27 Tasting Notes


I’m completely stunned at how gentle this hojicha is! It’s not smoky at all – the leaves smelled slightly green dry, toasty warmed and post steep. The taste of the tea reminds me of a seed mix I use for my oatmeal, and leaves a strong floral finish across the tongue! I’m really loving it, although it doesn’t have nearly the richness I look for in a hojicha. Kinda thinking about buying more to experiment with…

Flavors: Floral, Toast

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This tea is much darker than I remember! It’s sharp too – a bitterness that is very coffee-esque. This would definitely slap me awake in the morning. Very woodsy scent in the dry leaf, very smoky in the warmed kyusu, and a “burnt toast” smell in the wet leaf.

Full bodied. Left a nice mouth feel. Not sure if the lingering sweetness is from this or the sencha I drank earlier. I wish I had more to experiment with, but I don’t. I don’t think I’d order more Amber, but I would definitely drink more if it was offered to me.

Flavors: Burnt, Cedar, Coffee, Fish Broth, Mushrooms, Roasted Nuts, Smoke, Toast

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This tea is taking me back to my childhood summertimes in an agricultural town, and it is such a winner from the sampler!

It is deeper than the Spring Sun, though maybe a little less complex. Dry leaf is gorgeous – a few shades of green varying in the leaf, and smelling like fresh cut grass (a big summer signifier for me). In the warmed kyusu, that became the scent of hay, then finally in the cup, a very vegetal taste – big leafy greens, like a rich salad in a cup.

I did not find this particularly astringent, though there were light notes to the bitterness (think kale stem), and more savory than sweet. Absolutely pair this with something bolder in flavor, as it has the strength to cut through.

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Hay, Kale, Spinach, Vegetable Broth

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Starting to think I’ve ruined my palate, even though it has been hours and I’ve had plenty of other beverages between trying the Hojicha Dark Roast and this Kyobancha. I still taste something mushroomy.

There is a light sweetness to it; not nearly as toasty as I would expect from a roasted green. Definitely vegetable notes.

The liquor is a nice burnt orange colour; the broad dry leaves were beautiful to look upon. It’s smooth to drink.

Flavors: Caramel, Mushrooms, Vegetables

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This tea made me nervous when I opened the bag, because the only scent I got out of the dry leaf was mushrooms, which I despise. The moment they hit the warm kyusu, I began to smell smokiness, which deepened as it steeped to campfire, and finally into a charcoal taste in the cup. It’s almost Lapsang Souchong-esque, but instead of Pine, I taste Cedar.

It feels not unlike a french roast – almost overwhelmingly dark, but leaving a sweet finish. As it cooled, it tasted a little fishy as well? Finally leading back to that initial mushroom taste. Blergh.

Not bad overall, but this is a sample I doubt I’ll buy more of this sample, just because of my feelings about shrooms.

Flavors: Campfire, Cedar, Coffee, Fish Broth, Mushrooms

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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The first thing I noticed about this tea is how intensely smokey it is compared to my usual Hojichas (Harney & Sons, MEM Tea Imports). The size of the leaves impressed me too; again, I am used to teas that run on the kukicha side, or using fairly small broken leaves.

It brewed a nice cup – heavy on the wood/cedar scents, though I can definitely see where one gets tobacco from the wet leaf. A little thickness on the tongue, but not much in the way of mouthfeel. We did a second steep (~2 minutes) that felt almost espresso-esque. Roommate commented that she might want to try this longer steeping in her next bowl of chazuke – too bad we drank the whole sample!

Flavors: Cedar, Espresso, Smoke, Tobacco, Wet Rocks

Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I feel like I love this tea more and more each time I brew it. This sencha has some body, and a brothyness, that makes me really want to make chazuke from it some time. The spent leaves already make a good salad ;)

Flavors: Broth, Ocean Air, Vegetal

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
27 tasting notes

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My first adventures in tea were unpleasant. After years of frowning at burnt/oversteeped teas, a chocolate tea my mother picked up in San Francisco changed everything.

Now I mostly drink Japanese greens and oolongs, while also trying to sip down a stash of flavored blends.

Note: I am employed in the cafe and tea industry. All of my opinions are my own, and not representative of the views of my employers.


Boston, MA

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