Tasting Week - HoujichaTasting Week - Houjicha
We recently launched "Tasting Week - Houjicha" so that our customers can sample the fine roasted flavor of Houjicha. We will include a Free Sample package of Houjicha with all orders placed at our store from September 4th to September 13th. Houjicha has a smooth and mellow roasted nut flavor, and is a good value suitable for everyday. We hope you'll take this opportunity to try Houjicha!

What is Houjicha?

Houjicha is smooth and mellow roasted nut flavor, which lingers nicely for a while. We would like you to rediscover the value of our Houjicha teas.

The first three processing steps of Houjicha tea leaves are the same as for Sencha: 1) Steaming, 2) Drying and Crumpling, and 3) Shaping. But to make Houjicha, the tea goes through one special additional step: 4) Roasting. The smooth and mellow roasted aroma of Houjicha is created by roasted.
Like Sencha, tea leaves for Houjicha are grown with fully-flooded sunlight, so that Houjicha contains beneficial Catechin. And since Houjicha is pan-roasted, it is very low in caffeine. In Japan, Houjicha is commonly given to babies and people who are sick because it is both nourishing and low in caffeine. Besides, Houjicha is perfect for iced tea. It will cool you on a sizzling hot day.

Hibiki-an uses only the highest grade (first harvested, or pruned after harvesting Shincha) tea leaves to make all of our Houjicha items. The finished product is a fresh roasted chestnut-brown color. The leaves are only lightly roasted to maximize the essential flavor of the tea leaves. The flavor is very smooth and the aroma lingers nicely for a while.

Unfortunately many tea companies use low grade tea leaves (second harvested, third harvested, pruned in autumn, etc.) to make their Houjicha. Other Houjicha (not ours!) is roasted too strongly and becomes a dark brown color, so the flavor is smoky and not smooth at all.

Also Houjicha items are all good affordable everyday tea and are favorite beverage of tea farmers all over Japan. Like "fresh roasted" coffee, Houjicha is also most flavorful just after roasting. Needless to say, all of our Houjicha items at Hibiki-an are fresh roasted, packaged just after roasting.

Tea Color of Houjicha

Tea leaves of Houjicha

Tea leaves of Houjicha Karigane

Roasting facility

Tea leaves sending up smoke in the roasting facility

Tea leaves just completed roasting

History of Houjicha

It is said that the origin of Houjicha is Kyo Bancha. Kyo Bancha was originally made by pruned tea leaves from the tea tree for the highest grade, hand picked Matcha and Gyokuro.
Machine trimmed tea trees are shaped into a uniform semicircle. In contrast, tea trees picked by hand grow upward naturally, as shown below. Hand picked tea trees grow to a height of 1 to 1.5m (3.28 to 4.92ft) around harvest season. Just after harvest, farmers prune around the base of the tea tree (about 40cm / 1.31ft). The pruned tea leaves and stems are steamed, dried in the sun, and then roasted. It is traditional Kyo Bancha and the origin of Houjicha. Now, Houjicha is made by roasting Sencha.
Houjicha is everyday tea for people living in Kyoto. Houjicha is enjoyed at every meal, with an afternoon snack, near bedtime, and so on. Hot brewed Houjicha warms not only the body but the heart and spirit during cold winters. And in the summer, Iced Houjicha is very cooling and refreshing.
The highest grade Houjicha, like our Houjicha Super Premium and Houjicha Karigane Super Premium, is used at Tea Ceremony schools. The highest grade Houjicha is enjoyed at special occasions to open the heart and spirit. Houjicha is an essential part of daily life for the people of Kyoto.

Machine trimmed tea trees

Hand picked tea trees

Brewed infusion of traditional Kyo Bancha is a little darker than Houjicha. The flavor is uniquely smoky.

Tea leaves of traditional Kyo Bancha

Tea leaves of Houjicha

Today's Houjicha

A Tip to Enjoy Houjicha

To enjoy Houjicha or Houjicha Karigane, there are three points to remember.
Houjicha / Houjicha Karigane is only half the weight of Sencha tea leaves; it is 50% lighter. So, please put about two times (2x) the cubical content of Houjicha or Houjicha Karigane tea leaves in the tea pot (Kyusu).
To extract the excellent nutty and smooth aroma from Houjicha, please brew the tea leaves in boiling water for a short time, 15 to 30 seconds.
Like "fresh roasted" coffee, Houjicha / Houjicha Karigane is also most flavorful just after roasting. Please purchase Houjicha packaged just after roasting. Needless to say, all of our Houjicha items at Hibiki-an are fresh roasted, specially packaged just after roasting.
All of our teas at Hibiki-an may be brewed three times with full flavor and excellent results, including our Houjicha.

(Brewing way for 2cups)
Tea leaves: 3 tablespoons (7-8g)
Water temperature: boiling water
Amount of water: 200ml (7.04fl oz)
Waiting time: 15 - 30sec.

Houjicha Items

Houjicha (200g/7.06oz): US$20.00
Houjicha, also called Bancha, is made by roasting Sencha tea leaves over high heat. It is a brown tea with a toasted nutty flavor, and is low in caffeine...
Houjicha Karigane (200g/7.06oz): US$21.00
Houjicha Karigane is made from the stems of high grade tea leaves and roasted in the same way as standard Houjicha. The flavor is deeply sweet and roasted, which is quite unique among Japanese tea...
Organic Houjicha (200g/7.06oz): US$22.00
This Organic Houjicha is certified by Japanese administration. This, also called Bancha, is made by roasting Organic Sencha tea leaves over high heat. It is a brown tea with a toasted nutty flavor, and is low in caffeine...
Teabag Houjicha (5g*28 / 0.17oz*28): US$20.00
Each specially-designed nylon bag is filled with whole-leaf Houjicha, so you can enjoy the rich flavor of Houjicha in no time at all! Houjicha, also called Bancha, is made by roasting fresh green tea leaves over high heat. It is a brown tea with a toasted nutty flavor...
Genmai-Houji Tasting Set (each 100g/3.53oz x 4): US$41.00
We chose and combined four of our most unique and delightful teas to make this special set: Genmaicha, Genmaicha Matcha-iri, Houjicha, and Houjicha Karigane.

