Yes, you can. You can roast to make Hojicha at any time but probably it is a good time to make when your Sencha (high grade Japanese tea) or Bancha (low grade Japanese tea) has become old and does not have much aroma any more. By doing so, you will not waste the Japanese tea and at the same time you can enjoy the unique flavor of Hojicha.
There are 2 different methods to make Hojicha at home. One is using a frypan and the other is using a “Horoku”, a pottery cooking utensil specially designed for roasting ingredients such as tea leaves. In both methods, please ensure the kitchen windows are open as smoke comes out.
1. Using a frypan
- Prepare 15g of tea leaves, frypan with a lid, stirring sticks or stirrer, and wet tea towel.
- Turn on the cooking stove and heat the frypan with a high flame for 30 seconds.
- Put the frypan on the wet tea towel and leave it just for 2 seconds to get rid of excessive heat.
- Put the frypan back on the cooking stove and turn the flame lower. Place the tea leaves in it and spread them evenly across the frypan.
- Put the lid and leave it for 2.5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and turn the flame high and roast for 1 minute.
- Turn off the cooking stove and stir the tea leaves for another 1 minute using the remaining heat. Hojicha is ready now.
2. Using a Horoku
Basically, the roasting method with a Horoku is similar to the one with a frypan. The difference is taking longer time, so that the tea leaves can be evenly roasted and a high quality roasting aroma can be produced.
Firstly heat up Horoku with a medium flame for 30 seconds. Add tea leaves not more than 15g. If added more, the tea leaves will not be roasted evenly. At that time, put on a cooking glove to hold the handle.
Turn the flame low and circle the Horoku sideway every 5~7 seconds. Once the tea leaves turned slightly yellow, keep circling the horoku until the tea leaves turn brownish yellow and a nice aroma is produced. Also at the end of this stage, smoke starts coming out.
This video shows making hojicha using horoku.
Turn off the flame but keep circling the horoku for about 1 minute, and then shift the roasted tea leaves into a container such as a tin can. Lightly shake the container so that the residual heat can spread evenly through the tea leaves. Now Hojicha is ready.