Happy Matcha Monday Everyone! You all know that I love Matcha and that I love to prepare it traditionally as often as I can, but I can sadly only have one bowl a day because more than that and it will react too harshly with the medication I am on for my chronic migraines. So I went on the search for something that could be the perfect caffeine free alternative and after trying out a few different things like powdered Rooibos, decaf powdered black tea and more, I decided that none of those things were really the alternative for me, until I re-discovered Hojicha powder, I really had just completely forgotten that it even existed thanks to brain fog and memory loss begin some of the worst non painful side effects of chronic migraines.
So when I made my last order from Yunomi and I came across some Hojicha powders on their website, I was so annoyed with myself for forgetting all about it and had to add one of my order* and after looking at all of the different options I ended up going with the one that stood out the most to me which was and Azuma Tea Garden: Roasted Tencha Hojicha Powder. A unique product, from Azusa Tea Gardens which is made by roasting Tencha (not Sencha), as I’m sure most of you will know Tencha is the type of tea used to make Matcha. So after they roast the Tencha, it is processed into powder just like Matcha. Most Hojicha powder is made from Hojicha (roasted rolled leaves usually from large bancha leaves).
- Cultivar: Blended
- Harvest: Spring late cutting, spring tencha stems, and summer tencha.
- Region: Wazuka, Kyoto
Just like Matcha, Hojicha powder is incredibly versatile and can be used for so many drink recipes both iced and hot, as well as sweet recipes and savoury recipes. As long as you are able to pair flavours well and recognise what will work well alongside the flavour profile of the Hojicha powder, you will have so much fun creating things with it and the best thing is because it is very low in caffeine, whatever you make can be consumed at any time of the day without fear of disturbing sleep with caffeine.
Also if you are sensitive to caffeine and can’t have Matcha at all this is such a perfect alternative and while it doesn’t quite have the intensity that Matcha does, you could still use it just like people use Matcha and could probably even do a tea ceremony with it if you wanted to partake in that tradition but can’t have the caffeine. Though if you do this, make sure than you use a different Chasen (whisk) as to not have the Hojicha powder effect the bamboo of the Chasen you would use for your normal Matcha sessions.
The times I do get to sit and take the time to prepare Matcha traditionally, be it for Koicha or Usucha, is certainly a meditative moment for me and I searched for a long time to find a way to start and end the day with that practise and I definitely found that with this Hojicha powder. Early evening I’ll prepare a bowl of this just like I would with my mid morning / early afternoon Matcha and I’ve found that it’s been a beautiful way to cap off the end of my day in which a relaxing way.
Sometimes I’ll have it with milk and honey, sometimes I’ll just have it on it’s own but no matter how I have been drinking it, that meditative moment is still just as fantastic and has helped me relax and let go of the stresses of the day and I definitely also feel like the Hojicha and the moments of meditation while preparing it have really helped me get to sleep quicker which I tend to have a lot of trouble with. So I highly recommend ending you teas for the day with Hojicha prepared this way, you’ll be so thankful for those moments of peace and if you are anything like me and struggle with both mental and physical illness that cause you a whole world of problems you never know how much this could help you, will it help with everything probably not but it might give you some relief which is better than nothing isn’t it!
I’m so thankful to have had the chance to give this Hojicha powder a try and be reminded of a Matcha alternative I had completely forgotten about. I can’t wait to go into 2022 and experiment with Hojicha powder and other tea powders and push myself to be a little bit more creative with how I use them. I’ve seen some amazing Hojicha powder recipes that I can’t wait to try out and hopefully be inspired to create some of my own recipes I can share with you all as well. if you have a favourite recipe that uses Hojicha powder be sure to let me know in the comments so I can give it a try myself.
There wasn’t too much of a difference in this Hojicha powder from the others I’ve had aside from a few things for example the fact this was a bit stronger in aroma and taste, a bit fuller in flavour and didn’t have as much natural sweetness too it. Those trademark Hojicha notes are of course still present like the caramel and milk chocolate but in this Hojicha powder they are just a little more subtle and darker, so the chocolate moves out of that milk chocolate area and becomes a slightly darker chocolate note with a little less creaminess, and the caramel tasted like darker caramel too moving away from the candy caramel I have noticed in Hojicha before.
It’s definitely a somewhat different experience but doesn’t stray too far away from what you would usually find, so if you already love Hojicha I have no doubt in my mind you would enjoy this Hojicha powder even though it may be different from the ones you have tried before.
You can find out more about the Hojicha powder featured in the post here. As always if you have any questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Instagram @kimberleyskyusu and I’ll do my best to answer them all as soon as I can.
Until next time. Happy Steeping – Kimberley