As with all my Japanese teas, I started out tasting the ones sold at the local Japanese markets. Hojicha intrigued me for being a “toasted green tea” something I found it to be quite unique. I bought the “family pack” as it was cheaper than the other alternatives, so here it is, the review.
The tea has a toasty smell with maybe a nutty hint hidden in between. The leaves look like little logs, made up of stems and broken leaves with a reddish brown color.
I prepared this tea using a kyusu, 185F water, and 1 min steep time.
My first cup was a clear dark brown cup with a faint toasty aroma. Taste-wise I found this tea a bit bland with maybe a hint of green tea flavor ending with a strong, almost overpowering, toasted flavor, almost as if the leaves were over-roasted. Second cup remained pretty much the same, but the toasted flavor was not as overpowering as in the first cup.
Wet leaf was nothing special, same bits and stems with a darker colored brown.
Overall, having since moved on to other hojichas in the market, I can tell this tea is quite bland compared to others. I feel this tea has almost no flavor aside from the toasted finish it delivers and even then, it is quite strong to the point that you feel you just ate a burned plant. The second cup was ok, again, no other significant flavors aside from the (now tolerable) toasted flavor. So I would rate this tea just as it is, an OK cheap hojicha from the market.