Matcha, Sencha, and Hojicha: What's the Difference?

by Jillian Giandurco

Green tea is a specific kind of tea that has increasingly gained popularity over the years, thanks to the widespread acceptance of matcha tea. However, there are a number of green tea variations to choose from, and it can be difficult to discern the differences between them. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive breakdown of each kind of green tea (matcha, sencha, and hojicha) to take the uncertainty out of your morning green tea for good!

What Is Matcha Green Tea

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a type of green tea that is made by finely grounding green tea leaves into a powdered form. The effects of the powdered green tea are activated when the matcha powder has been whisked into hot water (not steeped), and the drink becomes frothy. It’s for this reason that matcha differs from regular green tea; traditional green teas infuse the leaves into the hot water, while matcha is made from the actual green tea leaves.

Matcha also offers more health benefits than steeped green tea, due to the fact that whole tea leaves are being ingested. Not only is matcha rich in vitamins and minerals, but also contains antioxidants called “polyphenols” that have been linked to heart disease and cancer prevention. Right now, Bokksu has over forty different matcha products listed on Bokksu Boutique that are waiting to be tasted!

What Is Sencha Green Tea

What is Sencha?

Sencha is a steamed green tea and is considered to be the most popular tea in Japan. Sencha is processed by steaming fresh tea leaves to prevent oxidation, and from there the leaves are rolled, shaped, and dried. This is where sencha and matcha are dissimilar, because sencha is prepared by infusing processed whole leaves in hot water, whereas matcha is grounded into a delicate powder form.

There are many reasons as to why sencha is the most popular tea in Japan, including its uniquely sweet yet bitter taste, and the health benefits that come with green tea. Experience the hype for yourself, and skim through our selection of sencha products.

What Is Hojicha Green Tea

What is Hojicha?

Last but certainly not least, we have hojicha! Hojicha is distinctive from sencha and matcha green tea because it is made by roasting a porcelain pot over charcoal. This style of preparation burns the leaves to a crisp, and changes their coloration from green to reddish brown for a nuttier, richer, and smokier flavor than the green teas listed above.

Because roasting changes the chemical composition of tea, hojicha has a lower caffeine content than sencha or matcha. Not only that, but the leaves used in hojicha naturally have a lesser amount of caffeine to begin with because they are picked later in the season, and therefore contain less caffeine than younger tea leaves and buds. Another unique attribute of hojicha is that the leaves can be lightly, medium, or heavily roasted to match your specific preferences! The deeper the roast, the more bitter the flavor. But most importantly, hojicha is still jam packed with antioxidants, so you never have to compromise health for flavor!

Interested in conducting your own taste test between the three green teas?

With so many green tea variations to choose from, it can be hard to keep track of the benefits and qualities of each. Hopefully this breakdown helps take all the confusion out of Japan’s most beloved teas, and makes your next trip to the Bokksu Boutique that much simpler!


Now that you know the difference between matcha, sencha, and hojicha, why not try them for yourself? Bokksu is the ultimate Japanese snack box subscription that delivers authentic treats from Japan to your door every month. Each box includes a variety of snacks and teas that showcase the flavors and culture of Japan. You'll also get a free tea pairing and a booklet with every box to learn more about each item. Don't wait, subscribe to Bokksu today and get 10% off your first box!

Author Bio

Jillian Giandurco works primarily as a Trending News Writer for Elite Daily, where she writes about all things Food, Travel, and Tech related. Brands she has covered in the past include Kit Kat, Hershey’s, Expedia, and many more.