Hojo TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
very densely compressed cake, reminds me of xiaguan iron cakes
multiple sessions in a gaiwan, jian shui, hongni…nothing affected this tea.
Dried leaves had the classic aroma of young sheng, but not necessarily fresh…but its a 2011. strong clean ripe apricot smell.
Liquor was fairly lighter than I expected a 2011 tea to be. It was also fairly cloudy, but mostly from the tiny hairs. I got goosebumps from the first taste, but then this tea kind of faded on me. Liquor is smokey, almost cigarette-like. The ashy/umami smoke was prominent at the beginning, then faded into background mid-session (or was overpowered by the bitter and huigans), then smokiness became present again at end of session. cooling huigan was nice, but no sweetness really, just ash and bitterness.
Mild bitterness, pleasant, not dominating. This tea is not 1-dimensional, its just not complex in a way I enjoy. I’m really confused if this will ever develop sweetness, the smokiness and bitterness overwhelm the flavors and chi seems to be very weak if even existent. I think this sample needs some time, like decades. But given the lack of ‘activity’, even though its cheap ($35/200g), I don’t think I want to sit on it for half my life.
Smooth, complex, balanced, not harsh, not smokey though some tobacco notes, much different from Hao Ya or Mao Feng. Quite a treat, extremely memorable, perhaps the best black tea I have ever tasted.
This seems to be the same, very rare, very pricey grade of Keemun from a specific, state-owned factory, that Ito En’s Madison Ave NYC boutique called “Keemun Spring Dawn.” Ito En US used to procure just 1kg a year, before the shop closed in 2010.
I am not aware of any retailers aside from Hojo who currently offer this. Comes to $2.50/gram, but I could not imagine a black tea objectively “better” than this.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Leather, Tobacco
A rather decent tea, however I have to admit that the 2012 dancong they have is at least 2 to 3 times better. Longevity of this tea is brief and the fruit notes are not as powerful. Drank this with a hand full of people a few weekends back and then again today to really test it out. Not something I would/will stock up on while the 2012 might be.
Hands down among the top 3 raw puerh in terms of leaf quality… beautiful beautiful beautiful leaf.
Anyways, Hojo’’s info
“It is made of the naturally farmed
tea.It gives light body and extremely
long lasting after taste. Tea gives flioral
note thanks to slightly lighter panfrying
process. This tea will also age
very well as it is very rich in poly
phenol and minerals.”
This is a must purchase for me after I had two sessions of it. The tea goes on for 20+ steeps and it’s absolutely amazing. Hopefully there is a 2017 that comes out as well so I can compare the two over time.
Solid light taste with floral notes inbetween the vegetable notes and a light raw puerh note that isn’t hard on the mouth at all.
Received a sample of this with my order so I went head and took it to work with me.
First time having a primarily green silver needle tea, let alone an older one than the current year.
I found this to have a balance between wheat and light tropical fruits that made it not only enjoyable for the morning but a great drink to sip at while I think of the two opposing taste. This is a higher quality leaf too as I found many pieces that were two needles from one stem… great stuff all the way around : )
Now I need to try some fresh silver needle from Hojo!
Wonderful texture to the liquid on this tea with a nice nutty taste within the vegetable notes that are primary. Not too sure what this even is… it’s caked, but it’s not really a pu’erh type of tea as its not bitter and brews up quite strong… fun session with more to be enjoyed.
Much better than the 2014 that I tried. Really juicy taste for quite a few steeps that make this a unique brew that I enjoy very much. Going to get more of this one for sure : )
Really unique taste as there is a hint of smoke in this somewhere within the dark stone fruit.
Really enjoy this stuff over yaobao varietal since there is this interesting fruity sweetness to the taste.
This tea isn’t all that bad for the price, but for something that would be in the mid range of $10/oz I think I got exactly what I wanted out of it. A little heavier texture to the liquid with some darker notes of hay while having that wild aspect that makes it not so much like a sheng but an weird oolong. The session changed pretty quick in taste and went flat sooner than most, but I would suspect that would be the case with most of these teas that are barley processed and I believe different material than stuff coming from Yunnan (however, it would be super close)
I’ve had three sessions of this and I find it more enjoyable than the purple cakes that get pressed but nothing too impressive yet as it’s only a few years old. I believe this one will get even darker as it has more birthdays and will continue to have that thick soup which will lead to a beautiful session later down the road. Keeping my eye on this one because it has the look and smell, might just need the time.
