Is Cold Brew Houjicha any good!? (and how to make it)

The Secrets to this lesser-known brewing style of Houjicha tea.

This article was last modified December 19th, 2021. by Yuki

cold brew houjicha

The Houjicha, (or sometimes referred to as the Houji-tea), is a well-known type of Japanese tea all over the world for its nice and calming hot brew.

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 using hot water, Houjicha produces a light and smooth, heartwarming tea with a fantastic aroma that really gives a relaxing effect to the brain.

This aroma is really the essence of the Houjicha. The key to enjoying Houjicha is to appreciate and enjoy the fantastic aromatics emitted from this tea.

Houjicha tea leaves

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 climates of countries such as Singapore!)

Houjicha tea leaves

How does the taste of cold brew Houjicha differ?

When you cold brew a Houjicha, you won't get as much of the signature aroma of the tea rising from your teacup.

Instead, the cold brew will strengthen the richness and thickness of the tea to give you a nice and satisfying run 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


5 servings

Water (ml)

1000 ml

Leaves (g)


Temperature (Celsius)

room temperature

Brewing time (Seconds)

1 - 2 hours in the refrigerator

Table: Quick guide to cold brewing Houjicha

Step 1: Prepare Houjicha Leaves

Prepare Houjicha Tea leaves and the container

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 Houjicha used in the picture is the premium grade Houjicha by Taniguchien. Yes, we do carry this product in our shop currently, so I'll leave a link below for you to check out. However, other Houjicha will work fine as well.

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.

You might think "only 8 grams?" - but 8 grams of Houjicha leaves will have a fair amount of mass actually! Houjicha leaves tend to be very light!

Step 2: Put the leaves and water into the container

Once you have your leaves ready, put them into a water pitcher.

Basically, any water pitcher is fine, but would be much more convenient if it checks the following boxes.

  1. Fits into your refrigerator (for obvious reasons)
  2. Has a strainer
  3. And is transparent (so you can see the tea seep)

This makes it really easy.

The water pitcher I have in the picture below is one from HARIO, and it's one that I personnally recommend. You can take a look at their "Mizudashi" series here in their website, and they have a variety of different designs and sizes. (No sponsorships)

Houjicha tea leaves in the plastic container

After adding the leaves

Add water to the Houjicha tea 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 stronger. (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

As mentioned above, this pitcher 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!


Does the quality of the Houjicha matter when you cold brew?

Yes, quality matters for cold brew as well (if not more!)

The umami and taste of the tea leaves are especially important when cold brewing, and generally speaking, this will be more evedient if the Houjicha leaves are that of a medium to high quality, rather than a low.

Cold brewing will make me drink a lot! Should I be concerned about the amount of caffeine?

Houjicha is relatively low in caffeine, and is suited even for the kids and the elderly.

Based on a daily caffeine intake of 400 milligrams (mg) per day, you can drink roughly 2.0 liters of Houjicha.

Furthermore, cold-brewing reduces the caffeine extracted from the tea leaves, so you can actually drink more.

So of course you might want to limit yourself if you're drinking an excessive amount of Houjicha on a daily baisis, but you don't have to be too worried about the caffeine intake under normal consumption levels.

Author Yuki


Yuki is the Editor-in-Chief AND Community Manager at Tealife. He bleeds Japanese Tea and loves being a part of the Japanese Tea journey of others. Writes, does events, conducts tasting sessions, drinks, drinks and drinks tea! Easily accessible - hit him up on whatsapp (+65) 85882980.