Hōjicha (Houjicha) (ほうじ茶?) is a Japanese green tea that is distinguished from others because it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal; Japanese tea is usually steamed. The tea is fired at high temperature, altering the leaf colour tints from green to reddish-brown. The process was first performed in Kyoto, Japan in the 1920s and its popularity persists today.
Hōjicha is often made from bancha (番茶, "common tea"), tea from the last harvest of the season, however other varieties of Hōjicha also exist, including a variety made from sencha, and Kukicha, tea made from the twigs of the tea plant rather than the leaves.
Hōjicha infusions have a light- to reddish-brown appearance, and are less astringent due to losing catechins during the high temperature roasting process. The roasted flavours are extracted and predominate this blend: the roasting replaces the vegetative tones of standard green tea with a toasty, slightly caramel-like flavour. The roasting process used to make Hōjicha lowers the amount of caffeine in the tea. Because of its mildness, Hōjicha is a popular tea to serve during the meal or after the evening meal before going to sleep and even preferred for children and elderly.