After a year of reading the Hojo articles and really wanting to try their stuff, I finally took my tax return money and made the purchase!
This tea was one that I read about for 2015 and 2016 as it is so unique and beautiful; how can one not? Really glad that I picked it up too because it’s a wonderful tea all around. It was pressed into cakes so the pieces are hard to get full leaf, but inside that material you do get them. The colors are wonderful: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSuHlIvgC4t/
The smell comes off quite strong and gives you an impression of warm juice. The taste is like a fruit with skin that had honey rubbed on it. This tea went a good 6 steeps before I ended it. A cake for this runs a bit high at $65/200g, but dang… something like this is quite unique and I have yet to see anyone else product wild white tea cakes. If YS does so with the purple moonlight then I’m in trouble : P
Really like this stuff all around though. Going to save the rest to brew with other people.
I am drinking the 2016 version of this tea. Assuming that age matters more than year of production and I can review it here.
The taste of the tea has changed since I bought it. Earlier there was a more aggressive edge to it that has now mellowed off. It glides in very smoothly now. I don’t mind a stronger taste myself but the joy of this tea, as Hojo likes it, is in the aftertaste which is really powerful and long-lasting.
I don’t have other white teas to compare with (though last year I sampled all Hojo’s offerings) so take my recommendation for what it’s worth but I really enjoy this tea.
8.1g, 90mL zisha teapot
Each session I realized I wasn’t getting the most out of this tea, so I bumped it up each time from 4g to 6.5g to finally 8.1g today. Now I finally see what this tea has to offer.
Very smooth. after the first few steeps, this huigan hits you and just keeps going and going I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a huigan that lasts this long. It just doesn’t stop, very pleasant.
Its fruity, sweet, fresh apricots, solid flavor but not intense.
Balanced all the way. There’s just enough bitterness in there and a hint of astringency to keep you going and provide a “backbone” to this tea, but unless you’re looking for it, you won’t notice the bitterness or astringency. Very subtle kuwei.
The aroma coming form the cup is really strong, as I am smelling it right now from the cup sitting on the table next to me as I type this. aroma of sweet apricots perfume…
I wonder if Hojo vacuum sealed this tea for the last 4-5 years (2012 tea drank in 2017)? Perhaps there is a method to his madness in vacuum sealing? He’s preserved the high notes and that apricot-ness unique to fresh sheng, but also mellowed the harshness of fresh sheng. Its a dampening/mellowing effect similar to how white tea ages.
It seems too smooth and soft to be fresh, but too floral/apricot-like to be 4 years old.
The aftertaste goes on an on…very nice. Hojo’s ambition is to produce a long lasting aftertaste and he did very well here. A lot of times with other shengs I get an initial sweet aftertaste, but then it will turn to a dull mushroomy paper flavor that is not so pleasant. This tea however, is able to maintain that fresh ripe apricot sweet aftertaste the entire time, it never turns mushroomy blandness. Due to the very subtle bitterness, I think the reason is because after the aftertaste fades, a very subtle huigan returns to prevent that mushroomy flavor. Its so subtle in the transition from aftertaste to huigan, you don’t even realize it happened. I would have to say this is the most hidden/subtle huigan I’ve experienced. That is the reason for this aftertaste that lingers so long.
Hojo is a rather controversial vendor for his methods and claims about aging, but I think the proof is in the pudding here. Is this the best sheng I’ve ever had? No. Is it a very good sheng? Yes! Is his vacuum sealing method of aging working? In this case, I think so. Not sure what will happen after 20 years, but after 4 years I am pleased with the results today.
Lastly, this tea put me to sleep. Very relaxing and sedating. Don’t drink this at work or prior to operating motor vehicles or machinery.
4.5g, 220mL porcelain teapot, 2x rinse, 1-2 minute steeps. Tall collins glass. Don’t recommend gongfu brewing this tea, it needs to steep and get some strength to it. This was not a sample but a 50g sachet.
