Okay, I owe this tea an apology. It turns out that the awful taste that I first experienced was not the tea’s fault – instead, it was lovely Santa Barbara’s water, which is all sorts of foul tasting.
I had a different tea, which I knew should not have tasted oily and evil, but did. So I switched from the tap water to bottled filtered stuff to brew tea. And magically, the tea stopped tasting awful.
It’s still bagged tea so the quality is nowhere near what a loose hojicha would be, but it’s decent, and caffeinated, and doesn’t make me want to gag because it tastes like sweet oil.
Seriously, what the heck is up with the tap water here?