How to Make Creamy Hojicha Latte (my ‘secret’ tricks)

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Low-caffeine, Japanese style milk tea recipe made from roasted green tea

Hojicha latte and some hojicha leaves

In this post I’ll share how to make creamy hojicha latte, a delicious and low-caffeine milk tea from Japan.
And the best part, with this recipe you’ll be able to prepare hōjicha latte without hojicha power: you can use pre-made hojicha tea bags or your self-roasted green tea.
Just beware: you might fall in LOVE with the comforting smell of this tea latte!

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What is hojicha latte?

Hōjicha or houjicha is a Japanese green tea in which the tea leaves are roasted.
The roasting removes the bitterness of the tea, so hojicha has a naturally sweet taste and has a pleasant nutty, caramel-like and roasty flavor.
It also has a VERY soothing aroma.

Like matcha, you can enjoy hojicha the traditional way (steeped in water), but also with milk.
And the combination of hojicha with milk is SO good!
The sweetness of the milk matches so well with the roasted aroma of hojicha, that in Japan, you can find a lot of delicious creations that use this delicious combo, even from big international chains like Häagen Dazs or Starbucks.
But fortunately, you can also enjoy a comforting hojicha latte right here and now.

Frequently asked questions about hojicha

Is hojicha latte caffeine free?

No, but the roasting process removes a big part of the tea leaf caffeine, so hojicha has a very low caffeine content.
A regular cup of hojicha contains around 8 mg, while a regular cup of coffee contains around 100 mg.

Do I have to buy a special tea to make hojicha?

Nowadays you can find hojicha tea leaves, tea bags and hojicha powder in many tea stores. But you can also roast regular green tea at home.
Here you can see how to roast your own hojicha step by step; you won’t believe it’s so easy!
Also, roasting hojicha is a convenient way to finish that expired or “cheaper” green tea you have on the cabinet.

What’s the best milk to make hojicha?

Roasted Japanese green tea tastes as good with dairy as with vegan milk alternatives.
My personal favorite milk types to make hojicha latte are whole milk, coconut milk, oat milk and almond milk (I used homemade almond milk for some of the pictures on this post).

Does hojicha latte need sugar?

Hojicha is very mild, so it already tastes good without adding any sweeteners.
Anyway, if you prefer a sweeter tea time, you can add some brown sugar, maple syrup or honey to your hojicha latte.
My favorite sweetener for this recipe are date syrup and homemade vanilla infused honey.

Can I make hojicha latte without milk froth?

Absolutely! Although we often expect that anything called “latte” comes with a nice foam at the top, in Japan, the expression “hojicha latte” just points out that the hojicha is served with milk.
That mean you don’t need any milk frother.
But of course, you can decorate your hojicha with steamed milk or even with whipped cream, for a truly decadent experience.

Why is the color of my hojicha latte so pale?

Hojicha latte may have a lighter color than regular milk tea.
The pictures on this post look on the darker side because I wanted a strong hojicha, but hojicha tastes great and has a wonderful smell even when it has a very light color.

Cup with Hojicha latte

How to make a PERFECT hojicha latte

To say that I love hojicha latte is an understatement.
The scent of hojicha makes me feel cozy and relaxed, while its combination with milk makes me feel I’m having a treat.
And it’s a milk tea I can drink even in the afternoon! (I am quite sensitive to caffeine).
So, since I prepare it often and have experimented with the recipe, I think I can share some tricks to make it truly delicious.

Basically, you can do hojicha latte one by following one of these 4 methods:

  1. Just like you would make tea with milk
    • Steep hojicha tea (loose leaf or tea bags) in hot water.
    • After you remove the tea, add milk.
    • Sweeten if desired.
  2. Steep tea bag in hot milk
    • Heat milk until it’s hot (but not boiling) and steep a tea bag of hojicha in it.
      This is how Starbucks Japan makes their hojicha latte.
  3. Use hojicha powder
    • Make hojicha concentrate by combining hojicha powder in a little amount of warm water (you may optionally add some sweetener).
    • Combine this hojicha concentrate with hot or iced milk.
  4. By simmering
    Prepare hojicha tea latte by simmering loose leaves or teabags on a pan, in a similar way as chai or Royal Milk Tea (the Japanese version of regular milk tea)

Any one of these methods has its own perks and all make good results.
Method 1 and 2 are both very convenient if you have hojicha tea leaves or hojicha tea bags.
Method 3 is the easiest to make iced hojicha latte.

But since methods 1-3 are quite easy and self-explanatory, in this post I’ll only go into more details for method 4 (which is actually my favorite!).

My favorite tricks to make creamy hojicha latte

Warming the milk on a pan makes this drink creamy without needing any cream or half-half, so it tastes like a treat, while it’s actually quite light.

Actually, making hojicha latte by steeping or simmering the tea is a quite common way to prepare it in Japan.
But after trying lots of different ways of making hojicha with milk, I’ve found a couple of secrets that really makes a difference:

Tip 1:

Use enough tea

The point to get a delicious hojicha latte is to make a really INTENSE tea, so you can really indulge in its comforting aroma.
But while hojicha is non astringent, if you let it steep for too long, it does get a little bitter at some point.
To avoid this and to fully appreciate the tea’s nuances, never let it steep for too long.
As with other tea sorts: if you want it stronger, use more tea instead of letting it steep longer.

Tip 2:

Let the tea unfurl in hot water before simmering in milk

It really doesn’t take much more to simmer the tea first in water before adding the milk, but in my opinion, it makes the tea taste more intense.
I also get the feeling that this makes cleaning up the pot afterwards easier.

The recipe below will show you exactly how I make hojicha latte so it’s rich and intense, but at the same time without unwanted bitterness:

Cup of homemade hojicha latte
5 from 3 votes

Deliciously comforting hojicha latte

How to make a mild and tea
Print Recipe
Prep Time:1 minute
Cook Time:5 minutes
Resting time:4 minutes
Total Time:10 minutes


  • Small saucepan


  • 3 tbsp hojicha* (5-6 gr.)
  • 1/2 cup water (150 ml.)
  • 1 cup milk (your preferred sort; dairy milk or plant-based alternative) (250 ml.)
  • date syrup (or your preferred sweetener) Optional


  • Boil the water in a small saucepan
  • Retire from cooking plate and add the tea
  • Let rest for 3 minutes
    Hojicha leaves after steeping in water
  • Add milk and heat (medium) for about 5 minutes. Keep moving a little to avoid the milk sticking to the bottom. 
  • Remove from the heat when the milk is hot (DON’T LET IT BOIL: this will help your hojicha staying extra mild, plus it will make it easier to clean the saucepan).
  • Let rest for 2 minutes 
  • Remove the hojicha
    Straining hojicha tea leaves
  • Serve and sweeten if desired 


For a more intense tea, increase the amount of tea, not the steeping time.
*You can make your own hojicha from regular green tea.


Calories: 120kcal
Course: Drinks, Tea
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese tea, low caffeine, with milk
Servings: 1 Cup
Calories: 120kcal

How did you like this tea? I’ll love to hear about your thoughts on hojicha latte!
If you like healthy but comforting drinks, you may also like:

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  1. 5 stars
    Houjicha Latte smells so delicate and makes me feel so relaxed. I didn’t know about this latte till recently and
    I was so glad to read your recipe because it is tasty but really mild; no bitterness at all.

    1. Hi May. I’m very glad you liked Hojicha latte. I also didn’t know about Hojicha with milk until a couple of years ago, but it was love at first sip…

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