Leaves were intact. no jerky or smokiness for me.
Full bodied, thick liquor, a dark yellowish color, buttery aftertaste, smooth, really nice. Its not a relaxing tea for me, its a tea with some energy that could easily get me going in the morning. I feel like I want to go workout now…without caffeine jitters.
There is a slight astringency on the long finish after 1-2 glasses. And some cooling huigans. The loooong finish is where the sweetness returns. I mean like 5 minutes later you start getting a honey-like green/grassy sweetness. It hits on the lighter/ higher register of flavors, but they’re not distinguishable of anything in particular.
I enjoy it. Its on the ‘delicate’ side of flavor, but on the full side of body and mouthfeel. If you’re familiar with the profile of a majority of Hojo’s tea, they are about aftertaste and body. This hits both qualities really well. If you want a fruity tea, pass on this. If you want something that feels good to drink, with a pleasant flavor, this is a good tea.
I chose to drink this tonight because I needed something that didn’t have a ton of flavor, I’m sort of suffering from sensory fatigue overload tonight and needed something fulfilling yet simple and easy to sip on. The (lack of) flavor was perfect for this occasion.
brewed with Nosaka oxidation hohin, dried aroma and steamed aroma is a very rich enticing matcha green tea aroma, makes you want to eat it.
liquor is light green, lighter than I’m accustomed with sencha. mineral notes, floral after taste, grassy/herbal undertones, pine freshness. Everything in moderation, a touch on the light side of flavor. Aftertaste was moderate, didn’t notice much of it linger. I also couldn’t oversteep this, I tried.
Sedated me, I had to lay down for about 45 minutes….twice. I really wasn’t expecting that! I guess that’s testimony to the age of the tea trees, supposedly 200-300 years old. I think it would be easier to validate the age of Japanese tea trees vs puerh teas, since a lot of Japanese tea gardens are many centuries old passed down generation to generation.
In puerh world we’d call this a “stoner” tea. Also some stomach warming (lower dan tien area) cha qi. Also body warming, later in the evening finishing the session I started sweating and face grew warm/flush.
Solid afternoon tea if you want to take a nap and snooze for a bit.
Brewed in a Nosaka red clay hohin with oxidation firing from Hojo.
Very impressed with this tea. I drank it after a session of Hojo’s Tsukigase Zairai
Sencha, and I prefer this better. If I can make an analogy, Uji Sencha Jubuzan is to Tsukigase Zairai Sencha as Jinxuan oolong (milk cultivar) is to Qingxin oolong, if that makes sense.
The dried leaves have a savory rich aroma similar to matcha. I used various teacups including a silver cup. I find teas out of a silver teacup are a touch thinner, but this tea remained thick and full bodied no matter what teacup I used.
After the first sip I got a wave of drunkeness and head-spin, and was glad I was sitting down. I guess I wasn’t prepared for that. I centered myself and continued.
The aftertaste continued to build. It was on the lower register. A rich, creamy, thick, savory, semi-sweet aftertaste just sat there on the center rear of my tongue. It gradually coated my tongue in an creamy manner, but not cloying. A touch of dryness prompts me to take another sip. This is decadent. I need to drink this next to Hojo’s Hon Yama Hebizuka. I wasn’t expecting this to be so good. I really enjoyed this tea, its on the dessert side of teas, decadent, semi-sweet, thick, rich, and filling.
The aftertaste seemed to fade away after a short time, but the creamy mouth coating and sensation on my tongue remained and increased as the session continued. At some point there is a blended confusion of mouthfeel and flavor/aftertaste, and its hard to tell where either one starts or ends. When I take a new sip, the flavor peaks, but then fades back and blends with the oily mouth feel, reminding you of what you just drank. Much different than the sheng puerh aftertaste I am accustomed to. Perhaps that’s why I mixed things up with sencha tonight :)
This tea is relaxing and makes me want to lay down, head qi, warming qi, drunken qi, never experienced this from sencha before. Not getting caffeine jitters either. This is good tea.
This tea is very very good, and very high quality. Hands down the best jasmine pearl I’ve ever had.
