Whenever it gets cold in the United States, many people turn to sweaters, movie nights, and hot cups of tea to soothe them through the long nights. According to Britannica, tea is believed to have originated in China around 2700 BCE, where it was first drunk for medicinal purposes and then eventually became a part of the daily diet. The British colonists brought tea practices to India and Sri Lanka in the 1830s, after which, maritime trade helped spread it around the world to many food cultures (via Britannica).
The comforting ritual of tea drinking retains worldwide appeal, and over 6 billion kilograms — or 600,000 metric tons — of tea were consumed in 2020, according to Statista. That number is expected to rise as more people recognize the health benefits of drinking tea. Per World Tea News, tea trends include indulging in immunity-boosting, adaptogenic, and stress-relieving teas, as well as having sustainable choices and premium quality leaves. For a tea that's lower in caffeine but big in rich flavor and health benefits, look no further than Japanese hojicha! Puffed Sorghum
If you've ever walked past a Japanese tea shop and been drawn in by the scent, you might have fallen under the spell of hojicha. Hojicha is made by steaming and roasting tight rolls of multiple tea plant components — including leaves, stalks, stems, or twigs — that can also be ground into a powder like matcha (per Hojicha Co.). This results in a brown-colored tea with a rich, alluring aroma that's a bit cozier than the bright, almost wheat-grassy aroma of other green teas.
Thés & Traditions explains that hojicha is Japanese for "roasted tea" and that this style of tea was first created in Kyoto circa 1920. Navdeep Kaur, the director of education for the tea brand Dona, explains to Thrillist that the roasting process of hojicha teas reduces the caffeine content, which makes it a suitable choice for people who are sensitive to caffeine or looking to consume less of it — other types of roasted teas, like kukicha, contain no caffeine at all. These teas are thus perfect for evening drinking, per Thés & Traditions, and are commonly served in tea houses and sushi restaurants.
Like other green teas, you can find hojicha tea sold as looseleaf tea, tea bags, and powder. Teabags are the easiest to use because you won't need additional equipment like an infuser or tea whisk. However, you may be compromising on flavor as Kaur informed Thrillist that powdered hojicha is the best version for enjoying its smoky, earthy notes. If you can only get the leaves, she recommends grinding them in a coffee grinder to make your own powder, but if you can find the powder, you should get the darkest roast possible for the richest taste. Hojicha is delicious hot, iced, as a latte, bubble tea, or even in ice cream.
Buckwheat With Shell Green tea may reduce the risk of arthritis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, according to Healthline. It may also boost your metabolism, aid in weight loss and calorie burning, and provide support to your body in the form of antioxidants and nutrients. Of course, drinking tea regularly for the health benefits doesn't mean you can't mix things up and indulge in something less health conscious — like a green tea sour cocktail – every once in a while.