Interesting story about this tea.
The first time I ever had houjicha, it was one of those Yamamotoyama teabags at a sushi restaurant near my college. I had no idea how long to steep it, but I fell in love with the result of the union of this one tea bag with one cup of water out of the hot side of the cooler. My immediate reaction was “I need this in loose-leaf, DUH”, so I snagged a tin of this while visiting a friend in Oklahoma. I brewed it perfectly according to the instructions on the back. It tasted…not like the houjicha I knew and loved. No nutty caramel goodness, only that woody taste I know from oolong and most decidedly am not a fan of.
Approximately five billion fine-tuned brewings later, ladies and gentlemen, I have reached HOUJICHA EQUILIBRIUM, and I now have sweet toasted goodness at my beck and call. Bravo, Republic of Tea.