Why Hojicha is the Best Coffee Replacement

A cup of hojicha tea, brewed to frothy perfection

If you’re looking for the best possible coffee replacement, look no further - you’ve found it. Like many others who need to give up coffee for one reason or another, you may feel addicted to more than just the caffeine. The inviting aroma, the depth of flavor, and the abiding ritual of making your morning beverage can be tough things to give up. For diehard coffee fanatics, all other beverages pale in comparison.

That is, until you try hojicha tea. If you haven’t heard of it yet, hojicha is a Japanese tea that’s made of the same plant as matcha and other green teas (Camellia sinensis). But there are several key differences in the way this plant is processed for tea.

While matcha is made only of young leaves that are hand-picked and carefully sorted, hojicha contains a mixture of mature leaves, stems and twigs. It’s also roasted, and this is where the rubber hits the road. The flavor profile is completely different from matcha. Hojicha is toasty and roasty, and the final tea is a nutty brown as compared to matcha’s characteristic spring green hue.

Hojicha has all the same health benefits that matcha lays claim to, with the bonus of containing only trace amounts of caffeine, if that’s what you’re looking for. If you’re in the process of cutting back on caffeine, the process may feel really, really difficult.

For that reason, it’s nice to replace coffee with something that’s similarly delicious, roasty, warm, and enjoyable to make, smell, and drink. Something similarly sacred. If you’re trying to ditch coffee, there’s a handful of options out there for you. They’ve all got their perks, but we think hojicha is the best candidate, and it's our personal fav by a landslide.

So, what makes hojicha the best coffee replacement?

It’s super low in caffeine

Hojicha only has about 7-8 mg of caffeine per serving, which is about the same as a cup of decaf coffee. As a normal cup of coffee contains close to 100 mg, this is a huge difference. If you’re working on developing a healthier relationship with caffeine, this is a great option without cutting it out completely.

The reason hojicha contains less caffeine than matcha is twofold. First, the tea uses twigs, stems, and the more mature leaves of the Camellia plant, all of which are much lower in caffeine than the young leaves harvested for matcha production. Second, the high heat of the roasting process is said to diminish the caffeine content.

Hojicha is great for those with a sensitivity to caffeine or who want to try to cut down significantly. Plus, its low caffeine content makes it a perfect afternoon pick-me-up without getting in the way of your sleep routine.

It’s good for you

Hojicha is filled with health-promoting organic compounds like antioxidants, polyphenols, and catechins. These substances are given such accolades as fighting free radicals, giving skin a radiant glow, and having anti-aging effects.

The tea also has anti-inflammatory properties. It may help to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol, promoting cardiovascular health.

Lastly, hojicha is thought to have beneficial effects on the immune system. It contains a good amount of vitamins E, A, and C, which can help fight off colds and viruses.

It has a calming effect

Now, this is quite the opposite of coffee! Hojicha tea is high in l-theanine, an amino acid known for easing anxiety and insomnia. Drinking hojicha promotes relaxation and reduces stress. It is thought that l-theanine affects chemicals in the brain like serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol, which have an influence on mood, sleep, and stress levels.

In addition, the combination of low amounts of caffeine and l-theanine helps to prevent jitters and energy crashes that are common for heavy coffee drinkers.

It tastes and smells glorious

Hojicha has a roasty aroma and flavor that satisfies even the diehard coffee addict. This, to us, is the most important factor that makes it the best possible coffee replacement. If you don’t love the flavor of your drink, it’s going to be really hard to move away from coffee’s rich, nuanced, bold taste.

Fortunately, hojicha is delicious. It tastes like toasted rice and roasted grains, even a bit like chocolate. It maintains just a little background hint of that classic matcha grassiness. It’s rich and savory, but also naturally sweet. The smell is delightfully chocolatey and inviting. With such a unique and complex flavor and aroma, you can finally feel satisfied without your coffee.

It’s easy to make

Hojicha powder in a mug ready to mix

You can make yourself a cup of hojicha tea in different ways depending on your brewing preference. Hojicha is sold either as a bulk loose leaf tea or in a fine powdered form.

Use the superfine powder to make a cup of tea just like you would make a matcha. Simply whisk about one teaspoon of hojicha powder with an ounce or two of hot water until thoroughly dissolved, then top off with another six ounces of hot water or milk. You can use a regular whisk for this, or a bamboo matcha whisk, or an electric milk frother. Add sugar or honey to your desired sweetness level.

If you opt for the loose leaf version, brewing hojicha is quick and simple. Pour hot (around 195° F) water over the tea leaves, allow to steep for just 30-60 seconds, and strain. To make one cup of tea, use about one tablespoon of loose hojicha tea leaves. Add a spoonful of honey or a splash of milk if desired.

Alternatively, you could use a premade hojicha latte powder. For this, all you need to do is combine the mixture with hot water and whisk it together with a whisk or frother until well combined. Check out our CinderBird Hojicha Latte - it’s a delicious powdered blend of hojicha, plant-based milks, and functional mushrooms that’s lightly sweetened with coconut sugar. No additional ingredients needed!

If you find yourself in a place where you need to say a sorrowful goodbye to your beloved coffee, hojicha emerges as a comforting alternative. Its unique roasting process, nuanced flavors, and myriad health benefits make it a standout choice for those ready to make the switch. Whether you're leaving coffee behind to diversify your palate or someone in search of a low-dose caffeine fix without the jitters and crashes, hojicha is the perfect choice. 

Here’s to your new favorite morning beverage, hojicha – the obvious winner in the world of coffee alternatives!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.