drank Genmai-Hojicha by Tealyra
693 tasting notes

Summer Vacation! When I saw Tealyra had this, I had to try it, since I’m a huge fan of both Houjicha and Genmaicha. The idea of Houjicha that included genmai, the toasted rice included in genmaicha, intrigued me, because I imagined it would just add to the roasty flavors nicely. So I picked some up some time ago on a past Tealyra order. Apparently when my friend was visiting last winter, I made him a cup of this while essentially sleep-walking during a migraine — I have no memory or recollection of actually “waking” and brewing tea during the long period I was in the throws of “death pain” during the migraine attack. Now he sings the lyrics of The Romantics “Talking In Your Sleep” with the lyrics I drink the tea that she steeps / When she’s brewing in her sleep

I’m having another migraine today (chronic migraine condition + forest fire smoke as a trigger + hormone fluctuations as a trigger = RAWR) so it seems only fitting to try this one today during the tail end of my Japan Week of the Summer Vacation theme. The aroma has a very deep, roasted houjicha scent, very woody, slightly nutty, and I pick up very subtle aromas of cinnamon and deeply bittersweet cocoa.

The flavor is quite nice for a houjicha. It’s very smooth and doesn’t come off quite as bark-like as some houjicha I’ve tried; the wood notes have a much nicer, earthy quality. It has a deep rich quality with an almost coffee-like slight bitter touch left on the tongue just after the sip and mild drying astringency, but it isn’t unpleasant; the flavor of the aftertaste is very nutty, like the genmai is amplifying the natural nutty notes of the houjicha. Reminds me a lot of a dark roast nutty coffee. I’m a bit surprised that a houjicha I didn’t order directly from Japan is so nice; despite being so low in caffeine, this is really making for a nice breakfast tea, just because it has such a pleasant robust roasty flavor.

Other than my maple-infused houjicha, I’d say this has to be one of the best that I’ve tried so far.

Flavors: Astringent, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 13 OZ / 370 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
-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.

Currently Sipping Down: Dazzle Deer teas, What-cha teas, matcha

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.

New Teas Tried for 2020: 97
Sipdown Count for 2020: 126


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/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! I cannot participate in any tea boxes, group orders, tea exchanges, or accept any tea gifts 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 gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

The Steepster PM system has been broken for some time. If you need to get ahold of me, 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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