This is the third sample I’ve tried in the sample package. I was very surprised when I saw the brewing instructions and, honestly, a little scared to try it! Using boiled water for a green tea!

Both the tea and tea leaves (dry and wet) have a strong roasted, wood-like aroma, and the liquor is clear, medium brown. The flavor is like that of a usual houjicha, only slightly more robust – possibly due to the fact that much of the sample consisted of tiny broken leaves. When it lingers, boy does it linger. After letting the tea settle for a few seconds in my mouth, the taste becomes much stronger. Too strong for me actually. The aftertaste is similar to that of a black coffee, which I don’t like.

I was even more surprised at the instructions for the second steeping: 15 seconds! The liquor, this time, is golden. The aroma, weaker, but still maintaining its roasted quality. It is the same for the flavor, which still leaves an astringent aftertaste. All around, the second steeping tasted like the usual houjicha I’m used to drinking.

Overall this tea is very strong and woody. I would probably drink it during an early morning because the flavor would surprise my taste buds (and brain) out of sleepiness.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

My favorite teas are Japanese greens, and my favorite herbal tisanes are peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum. So far I like exploring dark oolongs, Chinese blacks, and, most recently, shou pu’erh. African teas are my babies. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. (Hibiscus – I actually like alone.) Not much of a fan of sheng pu’erh either.

I’m an MFA graduate who studied nonfiction writing and am now an editorial assistant. I mostly write nature essays. I’m birder as well as a tea enthusiast. I also like exercising, Tolkien, and Ancient Egypt.

How I rate:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).


Westchester, NY

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