Full disclosure: this tea was sent to me as a free sample by the vendor. However, there was no expectation that I would provide a review.
Still at work, so let’s keep drinking tea. I’ve had enough caffeine today, so I’ll start to mellow out with something without. I must say I have mixed emotions about houji-cha as a style of tea in the first place. The concept of taking poor quality green tea and roasting it to produce something light, caffeine-free and easy to brew is, in my mind, not something to get all worked up about. On the other hand, it has a nice roasted flavor that’s rare in the tea world outside of a handful of oolongs.
At 200F and 90 seconds this brew comes through a little lighter and littered with dust (again). The flavors are bit coarse and charred. Faint bits of espresso, some tannic, dried autumn leaves and a touch of dark caramel. The body of this tea seems surprisingly thin and really parches out the tongue. I believe I’ve had deeper and fuller examples of the style, so I’ll go ahead and say this isn’t particularly exemplary in my mind.