Houjicha Gold (Roasted Bancha)

Tea type
Green Tea
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Sweet, Wood, Roasted, Salty, Earth, Nutty, Almond, Roasted Barley, Roasted nuts, Toasted, Toasty, Umami, Autumn Leaf Pile, Smoke, Grain, Toasted Rice, Butter, Plant Stems, Celery, Rice
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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 / 192 ml

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91 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 then...” Read full tasting note
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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 form,...” Read full tasting note

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.

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91 Tasting Notes

24 tasting notes

This tea is incredibly versatile; it really cant’ be overstepped, re-steeps excellently, and makes a good glass of iced tea. It also doesn’t taste much like a Japanese green tea, which helps in my book. Instead of tasting like vegetables, it tastes like roasted. Roasted something. Definitely going to buy this again.

Iced 0 min, 45 sec

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99 tasting notes

Mmmm houjicha. ♥ This has a smooth, nutty flavor that I really really like. :D I’ve definitely had this in restaurants before (well, maybe not Den’s, but some kind of houjicha), and it gives me such a good, relaxed feeling, I can’t help but enjoy it! :)

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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18 tasting notes

It has a nice flavor, and is very calming. Note to self: Not quite the best tea to drink when trying desperately to stay awake.

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60 tasting notes

This houjicha has woodsy and toasted notes, with a mild flavor overall and a faint marine hint in the finish. The texture is rather light and there is no bitterness.

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28 tasting notes

This was the last of Den’s $3 sampler. I first sampled this tea as a very new tea drinker, and enjoyed it then.

Now as I return with far more tea experience, I love it even more. It smells much like Genmaicha and tastes somewhat like a roastier Genmaicha. The flavor is warming, toasty, and also just a little savory, just a hint of seaweed that to me makes it all the more interesting and delightful. It also resteeped well, full of flavor for 3 steeps despite being underleafed (rather than the recommended 2g or heaping tsp per 4oz, I had only a scant tsp remaining, and on top of that poured in more than 4oz water). I’m on #4, and this cup is lighter though still lovely.

I have barely explored Japanese teas — in many ways, they seem like their own world. Sure, Genmaicha is an easy bridge tea, and I’ve experienced some Senchas and a Kukichas with delightfully fresh, sweet, grassy flavors, yet haven’t fully embraced the astringency that seems such a key part of the experience of many (most?) Japanese greens.

But this tea is quite accessible. It is not all that different from a roasted oolong, like Harney’s Formosa Oolong, the tea that reminds me of what was served in the Chinese restaurant my family frequented when I was a kid. I was not a tea drinker then, but I’d drink cup after cup of that tea. It needed no adjustment period. Because of the hint of salt in this cup, this tea may be slightly less universally appealing, but I think it’s still very accessible.

No astringency. Easy to brew. Nothing intimidating. A unique combination of the hearty, roasty dominating flavor along with the tease of savory seaweed. This is the first Japanese tea that’s completely hooked me. I’m ready for more.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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35 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking this every night after dinner for the past week or so. It isn’t my favorite tea, but it works well as an after dinner drink. It has a bright woody taste with a bit of sweetness that is strong enough to not be covered up by any food you may have recently eaten, and it’s much easier on the stomach than some of my other Den’s teas. The lower caffeine content also makes it a nice night time drink if you aren’t prepared to switch tea for something herbal.

Flavors: Sweet, Wood

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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122 tasting notes

It’s freezing in my office! I needed something warm and toasty to soothe myself, so this roasted bancha from my Den’s Tea sampler should do the trick!
First steep 30 seconds: Brewed, this smells salty, like the Laoshan Black from Verdant smelled salty, but this one doesn’t quite have as much body behind it. My office mate described it as “everything-bagel tea”. The roasted flavor is not nearly as strong as some oolongs I’ve had before, but more warming, like fresh bread out of the oven that you know will taste sweet! And once it cools off some, I am getting a sweet aftertaste! This is a super enjoyable cup, just what I want right this moment. I’m going to have to get me some houjicha before cold weather rolls around again (maybe sooner if the office is going to stay arctic).
Seconds steep of 15 seconds: Darker color than the first, but flavors much more muted. still smells very nice.

