How to Roast Your Own Houjicha

How to roast your own houjichaI’ll rarely drink bancha by itself. Most likely I’ll use it as raw material to either make my own genmaicha, or roast it to make houjicha.

Roasting your own houjicha is easy. It’s also a great way to recycle your old green tea such as sencha.

If you haven’t tried houjicha yet, why not make some yourself before committing to buy a whole bag?

Bancha on plateWhat you’ll need

  • Loose-leaf green tea, the quantity is up to you.  I suggest that you use bancha first because it’s the cheapest.
  • A pan. Any size will do.
  • A wooden spoon (optional)

First, make sure that your pan is clean. You don’t want any odor attaching to your houjicha. Also remember never to put oil in the pan when roasting your tea leaves.

There’s no set guideline for the temperature, but I suggest that you try low or medium heat at first. The higher the temperature of the pan the less control you have of the roasting process, and you run the risk of burning the tea leaves.

bancha on panStart roasting!

Put the tea leaves in the hot pan and either use the wooden spoon to move the leaves, or move the pan itself. If it’s a heavy pan, use the wooden spoon instead :-)

There’s a point when you’ll see a bit of smoke coming out, that means you’re almost done. The tea leaves should be slowly turning brownish, and you’ll smell the roasted aroma.

Roasting banchaKeep roasting some more if you wish, but don’t overdo it. If it becomes black all of a sudden, then you’ve failed, so be careful.

Place the roasted leaves into another container to cool, don’t leave them on the pan.

I think I was close to burning the leaves this time, it took me a while to take good enough pictures.

Finished roasting banchaLet’s taste our houjicha

Once roasted, I like to brew my houjicha straightaway. If you don’t use it for a long time, it’ll start to degrade and that would be a waste.

Brew it with boiling water, and steep for 30 seconds. For a video and brewing instructions, take another look at the houjicha page.

Home made houjichaI used my kyusu when brewing, but you can use just about any tea pot. If done right, you’ll notice the characteristic brown color and roasted aroma.

Houjicha is very low in caffeine and has little bitterness and astringency. It’s a good tea to drink before you go to sleep.

Put your roasting skills to the test, and enjoy a cup of home made houjicha.

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3 Responses to How to Roast Your Own Houjicha

  1. Great write-up, man. I didn’t think doing houjicha could be that easy.

  2. Michael says:

    I’d like to try this but I’ve seen and read elsewhere that in Japan, houjicha is roasted in a small open pottery device called a horoku or hojiki. Do you think there would be much difference in the outcome if one were to use a small, un-seasoned cast iron skillet instead?

    • Hi Michael

      Yes, you can use a houroku at home but I doubt that the result would be significantly better. It’s more for convenience and aesthetics.
      Many high quality commercial houjichas that I’ve seen have a deeper and more complex aroma, but I don’t know the specifics on how they attain it.

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