Enjoy this caffeine-free tea made from roasted adzuki beans
Red bean tea, also known as azuki tea, is a delicious and healthy drink made from azuki beans.
This post will teach you how to make your own red bean tea at home using azuki beans and water.
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What is azukicha?
Azukicha (小豆茶) is a type of Japanese tea made from azuki or adzuki beans, also known as red beans or red mung beans.
Azuki beans (Vigna angularis) are small, red beans that are native to East Asia.
They have a nutty flavor and are often used for sweet dishes.
In fact, anko, the sweet brown paste that’s so popular in East Asian desserts, is made from azuki.
Azuki tea has a mild, naturally sweet flavor and it can be served hot or cold.
There is no real tea in azdukicha, so it’s a caffeine-free tisane.
Also, since azuki beans are a great source of polyphenols, minerals, vitamins and fiber, you may expect benefits from drinking azuki tea as well.
How to prepare azuki tea
There are different ways to prepare adzuki tea.
For example, some prepare it by simmering raw azuki beans in water, but the most common method is steeping roasted azuki beans in water:
How to make a cup of red bean tea
- Pour freshly boiled water into a red bean tea bag or around 15 roasted azuki beans (roughly a teaspoon) per cup.
- Let steep for 10 minutes
- Enjoy your azuki tea!
Removing the beans before drinking is optional and you can eat them afterwards (if you are using teabags, you can OPEN THEM and eat the bean pieces or use them in other dishes).
How to make red bean tea from scratch
While you can get ready-to-use azuki tea bags (the are easy to come by in Japan), you can also make your own at home using regular azuki beans:
Time needed: 12 hours.
How to roast azuki beans to make azukicha
Soak the azuki beans for around 8 hours
Discard the water and let the red beans dry as good as possible.
I allow them to dry naturally overnight and if I still see some moisture on the surface, I remove it with a cloth. When they have water drops on them, their surface may burn.
You can roast red beans in the stovetop, in the oven or in a microwave:
A) Roasting in stovetop – put the beans in a uncoated pan or saucepan at low/medium heat. Move them occasionally so they get roasted evenly. It takes around 30 minutes.
B) In the oven: extend the azuki beans in the oven tray and roast at 170 °C (338 °F). Move the beans a couple of times. It takes around 40 minutes.
C) In the microwave: heat the beans in a microwave safe container for 3 minutes at 600 W. Move the azuki and add another minute roast time, until you have the desired roasting grade.
The azuki beans will be ready when they smell nutty and have a darker red-violet color on the outside (most azuki beans will NOT crack).
- Enjoy or store for later
You can use them to make tea as soon as they are finished or store them in an airtight container after they cooled down.
- Optionally crush the beans to make tea bags
If you want to shorten the steeping time of your red bean tea, you can coarsely grind the azuki with a mortar and put it in a tea bag.
Frequently asked questions about red bean tea
Azuki doesn’t necessarily need pre-soaking, but soaking them will make them cook faster and also make them easier to digest.
While it tastes different, black soybeans (kuromame) also make a great tea. You can see here how to make black soybean tea.
Kidney beans can be a good substitute for azuki beans in savory meals, but they don’t work to make tea.
Since azuki tea tastes very mild and it’s naturally sweet, it’s served as is, without sugar or milk.
However, if you want it sweeter, you could add sugar, honey, or any other type of sweetener to taste.
Azuki tea or red bean tea is made by steeping roasted red beans, while azuki latte is made by combining anko (sweet azuki paste) with milk.
You can use any azuki variety.
However, if you can choose between different brands, I recommend choosing the one with the biggest beans, since I’ve found it easier to roast them.
Red bean tea recipe (azuki tea)
- Saucepan, pan or oven
- 100 grams red beans (azuki beans) depending on the size of your pan/oven tray
If roasting red beans yourself
- Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the beans: discharge the water and let them dry.
- Roast the red beans:A) In the stovetop: roast them in a pan at low heat. Move occasionally.B) In the oven: roast at 170 °C (338°F). Move the beans a couple of times.C) In a microwave: heat for 3 minutes at 600W. Move and add another minute for a couple of times, until the azuki is roasted.
- Cover around 15 beans (a teaspoon) or a teabag with fresh boiled water
- Steep for 10 minutes
- You can eat the beans (even if they are from a tea bag) after steeping
Red bean tea is a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy tea time that is both caffeine free and full of antioxidants.
So, why not give azukicha a try the next time you’re looking for a tasty snack or relaxing cup of tea?