Flavors: Roasted, Salty, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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921 tasting notes

I am going to probably be covered in chiggers. I decided, I am tired of this stupid Midwest pointy grass and chiggers, and the inability to roll around in the grass, so I found a MASSIVE patch of clovers and just flopped down into it, soaking up the sunlight. The inevitable itchies are probably worth it, I will give a definite on that after they happen. Sometimes a nature lover like me has to to take one for the team in order to recharge my batteries after a long (ok actually it was a really warm) winter.

Since it is Thursday, that means it is time to blow the dust off my tea notebook pile and review one of the teas from my distant (like a year and a half ago) past. Reading the notes of these teas sends me back to the time I drank it, I might not be able to remember what day of the week it is half the time, but I can remember the way things taste and smell from years ago. I have a very strong yet very selective memory! So, today’s tea is Houjicha Gold from Den’s Tea, and boy do I feel sheepish for not visiting their site in a while, because they have some new and exciting teas! I feel a fondness for them since it was where I got my first Kyusu, and a Green Tea Starter kit, I was not at all new to Japanese teas, but I was new to Den’s Tea, and this seemed a good way to try their teas, Houjicha Gold was included. This is their roasted Bancha (as Houjicha tends to be) specifically from the Yabukita Cultivar grown in Shizuoka. The aroma of this tea is fairly mild, on the lightly toasted spectrum of Houjicha, blending a faint sweetness with autumn leaves and a touch of loam. Towards the finish there is a blend of nutty and toasted seaweed, giving it a savory, umami finish.
Into the kyusu the toasted leaves go, and man are my photos so bad! I am glad I finally figured out how to take indoor photos, one day though I am going to have a very well lit tea room! Preferably one with a sink…and very close to a bathroom! Ah, a girl can dream. So, after brewing, the leaves take on a stronger kelp and toasted note, even adding in a bit of smoke, no more sweetness this time, just toasted umami notes. The liquid, well, time for a little head-jerk of contrast, because it is super sweet, like toasted marshmallow and roasted nuts. Toss in a little campfire and you have a delicious smelling liquid.

The taste starts a touch smoky and very umami, with strong toasted kelp. This pretty quickly moves to sweet toasted marshmallow and nuttiness with a delightful lingering sweetness. The mouthfeel was a bit dry, not a sucking dryness, but not the coating feeling you get from its less toasted green cousin, it is a dryness I associate with toasted teas, distinct but not at all unpleasant. As the tea cools, the notes of smoke and roasted tea become stronger and linger much longer, leaving a smoky aftertaste. This is an excellent choice as a introductory Houjicha, it showcases the aspects you expect without any of the quirks of a more specialized Houjicha.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/04/dens-tea-houjicha-gold-tbt-tea-review.html


too much for me to read. but i love hojicha :D try ippodo’s next


Meanwhile, there’s still snow outside up here. :) Guess I’ll just have to dream of flopping down in clover for a bit longer…

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36 tasting notes

I’m really impressed with this tea! It definitely tastes roasty like genmaicha but in my opinion has a better overall flavor. I personally really am enjoying this cup versus the genmaicha I wasn’t a big fan of. This tea would go well with a grilled type of meal or as an afternoon tea. Definitely nothing sweet about this tea, it hits much more of a savory note.

Flavors: Earth, Nutty, Roasted

1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Yup. I need to order some of this tea. :D


I’m thinking once my sample is gone I’ll have to as well :)

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71 tasting notes

This is good, with pronounced roasted almond flavor, but it’s not as good as the Yunomi Naturally Grown first flush hojicha with sencha leaves. I don’t detect much of the sweetness that tea has. The roast is a little heavier than I’d like. Maybe the fact that this uses bancha between 2nd and 3rd flushes means it just isn’t quite as good or as delicate. I do enjoy the toastiness. At this point, I’m beginning to think it would be hard to create a houjicha that I hate, so I enjoy drinking this, but… It’s disappointing partly because I drank the Yunomi every morning for the past 3 days before ever trying this.

Flavors: Almond, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Roasted nuts, Toasted, Toasty

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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