In the following sections, we’ll explore hojicha and matcha in greater detail, including their health benefits, and the difference between these delicious Japanese green teas.
First, let’s take a look at the main differences between hojicha and matcha:
Hojicha is a traditional roasted green tea from Japan. In Japanese, the word hojicha means ‘roasted tea’.
Matcha is a finely ground Japanese green tea with vibrant green color. It is made by grinding tencha green tea leaves that were blocked from the sun.
Similar to other green teas, hojicha reduces stress, improves the body’s immune system, and boosts metabolism.
Similar to other green teas, matcha reduces stress, improves the body’s immune system, and boosts metabolism. It’s also believed to have potential anti-cancer properties.
Hojicha is low in caffeine. It tastes mellow and toasted with notes of sweetness.
Matcha is high in caffeine. It tastes strong and vegetable-like with hints of umami.
What is Hojicha Tea?
Hojicha is a popular type of green tea that originated in Kyoto in the 1920s. In an attempt to find a use for leftover green tea leaves debris, a tea merchant decided to roast them over charcoal. The result was hojicha, a delicious reddish-brown tea with a nutty, smoky, and subtle sweet taste.
Due to the pleasant and inviting aroma of the roasting green tea leaves, hojicha rapidly grew in popularity in tea shops all over Japan.
What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha is a ground green tea powder that is traditionally served at Japanese tea ceremonies. In Japanese, the word matcha means ‘rubbed or ground tea.’
Tencha, a type of green tea leaves, is grown partly in the shade then finely ground to produce matcha. The lack of sunlight exposure before harvest produces more L-theanine, gives matcha its vibrant green color, and reduces bitterness.
While this highly popular green tea traces its origins back to China’s Tang Dynasty, it quickly became a staple in Japan. Today, matcha is regarded as a superfood worldwide. It is considered by many to be a healthy alternative to coffee.
What Are the Health Benefits of Hojicha?
Since hojicha is made by roasting green tea leaves and stems, it offers all the benefits of green tea without its bitter taste.
Stress and Anxiety Relief
Similar to other green teas, the L-theanine in hojicha produces a calming and relaxing effect. This powerful amino acid is capable of reducing stress, lowering your blood pressure, and decreasing anxiety.
Immune System Boost
Hojicha also contains essential vitamins for maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamins C, A, and E possess antioxidant properties that protect your cells from harmful free radicals.
Higher Metabolism, Lower Risk of Disease
Another antioxidant called catechin can be found in green teas such as hojicha. Catechins offer numerous benefits to your health such as boosting metabolism, regulating blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
All green teas including hojicha have polyphenols that protect against gingivitis and help lower inflammation.
What Are the Health Benefits of Matcha?
Similar to hojicha, matcha provides all the health benefits of consuming green tea. Since matcha is a highly concentrated powder form of green tea, these benefits tend to be amplified.
Full of Antioxidants
Out of all green tea types, matcha contains the greatest amount of catechins. These antioxidants protect you from multiple chronic illnesses and fight off cell damage from free radicals.
Several animal studies suggest that matcha could potentially slow the growth of cancer cells. Like other green teas, it also protects against various diseases including cardiovascular problems, neurological diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
Supports Healthy Liver Function
Studies have found that matcha aids in the prevention of kidney and liver damage. This popular green tea helps your liver to clean out harmful toxins from your blood and metabolize your food.
Improves Brain Function
According to research, regular consumption of matcha can potentially increase attention span, improve memory, and accelerate reaction time.
Good for Weight Loss
One of the most appealing health benefits of matcha is its potential ability to boost metabolism. Matcha encourages your body to burn more calories and fat which contributes to weight loss.
How are Hojicha and Matcha Similar?
Since both hojicha and matcha are a variety of Japanese green tea, they share many characteristics in common.
For starters, both hojicha and matcha are popular teas in shops all across Japan. While matcha is now a common menu item in many cafes across North America, hojicha might soon join its fellow Japanese green tea.
Like other green teas, both hojicha and matcha have a comforting and soothing effect on the drinker. This is likely due to high levels of L-theanine in both teas.
Another similarity between hojicha and matcha is the pleasant taste. Hojicha and matcha are not as bitter as other teas as a result of their unique preparations.
What Is the Difference Between Hojicha and Matcha?
Despite their similarities, there are several key differences between hojicha and matcha.
One of the easiest ways to distinguish between hojicha and matcha teas is their appearance. Hojicha is a reddish-brown color while matcha is a deep, vibrant green.
While hojicha could be finely ground into a powder, it could also take the form of a loose-leaf green tea. Matcha, on the other hand, always looks like fine green powder.
Hojicha is made by rolling the dried leaves and stems of bancha, sencha, or kukicha green tea. Afterwards, it is slowly roasted over charcoal to achieve its unique flavor and color.
Alternatively, matcha is produced exclusively from tencha green tea leaves. These leaves are steamed after harvest, dried, and then stone-ground into powder.
Due to the slow roasting process of hojicha, its caffeine is significantly reduced. On the other hand, matcha’s powder texture results in higher caffeine consumption since tea drinkers actually consume the tea leaves.
In the same way that the roasting process lowers the amount of caffeine in hojicha, it also reduces catechins. While hojicha still contains this beneficial antioxidant, it has a lesser amount than other green teas.
In contrast, matcha is high in a catechin known as EGCG. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to protect the body against cancer cells.
Which Is Better: Hojicha or Matcha?
Hojicha and matcha each offer numerous health benefits. Therefore, if you’re looking to drink these green teas for health reasons, you will not go wrong with either choice.
If you’re searching for a tea to replace your morning cup of coffee, matcha might be the better choice due to its higher caffeine content. On the other hand, people with caffeine sensitivity would be better off choosing the low caffeine hojicha.
In terms of taste, those who prefer a more mellow, nutty taste with a hint of sweetness would likely enjoy hojicha. However, if you prefer a stronger vegetal taste with notes of seaweed umami, matcha might be a better match for your tastebuds.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.