I assume everyone agrees that the most relaxing time of the day is bedtime. But quite often people find it hard to relax at this precious time. Your brain may be still alert and you may not feel tired or sleepy yet. If that is the case, the Japanese tea called Bancha or Hojicha will help you relax.
Bancha is the lower grade of Japanese tea but made in the same process as Sencha (high grade Japanese tea). The difference to Sencha is Bancha’s tea leaves are picked later than Sencha, mostly in autumn.
When Bancha is roasted, it is called Hojicha (There are some Hojicha made by roasting the first or second flush of Sencha though). Both Bancha and Hojicha do not contain much caffeine and therefore it is suitable for bedtime. Furthermore, Hojicha contains the organic element called pyrazine. Pyrazine well works to calm you down and expand your blood vessel. Hojicha also warms and relaxes your body. For all these reasons, the tea is suitable to drink before going to bed.
Japanese tea is usually green, but Hojicha has the color of caramel (dark reddish yellow) and a unique aroma which comes from roasting. As mentioned earlier, Bancha is also good for bedtime but you may find Hojicha easier to have because of this relaxing aroma. Both Bancha and Hojicha are in lower grades than Sencha or Gyokuro, so they are less expensive.
Hojicha tea leaves are lighter and look larger than Bancha, so you may add a smaller portion to make tea, but rather, you should put slightly more amount (6~8g) of leaves in the tea pot. Pour in the tea pot the hot water straight from the kettle. Its temperature should be around 90~100℃. (You do not need to cool the hot water to 70~80℃ which is a required practice for other Japanese teas like Sencha.) Once the hot water is poured in the tea pot, wait for about 30 seconds. If you wait longer than that, Hojicha will be too strong.
As Bancha and Hojicha have much less caffeine, they are also suitable for the elderly and children. Also these teas are good for your weakened stomach.