Secrets to the lesser-known brewing style of Houjicha
Is Cold Brew Houjicha any good!? (and how to make it)
Houjicha, or the Houji-tea, is a well-known tea all over the world for its nice and calming hot brew. So the question here today is - how about cold brewing Houjicha? Is it any good, and how do you make it? Read along to know more!
Is it even okay to "Cold Brew" Houjicha?!
As we know, when infused in hot water, Houjicha produces a light and smooth tea with a fantastic aroma that really gives a relaxing effect to the brain. The aroma is really the essence of the Houjicha. We appreciate and enjoy the fantastic aromatics emitted from this tea.
Houjicha tea leaves
That's also why when brewing this magnificent tea, we want to make sure to use boiling water. The boiling water helps to maximize and amplifies the scent flowing out of the tea. You can read more about how to brew Houjicha here.
Now - wouldn't that mean that you actually should "NOT" cold brew Houjicha?
If the essence of the Houjicha is the aroma, and the high water temperature helps extract that, it wouldn't make sense to cold brew Houjicha, would it?
Surprisingly, cold brew Houjicha is actually an excellent way of enjoying Houjicha as well!
It highlights a different side of this interesting tea, and you may very well end up liking cold brew even more!! (And I'm not exaggerating! It definitely suits the hot climate of Singapore!!)
How does the taste of cold brew Houjicha differ?
When you cold brew a Houjicha, you won't get the signature aroma of the tea rising from your teacup. Instead, the same Houjicha tea when cold brewed, will strengthen the richness and thickness of the tea to give you a nice and satisfying hit down your throat.
As Houjicha is a roasted green tea, the nutrient levels are reduced as compared to other green teas which actually look green (such as the Sencha or the Gyokuro). Both the Catechin which causes the astringency of the tea, and the Theanine which provides the umami are significantly reduced.
However, that doesn't mean that there is none of those substances in the tea. Especially for the "light roasted Houjicha", the tea still maintains some of these nutrients. What the cold brew does is that it takes time to gradually pull out the left-over umami of these leaves into the tea. Therefore you can enjoy the richness that you wouldn't get when you brew the tea in boiling water.
Another advantage of the cold brew Houjicha is that it's easy to make a lot of tea. You can make multiple liters at once, so you can drink it as a thirst quencher!
While the hot Houjicha is great - this cold brew option of preparing Houjicha is truly fantastic as well. If you haven't - yes, it really is worth a try.
And... it's super easy as well.
How to make cold brew Houjicha
It's easy. Really, really, easy. Essentially you just put the tea leaves in water and throw it in the refrigerator for an hour or two. But below is a step-by-step guide just in case!
|Cold brew Houjicha|
Brewing time (Seconds)
1 - 2 hours in the refrigerator
Step 1: Prepare Houjicha Leaves
Houjicha tea leaves
Any Houjicha tea leaves you currently have are fine.
However, if you have a choice, I would recommend "light roasted Houjicha". These are Houjicha leaves that are relatively lightly roasted, and the colors of the leaves wouldn't be as brown. (They may still have some green left)
The leaves in the picture is a "jyo-Houjicha" by Taniguchien. No, unfortunately we don't carry this particular tea in our shop at the moment, but others will work just fine. All Taniguchien Houjicha (and the ones we currently carry) are all on the light roasted side of the spectrum.
To make 1 liter of cold brew Houjicha, we'll use 8g of leaves.
8 grams of Houjicha leaves seems like a lot actually. Houjicha leaves tend to be very light!
Step 2: Put the leaves and water into the container
After adding the leaves
After adding the water
Now you've practically done your job already. Next step is just to put it in a refrigerator and wait.
Step 3: Store in refrigerator for 1-2 hours
After the refrigerator
You can see that the color has become thick. (This one's only been in the refrigerator for less than an hour - so yours should become a little more darker than this picture although it's also subject to the Houjicha you use!)
Step 4: Serve and enjoy!
Serve into cup
This container I have here is actually very convenient with a built in net. I can just pour the tea without the leaves going into the cup.
Even if you don't have this, you can just use a sift to keep your leaves out of the tea.
Even if you don't finish it, you can put it back into the refrigerator and take some more later. I'd just try to finish the tea within 1 day.
A cup of cold brewed Houjicha
That's all there is to it!
Please give it a try, and hope you like it!