This is my first time trying a Houjicha – I enjoyed it :) I used the temperature recommended on the bag – 195F, with steeps of 60s, 30s, then 2m. The aroma of the leaves after the first steep was a bit overwhelming, at first I thought it just smelled like charcoal, then I gave it a second whiff and smelled what seems to me like roasted pumpkin seeds – come to think of it, I had a different roasted Japanese green (wasn’t Houjicha I don’t think), that had a similar aroma. This one smelled better though. The liquor was a beautiful amber color, true to the tea’s name. The first steep was the best in my opinion, that nice and sweet roastiness reminding me of coffee (not in flavor really…just the roastiness).
The roast flavor wasn’t as strong in subsequent steeps, which to some people seems to be nicer, but I really enjoyed the roast in this one, so I found the subsequent steeps to be a bit lacking. Still had a nice burnt sweetness to it – caramel or brown sugar, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Certainly a robust and enjoyable tea to drink. The pumpkin seed flavor was also kind of there throughout – it was the underlying flavor that was sweetened by the roast I suppose.
Flavors: Roasted, Sweet