My history with jasmine pearls is a bumpy road, I’ve tried many always wanting to like this style of tea. But most jasmine pearls get too strong and bitter, drying/astringent, or they’re too weak and faded, and most don’t have much jasmine taste or aromas after the first or second steeping. And not to sound like Goldie Locks, but Hojo’s jasmine pearls are “just right”.
I cooled the water slightly from a boil by passing it through an Akitsu Mumyoi teapot I got from Hojo, using the teapot as a samashi (cooling pitcher). I poured the slightly cooled water into a tall glass, with just enough jasmine pearls to cover the bottom of the glass.
This tea lasted over 5 steepings before beginning to fade (that’s 5 full glasses of tea).
Super long, pleasant, and strong aftertaste of sweet jasmine with a touch of honey. No bitterness, no sour, this is a wonderful tea to have after breakfast. The flavor just goes on and on and on…this lasts longer than a lot of puerh I’ve been sampling recently. I’m very impressed with this tea.
Believe it or not there’s quite a lot of huigan in this tea too. A pleasant cooling effect in the mouth and throat.
Not my usual indulgence, but wanting to mix it up today, and this is something I see myself returning to more often in the future. This is good!
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Sweet
Drinking this right now as I pack up beginner bags for people and each sip just brings ‘holy shit’ to the front of my thoughts.
The creamiest of all shengs I’ve ever encountered; rather mind blowing how creamy it is. Though the texture alone is enough to make me say this is in the top of all pu’erh I’ve had, there is a floral note at the back of the mouth like an aroma coming from the back of my throat and a slight sweetness at the tip of my tongue.
This is an absolutely wonderful tea which has now caused me to seek out more Hojo products. Maybe the Japanese palate for pu’erh is much different, through it’s all personal preference. As the steeps go on, it gets more of a sweet note coming through that the really young pu’erhs tend to have while bringing forward a more leaf vegetal taste. Beautiful tea, couldn’t have picked a better one to do what I am doing right now.
Ahhhh, I want more.
I’ll review this tea again in the future as I don’t feel this review is totally fair. The sample I had, had a lot of broken leaf in it so that is of course going to lead to a lower quality cup. In the event a second sample I receive comes in that quality this’ll be a different story.
So based off of what I was given…
I used 5.5g/120ml, 85C water, first brewing was 10 seconds +5seconds per each additional brewing.
The aroma reminded me of jerky. Initially you are met with the jerky-like taste. In the liquor it vaguely reminded me of Lapsang. There was a slight hint of green beans. In the after taste there was hints of melon and raspberry. The liquor was incredibly buttery and smooth. There was a hint of astringency.
In the second cup most of that jerky and smokiness had disappeared. A gentle green bean flavor was on my tongue along with spinach or collard greens. In the after taste there was raspberries and melon.
The liquor for the third brewing was a lot darker. The overall taste still had the green bean flavor except it was a lot stronger. There was a tiny hint of raspberries in the after taste. Despite the fact that the after taste has been extremely weak, I liked it.
The liquor for the fourth brew didn’t have much flavor and was more astringent. The after taste remained the same. The same for the fifth so I stopped drinking.
Flavors: Green Beans, Melon, Raspberry, Smoke, Spinach
As of now its my fav young-er shu. No wudoi or fermentation flavor. On the sweeter side of shu probably because its golden tips. Not drying, nor astringent. Medium body, very smooth, easy to drink, easy on the stomach. Its my daily drinker. Gives me a slight boost of calming energy (if that makes sense) without the caffeine jitters. First sip is honey with earth, then a bit of mouth watering without any flavor, then the almond honey aftertaste appears a few minutes later. Extremely pleasant and lasting aftertaste.
At first it seemed underwhelming because the flavor faded quickly, but this tea is about the aftertaste. The more I drank it the more I mixed it into my “shu” rotation, and found myself coming back to it and preferring it over my others. I understand why it sold out so fast. I hesitated ordering it initially, and then saw it was sold out, so I asked anyway and luckily Hojo let me buy one of his last 2 cakes (which I suspect he was keeping for himself).
Brewing: two flash rinses in a gaiwan then put the wet tea into a tumbler and brewed it grandpa style, topping it off with more hot water as it gets low. Medium longevity, lasts me 1.5-2 Liter tumblers with 5g tea.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Earth, Honey