will help take out that extra moisture that gets absorbed and creates a much better flavored tea.
Although hoji cha is quite commonly served in noodle restaurants in Japan instead of water, I never bought it before. So, initially, I was putting the same amount of hoji cha that I would for green tea with hot water and it was very weak. I had to double the amount compared to green tea. For a small pot, about 12 oz., I usually use 2 teaspoons of green tea but for hoji cha I need about 4. If you live in hot country, you can also make iced hoji cha. It’s smokey robust flavor is a good change from all the sweet drinks. It’s always fun to try something new so I do hope you give it a try!