I saw this in the puerh plus TTB and wasn’t interested. I’ve been drinking hojicha a long time and one of the first loose leaf teas I bought were packets of Yamamotoyama hojicha. I assumed toasting was a great equalizer of tea quality. The stems were such a gorgeous deep brown color that I eventually opened the packet for a sniff. It smelled like chocolate. I’m not sure how or why but exactly like chocolate. So I took the sample and waited all of a week before I had to have it.
I doubted my senses so I double checked with my favorite non-tea drinker by shoving the package in their facing and asking what it smelled like. “Chocolate” came out on its own from someone who couldn’t tell hojicha from a nice mulch so it wasn’t just my brain playing tricks on me. I brewed this in a steeper mug and got two cups of glorious toasty chocolate tasting late night tea. The toasty was was full without being acrid. I think I probably could have got another cup out of it, should I not turned into the night. I am ashamed about my past ambivalence to hojicha, and now feel the need to see if I can find a particularly fine example of roasted barley tea out there.