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Recent Tasting Notes
This sample comes courtesy of Stephanie. Thanks again for our swap, m’dear! This is a really strange tea for me, because I’m accustomed to hojicha being roasty and leaning more toward a black flavor profile. This hojicha, however, claims on the front of the packet to be candied sweetness between a green and an oolong. Curious, I decided to brew some up to see if these claims held true. It is definitely sweet, especially as it hits the back of the throat. Not quite cane sugar, but something fairly close. Unrefined sugar? Letting it sit on my tongue evokes a more vegetal, outcome, and proves to be a bit drying. There’s a whisper of roasted grain if I gulp, although that might be my brain attempting to compensate for what it expects to be there. The closest I can come to a solid flavor comparison would be green beans. All in all, not bad! I’m definitely chalking it up as a learning experience, since my notions about what a hojicha should taste like were challenged here. I think it’d take some flavoring really well, although it’s a perfectly acceptable straight tea.
Flavors: Green Beans, Roasted Barley, Sugar, Sweet, Vegetal
Got a sample of this from the Steepster select boxes on sale.
This really is such a nice fall tea. The aroma is fall leaves and roasted brown rice. It’s a very comforting tea, great for a fall day. I should have had it on the week-end when it was soooo cold. Now it’s sunny out and the temperature is going back up.
So the taste is very roasty- like a brown rice roasted. It’s not a dark roast because this is a green tea so it’s lighter. It brews up a dark golden and is a bit astringent.
It’s not the kind of tea I would reach for often but I still enjoy it.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Rice, Roasted
I bought a bag figuring it’s worth a try; I didn’t expect it to be my new favorite tea! It’s the perfect blend of black tea with bergamot. It’s a forgiving tea, too. I once accidentally let it steep for up to 5 minutes without it becoming bitter or the bergamot overpowering the tea leaves. The other things I really like about this tea is how large the leaves are, that one teaspoon is good for 12 oz, and that it can be re-steeped twice! It’s my go-to tea at work for its convenience, flavor, and caffeine content.
Flavors: Earl Grey
This was from my free Steepster subscription ages ago. I tried the other sample a while ago but didn’t write a tasting note because it is tough for me to say much about roasted oolongs. It’s certainly a decent tasting roasted oolong, but I just end up tasting a charcoal flavor with any roasted oolong. Maybe a bit of caramel. I like to actually taste the GREEN of green oolongs, so roasted oolongs just aren’t my thing. I think this might have been the only roasted oolong I had remaining in the cupboard!
Steep #1 // 10 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 minute
Steep #2 // just boiled // 1 1/2 min
One of the least favorite teas I ever received in a Steepster select box. Perhaps I received the “bottom of the barrel” scrapings, but the mere teaspoon sample in the pouch was not identifiable as any type of oolong. More like a musty mess of really poor grade leaves. I like earthy teas, but this really was sub par. Rethinking the cost of Steepster Select with the tiny size of samples recently.
Flavors: Decayed wood, Dirt, Earth
From the Here’s Hoping TTB.
Dumped the entire thing in a tea pot and brewed Western style. Steeping times: 30 seconds, 30, 60.
It slipped my mind to take a note of the dry/wet leaf aroma…so no word on that. Oopsies.
The only other houjicha I’ve had was the bagged kind (pyramidal and big squares) when I was back in Kyoto a few years ago. Whatever it was, it was inexpensive. So this is my first houjicha of a better quality, and I like it. It has a flavor profile with unexpected notes and it evolves (kinda). The first infusion tastes mostly like barely tea with a hint of chocolate, the second of Raisinettes, and the third – at this point, the leaf has weakened – of plain ol’ houjiacha.
I don’t particularly like Raisinettes but if it’s my tea, sure why not!
I really liked this one. It actually did have a cotton candy smell or as the package says “spun sugar”. I steeped at a pretty high temperature and it still was not very bitter, in fact, slightly sweet on the palate. I almost gave this one away without trying it, but now I am glad that I kept it. Great balance!
Flavors: Cotton Candy, Tannic, Tea
First infusion: Incredibly flavorful. Light woody taste combined with a very strong honey. I also included “wet earth” which sounds unappetizing but this is mostly due to the liquor’s scent. Together the scent and taste feels like eating fresh honey in a spring forest after a light rain storm. Probably the most intense scent/taste combination.
Second infusion: Just as great as the first, less wet earth and more honey. Same amount of woody.
Third infusion: Once again excellent, muted earth and wood. Mostly honey left.
Fourth infusion: Very similar to the third infusion.
Fifth infusion: Slightly muted honey, I decided to call it quits after this infusion.
Probably my favorite oolong thus far. I am taking recommendations for anything similar to this since I can’t find any information on this specific tea.
Flavors: Honey, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
This herbal tea nearly smells better than it tastes, which is saying something. I love everything about it, from the tang and deep red of the hibiscus petals to the naturally sweet-yet-tart flavor the fruits mixed in provide. My fiance and I barreled through our sampler of it very quickly.
The package says it can handle two resteeps, but the flavor really only held up for one. The third pot was lacking color and flavor.
Flavors: Blackberry, Hibiscus
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Flavors: Brown Toast, Caramel, Nutty
a somewhat sweet but smooth green tea
when i smell the leaves and matcha dust dry, they smell green and grassy.
when i smell the leaves wet, they smell green and grassy too (intensified)
when i smell the brewed tea, it smells grassy and smooth
when i taste the brewed tea it smells nice, smooth and grassy :D
many thanks to toad thomas for this nice tea :)
Flavors: Grass, Smooth, Sweet