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