Difference between Hojicha and Chinese Tea
Hojicha (ほうじ茶) refers to any roasted Japanese green tea, which means there are various types and grades of Hojicha, depending on what tea—or part of tea leaf—was chosen to toast. It is distinctive from other Japanese green teas because it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal, while most Japanese teas are steamed (the most common steamed tea being sencha). The tea is roasted at a high temperature, changing the leaf color tints from green to reddish-brown.
There are a number of differences between Chinese tea and Hojicha tea. Chinese teas are often prepared in such a way that the oxidation process is stopped because the leaves are traditionally heated in woks, while to start making Hojicha, it is typically steamed first to stop the oxidization process then roasted thereafter. The tea is put into a rotating drum, roasted at approximately 200°C or 392°F, and then cooled. The steaming process lasts for about 15 to 20 seconds and is performed soon, within 12 to 20 hours, after the leaves are picked. Because of this careful preparation, Hojicha has little to no bitterness as well as a reduced caffeine level, making hojicha suitable for consumption in the evening and by those with a slightly sensitive stomach. Hojicha also is often made with Yabukita cultivar which is Japanese whereas Chinese tea uses other types of cultivar, which results in the differences of the end resulting tea.
Hojicha is a fairly new type of tea while Chinese tea is considered as the origin of other teas. Hochija was discovered merely at least on the centuries-long timeline of tea history. It was only developed in the 1920s, in Kyoto, with charcoal as the source of heat using the left tea twigs so that it would not be put to waste.
While Hochija is another type of Japanese green tea, on contrary, it’s impossible to know how many Chinese tea types exist. They are mostly classified by the leaf shape type, cultivar, and region. For example, there are different Dragon Well, Silver Needles, and Mao Feng teas, same as there are numerous Japanese sencha teas.
While both the Chinese tea and the Hochija perform roasting, for example, in one of the most popular types of Chinese tea, which is the roasted oolong tea (note: not all oolong tea are roasted), the difference is that the way hojicha to be made is usually to take a bancha or ordinary green tea and roast or toast it. On the other hand, the way to make the roasted oolong tea is to take green tea leaves, crush them very slightly and let them oxidized, then dry them. Upon drying is the time for the leaves to be roasted. An extra step of roasting is done in the Chinese roasted tea compared to Hochija. This roasted Chinese tea also undergoes leaf maceration, rolling, and bruising, resulting in a certain degree of oxidation, and in fact, oolong tea is one of the most oxidized Chinese tea, while the leaves are fresh while the Hochija, as emphasized, is steamed to stop the oxidation process.
Here is the green tea we carry that are mentioned in this blog:
- ShizuokaTea.com – Houjicha
- KagoshimaTea.com – Organic Houjicha
- ShizuokaTea.com – Organic Sencha Kaze
- KagoshimaTea.com – Organic Sencha Powder
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