(7 Steps) to Making the Perfect Cup of Houjicha Tea
A step-by-step guide to brewing this heatwarming and delicious Japanese tea - in Illustrations!
This article was last modified December 18th, 2021. by Yuki
2 heaping tsp
100 degrees Celsius
Instructions for brewing Houjicha Tea
The first and the most important thing you would need, are of course the Houjicha tea leaves. Fortunately, Houjicha tea is very accessible these days so you should be able to find some in your nearby super market. It's a great place to start.
Generally speaking however, supermarkets will not carry high-end Houjicha tea leaves. Please make use of our online tea shop if you're looking for something better.
In addition to the tea leaves, you'll also need some tools to brew the loose leaf.
Kyusu (Teapot) and Chawan (Cups)
Therefore, it’s good to prepare large sized Kyusu, or teapots, of perhaps approximately 800 ml. It would be good to align your Chawans, or cups, with larger sizes (approximately 200ml) as well.
But don't fret even if you don't have the perfect tea tools. Especially for Houjicha, you'll be able to brew nicely with just about any type of teapot.
Step 2: Measuring the Amount of Tea Leaves
2-3g of Houjicha leaves per serving
You should already have an idea of how much tea you would like to brew.
Keep in mind that when you actually brew the tea leaves, the leaves absorb the water so the amount of tea you actually get to drink will be a little less.
The tea leaves will absorb roughly 4 times the water of the mass of the leaves. So when you are deciding on how much tea you want to brew, increase the amount of water slightly to account for this absorption of water.
Houjicha will typically use 2-3g of tea leaves, or 1 heaping teaspoon, per serving (which is 200 ml of water).
As with all types of Japanese tea, if the number of servings you brew at once increases, you can reduce the ratio of tea leaves.
Next let's prepare the water.
Step3: Prepare the right amount of water
Measure the amount of required water
The next step is to prepare the right amount of water.
The easy way to measure the amount of water is by using your cups and pouring water into them. If you're using a large size Chawan (or teacup) and already know that each cup holds 200ml of water, you don't have to bother measuring the amounts of water separately.
Now that we've measured the amount of water we need, let's heat it up!
Step 4: Boiling the water and brew
Brew Houjicha by directly pouring hot water
Next step is to boil the water and infuse in the Kyusu (Teapot).
Unlike Sencha or Gyokuro which required lower water temperatures for brewing, the Houjicha requires boiling water straight from the kettle.
This is because Houjicha tea has reduced amount of umami and astringency tastes within the tea, as a result of it being roasted during the creation process.
The boiling water will help unleash the wonderous aroma of the Houjicha to the max while not being concerned about the astringency emerging from the tea.
Wait 30 seconds for the Houjicha to seep
Let the tea seep for only 30 seconds.
This is sufficient for Houjicha. In fact, the aroma will decline if you let it seep too long.
Point: Only 30 seconds for Houjicha!
Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!
Pour in this order (Mawashisogi)
When you serve Houjicha to several people, you should keep the richness of the tea to be equal. As you pour the tea, the tea will become richer and richer. In order to even the richness of the tea for everyone, the tea is poured in the following order.
This method of pouring is called “Mawashisogi”. If there are 3 Chawans, firstly, pour halfway in the order of 1 – 2 – 3. Subsequently, pour again in the reverse order of 3 – 2 – 1.
Make sure that the tea is poured to the very last drop. This helps to keep the second infusion delicious as well. If tea is remaining in the Kyusu, the second infusion may not be as enjoyable.
Also, keep the lid of the teapot open as well. This will prevent the tea from cooking within the teapot while it waits for the second infusion.
Step 7: Second Infusion
For the second Infusion, use boiling water directly from the pot again.
The infusion time should be extremely short. Take it out right after infusion. For the infusions after the 1st, the tea leaves have already absorbed the water. You will not need to calculate the additional water being sucked by the leaves.
How many infusions can I conduct for a Houjicha?
A: This depends on the grade of the Houjicha, but you should be able to get 2-3 infusions from the tea. As with all tea, the first infusion will taste the best.
My second infusion doesn't taste nice. Am I doing something wrong?
It could be a few things.
- The particular tea leaf you are using might be one which you can only enjoy one infusion of - in which case there's nothing much you can do.
- You don't have enough tea leaves. Sometimes if you don't have enough leaves in the teapot, the discrepancy will be especially evident during your second infusion.
- Make sure you've poured out the tea from your first infusion until the last drop, and then kept open the lid of the teapot. This is extremely important in preserving the taste of the second infusion.
Can I cold brew Houjicha?
While Houjicha is better know for being served hot, cold brew isn't too shabby either! Please take a look at the article below on how to make cold-brew Houjicha tea.
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.