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82
drank Houjicha by Samovar
186 tasting notes

I HAVE MISSED EVERYONE.

Real life has pretty much put the brakes on my tea adventures. I don’t even have time at work to sip anything, and have resorted to drinking pretty awful bagged stuff (Numi, I’m looking at your fanning-frenzied teas, and they’re not hitting any of the sweet spots).

This weekend, I finally had a bit of room to breathe, so I decided to steep up some Houjicha, a tea from Samovar that I’ve yet to try.

So, let’s get talking about the dry leaves, because there’s some interesting stuff going on here. Houjicha is a roasted green tea, so the leaves are brown and very autumnal. Think dry papery leaves that have fallen off the trees come October. The ones you loved to jump around in as a kid. You’d go out of your way to step on them on the sidewalk. CRUNCH. Yep. Houjicha.

The smell is pretty intriguing as well, because it someone had stuck this under my nose, and asked what sort of tea I was sniffing at, I’d immediately shout out, BLACK. But I’d be wrong. Houjicha smells like a black tea. Not as dark as an assam, but maybe something like an extremely tippy yunnan. Something like that. It’s definitely smelling roasted, but not really in a coffee-like way. In a nutty sort of way. It’s intriguing, but the entire smell is a bit… plain. I don’t want to throw around analogies like Liptons-like, but it was sort of on the same plane of existence as a “default” bagged tea.

So I steeped this one up at a pretty low temperature (my Samovar sample bag said 160-180, so I went down the middle), and my infusion was surprisingly light in color. Amber-lite. Like if you had taken some fall leaves and stewed them down. Maybe I’m going a bit far with this autumn motif, but HAY, on the East Coast it’s getting cold outside! And that means, DRINK MOAR TEA.

The smell, now the smell of the infusion is really, really interesting. Very roasty, and toasty, but also sort of floral? It definitely no longer smells like a Plain Jane black. There is intrigue in the cup.

Sipping it, it’s clear that there’s a green tea under the heavy robes of brown. Because seriously, this tea is sweet. Very, very sweet, in a dark nectar kind of way. Maybe buckwheat honey, but less aggressive and assertive? There’s plenty of candied nuts notes – think hazelnuts that have been roasted and rolled in sugar – and it’s anchored by this sweetness that just lingers in your mouth. The sweetness that is what makes Japanese greens oh so wonderful. And the finish is long. Very long. In between sips, that sugared note just keeps going and going.

As it cools, it gets even sweeter. Seriously tastes like roasted sugar at this point, and it’s pretty damn tasty. It’s still one of the plainer, quieter teas, but I’m sure this would make an excellent session sipper. I’m going to steep a second cup up at boiling (according to Samovar, this invigorates the tea and gives us more malty-black-tea notes), and see what happens.

But yes, I recommend this one. It’s pretty interesting. And I wouldn’t expect anything less from Samovar.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

O HAI!! First Takgoti, now you! It’s like early christmas :D

JacquelineM

Hello hello hello!!!

Auggy

Hello again! Nice to see you back! (You’re back right? Not just visiting?)

Stephanie

It’s good to “read” you again! Your notes are always fun to read! :)

sophistre

We’ve somehow regained a takgoti and a teaplz in the same week. It’s like lost tea-soldiers are being drawn back to the motherland somehow. Crazy.

LENA

Yay! Welcome back! I’m still tinkering with this tea to find the best temp/steep time.

teaplz

I’m going to try to pop in every now and then when I drink tea, but I haven’t been drinking that much, since I really don’t have much time on the job to actually relax and make a cup. And if I do, it usually goes unfinished completely, or cold.. or I just have time for a teabag or some ill repute.

THAT BEING SAID, I miss everyone here, and I miss tea! :( Hopefully I can figure something out to be able to drink more right now, but the options are looking pretty bleak. :\

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Comments

Angrboda

O HAI!! First Takgoti, now you! It’s like early christmas :D

JacquelineM

Hello hello hello!!!

Auggy

Hello again! Nice to see you back! (You’re back right? Not just visiting?)

Stephanie

It’s good to “read” you again! Your notes are always fun to read! :)

sophistre

We’ve somehow regained a takgoti and a teaplz in the same week. It’s like lost tea-soldiers are being drawn back to the motherland somehow. Crazy.

LENA

Yay! Welcome back! I’m still tinkering with this tea to find the best temp/steep time.

teaplz

I’m going to try to pop in every now and then when I drink tea, but I haven’t been drinking that much, since I really don’t have much time on the job to actually relax and make a cup. And if I do, it usually goes unfinished completely, or cold.. or I just have time for a teabag or some ill repute.

THAT BEING SAID, I miss everyone here, and I miss tea! :( Hopefully I can figure something out to be able to drink more right now, but the options are looking pretty bleak. :\

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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Bio

22-year-old NYC girl just starting out on her tea adventures! I used to hate tea. If you asked me a few years ago what I thought of tea, I’d tell you it tasted like hot, dirty dishwater. Not anymore! I acquired a taste for tea when I started drinking peppermint tea for my upset stomach problems. From there I graduated to teas like chamomile and Lipton. But Lipton wasn’t strong enough!

I’m getting the hang of this loose leaf thing. Black’s my default, but I’ve found that I really love teas that fall into every category. I’m a purist – I always drink my tea neat. I prefer unflavored tea over flavored tea, and really dislike anything flavored with artificial-tasting substances. I’ve grown up a bit in my tea drinking, and I find that novelty appeals to me less and less.

I also am the happy girlfriend of the boy that created the tea randomizer, which can be found here: http://www.jaydeee.net/pickatea.php

Location

New York City

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