(1st steep: 2 min) My first thoughts on smelling this tea is that it might be the most toasted green tea I have had. It is unique compared to a lot of green teas I have tried. The aromas are more unsweetened cacao, wood, and roasted nuts. There are no vegetable or grass aromas. The aromas carry over to the flavors. I pick up lots of unsweetened chocolate and roasted nuts mixed with wood. I can’t quite put my finger on the wood except that it isn’t a pine resin wood flavor. Maybe something more like oak or a dry hard wood. Finally, there is a solid astringent finish to this tea that I am not used to from green teas. After the tea cooled, I am beginning to pick out some grass flavors. They are subtle but stand out a little more once the tea has cooled.
(2nd steep: 2.5 min) The second steeping of this tea presents a more grass aromas. The wood and cacao are still the primary aromas, but they don’t overpower the subtle grass aroma as much as the first steeping. Overall, the flavors are similar to the first stepping, but more mellow. I am picking up a slight green vegetable flavor that I want to say is like asparagus.
(3rd steep: 3 min) The third steeping of the Houjicha Ichiban the chocolate and wood aromas are almost completely replaced by grass and vegetables. However, there is a slightly sweet chocolate flavor that has appeared. It is not quite milk chocolate in the mouth-feel and flavor, but it is close. There is a slight grass flavor right before it is overwhelmed by the chocolate.
Flavors: Asparagus, Chocolate, Grass, Nuts, Roasted Barley, Wood