Houjicha Gold (Roasted Bancha)

Tea type
Green Tea
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Roasted, Salty, Sweet, Earth, Nutty, Almond, Roasted Barley, Roasted nuts, Toasted, Toasty, Umami, Autumn Leaf Pile, Smoke, Wood, Grain, Toasted Rice, Butter, Plant Stems
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Edit tea info Last updated by Frank W.
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 6 oz / 189 ml

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85 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Tea of the afternoon along with some soymilk. Makes a nice companion to this Decemberists song I am listening to: “This is the story of the boys who loved you Who love you now and loved you...” Read full tasting note
    amyoh2 2802 tasting notes
  • “This tea keeps reminding me of something and after two cups of it tonight I think I know what it is. It has that bran-like flavour that you get from brown rice or maybe whole wheat bread, combined...” Read full tasting note
    JillDragon 1767 tasting notes
  • “Sipdown! (131) This sample was really generous; the website claimed they were all single-serve but there was enough in there for four individual cups (eight if resteeped, wow!). Made the last of it...” Read full tasting note
    bluebelle 531 tasting notes
  • “I got my Den’s Green Tea Sampler for Novices today! I was so impressed with what was inside that little box: 4 samples of loose-leaf tea, 2 tea bags, 2 paper filter bags, a catalog, order...” Read full tasting note
    zildjianpride 176 tasting notes

From Den's Tea

Houjicha-Gold delivers a delightful and calming cup. Highly aromatic but gentle to your stomach with a low amount of caffeine.

Origin: Shizuoka
Harvest: Between First and Second Harvests
Species: Yabukita

Tasting Profile:
The infusion brews an elegant roasted aroma, medium bodied, transparent and light “woodsy” brown liquid. Houjicha also makes a very refreshing iced tea.

Den’s Preferred Brewing:
Water: 4oz boiled
Leaves: 2 grams or 1 heaping teaspoon
Steep: 30 sec
2nd Cup: Water boiled; Steep 15 sec

For a cup of Iced Tea: Put 50% more tea leaves into a teapot. Steep as directed for hot tea. Once you brew it, put ice into the cup to lock in the aroma.

About Den's Tea View company

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85 Tasting Notes

1110 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

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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972 tasting notes

Another tea from my Den’s sampler! The dry tea is medium brown leaves and stems with some broken leaves mixed in. It smells like toasted nuts or grains. Yum, I love toasty teas! I steeped this for two minutes.

The brewed tea smells, unsurprisingly, very toasty. There is also a smell that reminds me of piles of dried leaves in the fall, and a hint of grassiness. I was a little bit surprised that the first thing I tasted with my first sip was bean sprouts. However, this quickly changed to the toasted grains and autumn leaves flavors I was expecting. It’s interesting that there is still a manifestation of green here even though this is obviously heavily roasted. For some reason, this tea made my mouth feel grainy or dusty or something. I wouldn’t really call it astringency but I’m not sure what caused it. Overall, a very tasty tea and I could see this being good with milk. I may try steeping this for longer or with more tea for an even stronger toasty flavor.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Toasted Rice

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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282 tasting notes

This is a tea I’ve had a very long time and haven’t tried. I’m finding that I’m leaning more towards unflavored teas, so I wanted to try out some of the ones I had in my stash. I’m using office water to make this one, so these are all at 165.

Attempt 1: Since I only have 165 degree water, I have to search around a bit to get the right time. This one was two minutes. I can get some roastiness out of this but not much. The color was a light and looked weak. I’ll get some new leaves and try 30 seconds longer

Attempt 2: This one is 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The roast flavor seems more full, and I think I can get some of the actual tea flavor now. It’s also brewed up a very nice light amber color. I’ll try three minutes and see how that is, but I’m thinking this might be the winner

Attempt 3: This one was for three minutes. It seems to somehow have traded roast flavor for tea flavor. While this isn’t bad, I prefer the stronger roasted notes personally.

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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7 tasting notes

UPDATE: I LOVE this tea. It has become almost buttery as I continue to drink it. A great, smooth, silky tea that I am just loving. Thanks goodness it came in such an enormous bag – and for such a reasonable price too I might add – so I can keep drinking away for another month or too. Thanks Den’s! You’ve done it agains! (bad joke)

I have received this tea as a sample many times, and I always enjoy a nice roasted green tea. It’s a wonderful blend: dark and robust when steeped for a long time for those who like coffee and the deep flavors of these teas; yet also very light and gentle on the palate at shorter steep times and amounts, if that’s what you prefer. Highly diverse and adjustable, always delicious for my tastes.

I recommend this tea to anyone who enjoys a nice, quality dark roasted tea, or houjicha and bancha teas in general. Excellent as usual, Den’s.

Flavors: Butter, Plant Stems, Roasted, Wood

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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38 tasting notes

Sample. I actually liked it better than I thought I would, but probably not enough to order more.

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115 tasting notes

This tea was nice, but I prefer Genmaicha over this because it has a vegetal taste that contrasts with the roasted flavour. I found Houjicha to be less interesting, but it is still very good.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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267 tasting notes

This is the third sample I’ve tried in the sample package. I was very surprised when I saw the brewing instructions and, honestly, a little scared to try it! Using boiled water for a green tea!

Both the tea and tea leaves (dry and wet) have a strong roasted, wood-like aroma, and the liquor is clear, medium brown. The flavor is like that of a usual houjicha, only slightly more robust – possibly due to the fact that much of the sample consisted of tiny broken leaves. When it lingers, boy does it linger. After letting the tea settle for a few seconds in my mouth, the taste becomes much stronger. Too strong for me actually. The aftertaste is similar to that of a black coffee, which I don’t like.

I was even more surprised at the instructions for the second steeping: 15 seconds! The liquor, this time, is golden. The aroma, weaker, but still maintaining its roasted quality. It is the same for the flavor, which still leaves an astringent aftertaste. All around, the second steeping tasted like the usual houjicha I’m used to drinking.

Overall this tea is very strong and woody. I would probably drink it during an early morning because the flavor would surprise my taste buds (and brain) out of sleepiness.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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22 tasting notes

This was my first Houjicha!

Dry leaves: The leaves smelled very nutty and woodsy. It’s a very familiar smell but I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is.

Wet leaves: The nuttiness has gotten a lot stronger and now I can smell a green tea scent.

Steeping produced a very clear, dark golden brown liquor. This tea tastes very smooth and sweet. It tastes a lot like it smells, nutty and twiggy. I feel like it tastes like almonds. Unlike any tea I’ve ever drank, especially green tea. Very good though. Just a hard one to describe.


Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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7 tasting notes

Profile: Liquor is golden brown. Aroma is heavily toasted, with notes of caramel, coffee, and charcoal. Taste is similar, though the toastiness is lighter, the caramel sweetness is more apparent, and notes of coffee and charcoal are muted, replaced with a green woodsiness, revealing that this is, in fact, a green tea (bancha). Aftertaste is long and sweet, with the toastiness lingering for minutes. Mouthfeel is smooth, with no astringency or bitterness.

Other notes: The flavor of this tea is quite unique, due to the use of charcoal during the roasting process. Caffeine content is also lower, which makes houjicha better suited than other teas for evenings.

Verdict: A thoroughly enjoyable experience with a unique flavor profile and very long finish. It has become my drink of choice at night, for relaxation and warmth. I will be ordering more of this wonderful tea from Den’s.

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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1 tasting notes

I wasn’t crazy about it, but I don’t think I prepared it corretly! I should try again. Strong roasted earthy taste

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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