Customer Reviews of Houjicha Items

After trying many different green teas, this is the only one I continue to come back for.
--- Female, United States

I decided to try Hibiki-an's Houjicha as an affordable tea to drink at night due to the low caffeine content. It turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and is now one of my personal favourites. Delightful roasted aroma with a smooth after-taste.
--- Male, United Kingdom

An easy substitute for morning coffee. Low in caffine and pairs nicely with most breakfast choices. Very plesent taste and a plesent, lasting "finish".
--- Male, United States

Recently I tried for the first time Houjicha (Bancha) which gave great satisfaction and, despite the low caffeine, is a wonderful energy-giving tea like nothing else I ever tasted. Yet another fine product from the wonderful Hibiki-an people. And of course as a bonus, the gift of the matcha karigane pinnacle to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the firm prompts one to contemplate the many future opportunities to savor the delightful products of this magnificent company.
--- Male, United States

Houjicha Karigane
This is outstanding tea by any measure. Extremely fragrant, surprisingly complex, somewhat creamy and very well balanced. In short, delicious. Importantly, this tea is very forgiving when it comes to brewing - it is really difficult to ruin the taste.
--- Male, Poland

Houjicha Karigane is at the top of the offerings in the Houjicha lineup. This is the sweet, complex tea with descriptions most closely resembling those associated with fine wine tastings. This is a wow tea. It has the roastyness of my other favorite Houjicha Super Premium but more sweet and also complex. This tea awakens creative ideas in food pairings also. It is also a tea that can be enjoyed in its most simple form. With all my Houjicha teas I used loosely and barely filled 1/4 measuring cup of tea which is the same as 7.5g of tea to 7ounces or 200ml of hot off the boil water. Then I used my favorite super quick decanting tea pot with the 1/2 inch or 1cm sized spout hole. I wanted to only expose the tea to water for 25 seconds then strain all the fines through a stainless steel super fine made in Japan strainer. That way I prepared a beautiful golden broth of amazing tea. This tea like many other Hibiki-an teas are more then just GOOD! So maybe they will add another category in their rating choices, but then maybe you would not get as many people writing informative reviews to help stress how much better the tea is.
--- Female, United States

This is an excellent houjicha, the best I've had outside of kaiseki restaurants. The initial aroma is a lovely and produces an excellently balanced tea... pleasantly sweet and lightly roasted. This is probably my favorite tea in general, it just gives you such a nice warm and nostalgic feeling.
In comparison to normal houjicha, this tea is mellower, and sweeter. I would find it hard to go back to the normal houjicha after this.
--- Male, United States

Organic Houjicha
I am extremely impressed by this Houjicha from Hibiki-an. The flavor is subtle: solid mouthfeel, with smoky, almost woodsy undertones.
Due to my caffeine sensitivity, I really appreciate the low caffeine content of this Houjicha. This enables me to drink it in the afternoon without affecting my sleep. Also, as an aside, all teas I've ordered from Hibiki-an arrive in an extremely fresh condition, which is not something that can be said of many other companies.
Bottom-line: I highly recommend this tea. The smoky, mature taste of Houjicha makes it truly unique and a nice counterpoint to the traditional Senchas.
--- Male, United States

I am totally addictive to this tea!
--- Female, United States

I was a little unsure about this tea at first. After drinking a few cups I developed a taste for it. It makes a very nice evening tea. I also like it as an iced tea. In fact I am drinking a glass of Houjicha iced tea as I am writing this review. Even the ice cubes are made with Houjicha. Another excellent product provided by Hibiki-an.
--- Male, United States

Recently tried this tea. I am a long time puer drinker, to understand my perspective. Have a fondness for tea with an "edge".
This tea was a pleasant surprise. The liquor is clear amber and the aroma honey sweet. There is no heaviness of smoke, though it is "roasted". The taste has no astringency at any point. There is a light but full bodied mouth feel and surprising sweet finish that lingers nicely. I appreciate the low caffeine content and enjoy this tea late in the day. It is actually soothing/calming,,,no jitters.
Overall quite a nice surprise and will be added to my cupboard for regular brewing.
This was brewed more puer style. One large tea scoop per cup with boiling water for 15 seconds(in porcelain no yixing). I did not use multiple brews however.
--- Male, United States

Teabag Houjicha
This Houjicha is just fantastic, it's my first purchase from Hibiki-an, and I have to say it was a good choice. I tried the Houjicha because I have never tried this style of tea before, and I must say I was pleasently pleased by the arouma and the taste of this brand of tea. I will soon be purchasing some Macha tea as well as I am making Japanese tea bowls in my begining ceramics class and can't wait to drink these fantastic teas from my own hand-made tea bowls... Hibiki-an is number one in my book...
--- Male, United States

First of all, I find the design of the teabags is really cute and functional. When I first drank this tea, I was amazed by the full, round flavour of it. I had not expected such quality at that price.
Full marks, very recommendable!
--- Male, Switzerland