Fourth tea for March Mad(Hatter)ness! This is for the green tea round, going against Fukujuen’s Gyokuro Karigane. Both teas were little tins that my friend Todd brought me back from a trip he took to Japan back in 2018. I still haven’t opened them and they are quite old now, especially for green tea. Oops! (I also couldn’t find any pictures online and had to scrounge out my digital camera to log them…)

The dry leaf has a pleasant oaty aroma, as well as the roasted nuts scent I’m familiar with in houjicha. Steeped 2g (a full perfect teaspoon) in 350ml 205F water for 3 minutes. The steeped tea has a deeply roasty aroma, with some hints of nuts and wood, and a slight minerality. It has a nice, rich flavor; I’ve had some older houjicha that tasted a bit “dusty” or “bark-like” but not this one! There is a deep, smooth woodiness that leaves a subtle bitterness on the tongue, but it is in no way unpleasant, lacking any drying qualities. The strongest flavor note for me is roasted nuts, particularly that somewhat earthy walnut note, with more subtle notes of oats, toasted bread, and minerals. It’s a superb cup of houjicha!

This is probably the hardest round for me thus far! By flavor I’d probably say this houjicha (though the gyokuro karigane was very nice!), but the gyokuro karigane had such a pleasant cha qi for me! I woke ridiculously early and couldn’t fall back asleep (thanks, cat!) and two pots of the gyokuro karigane gave me so much energy; I didn’t feel buzzed like I used to get on coffee, but a focused wakefulness that got me through the day. Houjicha is a relaxing warm hug, with so little caffeine I can drink it as an alternative to herbals in the evening. Very different functions…

I think the houjicha wins this one, mostly because, compared to other houjicha I’ve had, this one is such a nice quality and flavor. With the Gyokuro Karigane was an excellent green tea, I don’t have any other gyokuro karigane to compare it to in my mind, and compared to other green teas in general, I have had some I prefer to it. That said, I’m quite looking forward to sipping it down, especially on those mornings that I just can’t get going!

Uji-Houjicha: Yamashiro-no-Sato moves on!

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Mineral, Nutty, Oats, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Toasty, Walnut, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Bergamot (in moderation)

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Hemp/CBD teas
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.


My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JjlpjQ94UyoryaDRMIeqnPHObgvCtmRp/view?usp=sharing . I am currently strictly limiting tea trading/ordering to get my collection under control! My participation in any tea boxes, tea exchanges, or group orders, and acceptance of any tea gifts is very limited at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited outbound gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

Feel free to send me a Steepster PM, or alternatively, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.


Idaho, United States



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