It is a drink that gives a particular fragrant aroma and a sweet flavor with tasty nuances, with nutty and toasted notes. In hojicha green tea, after drying, the roasting of the leaves creates a warm brown tone.
The vegetable flavors are replaced by aromas reminiscent of barley and coffee , sometimes smoky, making it unique. Houjicha green tea (also known as hojicha) is exhibit a distinct, refined taste for tea connoisseurs.
Roasted Houjicha green tea: properties and benefits
It is a green tea very common in Japan, also due to the fact that it gives less exciting virtues than other drinks, being low in theine (caffeine ). Other traditional Japanese green teas are only steamed after harvesting, while Houjicha green tea leaves undergo a further step, which modifies their structure.
They are roasted at high temperatures, eliminating the bitterness and a lot of theine present in the foliage. This process doesn't affect the benefits of classic green tea too much – it retains some antioxidants (catechins), but eliminates the acidity or herbaceous taste of some green teas. In practice, roasted green tea is suitable to drink even in the evening, as it has no effects on sleep patterns (due to theine).
In Japan, Houjicha is also used by children and the elderly, who tend to be sensitive to theine – caffeine. The amount of caffeine much lower than traditional green tea, is useful for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake for health reasons; the roasted aroma makes this tea a hot alternative to coffee. Like other green teas, Houjicha gives a sense of relaxation, thanks to the presence of the substance L-Theanine - which contributes to the relaxing effects, relieving symptoms of stress and agitation.
Among the health benefits of Houjicha there are digestive and purifying ones, since this Japanese green tea works by promoting the digestion process. This roasted Japanese green tea facilitates the transit of food, thanks to the presence of more healthy fibers than other teas. It maintains the well-being of the colon and helps reduce the body's absorption of fat.
In this sense, green tea also provides support for a correct diet. The catechins contained in Houjicha green tea (especially EGCG epigallocatechin gallate) stimulate the body's metabolism. They increase the body's use of calories, which will lead to excess fat burning. Hojicha roasted green tea is also known to contribute to the well-being of the oral cavity and gums, thanks to the polyphenols contained in its leaves. The antioxidant EGCG, present in all green teas, helps prevent bad breath.
Origins and History of cultivation
Houjicha green tea is a Japanese tea obtained by roasting tea leaves. It is usually produced from the late summer or autumn harvest, with a procedure that introduces roasting after drying. The leaves are then first steamed, rolled and dried. After drying, the same leaves are roasted.
In the practice of creating Houjicha tea, there are two types. Houjicha Gold Roast tea, created with summer Bancha and delicately roasted - reveals golden-yellow leaves and a slightly vegetal aroma. Houjicha Dark Roast tea, created from the autumn Bancha, which is roasted twice – reveals dark brown colored leaves and an intense aroma. The history of this procedure was born in Japan, in Kyoto, about a century ago. Although green tea was introduced to Japan in the Nara period (710-794 AD) by Buddhist monks, the practice of roasting is more recent. The development of Houjicha took place against waste due to the mechanical harvesting of the leaves. In the 1920s, a tea merchant found a way to make the most of leftover leaves, stems, stems and twigs by roasting them over charcoal.
The experiment was successful and Houjicha was born, also in the Kyoto area. Soon after, tea shops in Japan began roasting green tea, attracting drinkers. The spreading aroma enchanted many people: the deep smoky aroma and round flavor were appreciated. Traditionally, Houjicha was roasted in a tea pan called an houroku. A century later, Japanese consumers are choosing from a wide variety of roasted green teas based on Bancha, Sencha and Kukicha.
Plant and flowers
Camellia sinensis is a plant belonging to the The familyacea. It is a slow growing evergreen shrub, which can reach up to 9 meters - it is usually pruned and kept low (at a height of about 1.2m) to facilitate hand-picking of the leaves. It shows lanceolate leaves of bright green color, which are the important ones for tea production.
Most leaves tend to grow between 5 and 10 centimeters in length. The single fragrant white flowers appear in autumn and winter. Both leaves and flowers are edible. The common tea plant prefers clayey, well-drained soils, shaded areas and altitudes between forest edges and around 2700 metres. It grows in many areas of Asia, East Africa and Argentina - it is also grown in parts of the United States.
Nutritional values of Roasted Houjicha Green Tea
This Japanese green tea also has beneficial components, although some are modified with roasting. Houjicha has a very low caffeine content: one cup contains only about 7.5 mg of caffeine (green tea usually has between 20 and 50 mg of caffeine). However, there are some antioxidant polyphenols such as flavonoids, catechins, as well as vitamins and minerals.
Among the amino acids, there is L-theanine (rare molecule). A substance produced is pyrazine, due to the roasting process that heats the saccharide and amino acid components of the tea.
How to prepare Roasted Houjicha Green Tea
The infusion is obtained by placing in a cup (250 ml), about 3-5 grams of the roasted Houjicha green tea blend, in water at 80 °C. Let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes before drinking this green tea. Those who wish can add honey or sugar.
Side effects and contraindications
Although green tea is generally considered safe, as it also contains minimal doses of theine – caffeine, it is useful to avoid excessive doses. An excessive amount of green tea can lead to feelings of nervousness and sleep problems, although this is rare in Houiicha.
To avoid problems related to digestion, it is recommended to take Houjicha after meals, when nausea, diarrhea or stomach pain is experienced. Furthermore, it is advisable to limit its intake to minimal doses in case of heart, cardiovascular or renal insufficiency problems. Caution is advised if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.