1105 Tasting Notes
I’ve had the sample pack of this tea (unopened) for a few years now, which admittedly might have impacted the taste, but I thought it was getting around time to try it and that a tasting note wouldn’t be amiss.
The first scent I noticed from the dry leaf was tobacco, but after a few more sniffs I can also pick out a leafy smell — it reminds me of the woods in the fall. Not generally what I expect from tea, but I’ve never had houjicha before.
1st steep – boiling water, 30 seconds:
The liquor smells like tobacco too, but in a surprisingly pleasant way. A lovely golden color! I’m glad I’m using a clear mug. There’s not much that surprises me about the flavor, honestly — it’s got a smoky kind of flavor, although much weaker than I get from, say, lapsang souchong. There are some definite woodsy notes as well, and the flavor lingers in the throat after swallowing.
2nd steep – near boiling, 60 seconds:
There’s a pretty similar flavor profile here, although it’s less complex now. The leaf notes have now really taken over.
Ultimately this isn’t really my preferred flavor profile (I do enjoy smoky teas, but I’m not so fond of the other notes), but it’s a very interesting sipping experience and I’m glad it was included in the sampler! I can see it being particularly pleasant to sip on a cool fall day.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Smoke, Wood
This tea is good at being what it is, which unfortunately means that it’s not really to my taste at all. It’s very strong and quite bitter, even when brewed normally, and the flavor is fairly malty. I always have to add milk and usually also sweeten it — I’m finishing it up with some vanilla creamer right now, and for me it needs that to make it easy to drink without wincing from the bitterness. On the flipside, if you like strong black teas and want to be able to add a lot of things to them, you’ll probably love this. (Although perhaps unsurprisingly, I haven’t tried many teas similar to this one and I can’t really directly compare it.)
Flavors: Malt, Tannin