Upgraded to this from the grocery store Maeda-En hojicha I used to drink. There was nothing wrong with it, in fact it’s one of the best commercial green teas out there, but I wondered if I could do better and Yuuki-Cha’s description of this tea was enticing: specially aged, first flush harvest picked from a high grade kuradashi leaves.
The dry leaves give off a funky, almost putrid smell. I got some really intense dark flavors the first couple of times I steeped it. Dark amber hued liquor with lots of woodsy and caramelized notes. Coffee, butterscotch, and leather were the dominant flavor and aroma characteristics. These were accented by notes of maple, barley, roasted nuts, sandalwood, and toffee. It’s definitely more complex than your typical hojicha. The flavor has now started to mellow a bit after resting a couple of weeks. It smoother and the earthiness has tamed down.
I especially enjoyed it as a cold brew which is how I’ve been steeping it lately. The cold brew is even smoother, crisp, and refreshing. You can taste more of the tea’s subtleties. Tobacco, black cardamom, oak, and clove were some of the more interesting flavor notes I got from cold steeping.
While I can appreciate how meticulously this tea was produced and enjoyed its complexity, I still prefer the simpler taste of classic hojicha. This to me is more of a connoisseur’s tea. It may appeal to fans of roasted oolongs or rare aged teas, but for me the taste doesn’t quite live up to its lofty pedigree.
Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Earth, Oak, Roasted Barley, Spices, Tobacco, Wood