Although hojicha is different to other Japanese teas such as sencha and gyokuro in color, flavor and natural elements, hojicha also has health benefits. However hojicha’s health benefits are slightly different to those of other Japanese teas.
The greatest health benefit of hojicha is its ability to make you relax. It is mainly thanks to its aroma. The relaxing effect of hojicha’s aroma is scientifically proved as the natural element of this aroma comes from pyrazine. Pyrazine in hojicha is produced when amino acid and saccharide are heated during the roasting process. You find pyrazine also in coffee and slightly burned portion of grilled beef. That is why you feel good when you smell coffee and grilled beef, as they make you relax. However coffee contains a high amount of caffeine and caffeine stimulates your nerve. So, if you drink it much, you will stay awake rather than being relaxed. This is where hojicha steps in as a relaxing drink because it does not contain much caffeine. Hojicha also goes well with warm milk and honey (or sugar), and it can make a wonderful bedtime drink
Pyrazine is also effective to stabilize your nerve, enhance your blood circulation and improve your skin condition. The amount of pyrazine in hojicha increases in the roasting process and the increased pyrazine works well to expand the blood vessels. Thus, the nerve becomes stable, blood circulation is enhanced and the skin condition improves. As the result, hojicha not only makes you relax but also warms your body.
This health benefit of hojicha that warms your body also comes from the fact that hojicha contains less catechin. Catechin is the main element of the most of Japanese teas. Caffeine and catechin work to reduce body fat and thus tend to reduce the body temperature as well. This is the reason why some people feel colder after drinking Japanese teas like sencha and gyokuro, but this symptom is not seen with hojicha due to the less amounts of caffeine and catechin.