Fourth tea for March Mad(Hatter)ness! This is for the green tea round, going against Fukujuen’s Gyokuro Karigane. Both teas were little tins that my friend Todd brought me back from a trip he took to Japan back in 2018. I still haven’t opened them and they are quite old now, especially for green tea. Oops! (I also couldn’t find any pictures online and had to scrounge out my digital camera to log them…)
The dry leaf has a pleasant oaty aroma, as well as the roasted nuts scent I’m familiar with in houjicha. Steeped 2g (a full perfect teaspoon) in 350ml 205F water for 3 minutes. The steeped tea has a deeply roasty aroma, with some hints of nuts and wood, and a slight minerality. It has a nice, rich flavor; I’ve had some older houjicha that tasted a bit “dusty” or “bark-like” but not this one! There is a deep, smooth woodiness that leaves a subtle bitterness on the tongue, but it is in no way unpleasant, lacking any drying qualities. The strongest flavor note for me is roasted nuts, particularly that somewhat earthy walnut note, with more subtle notes of oats, toasted bread, and minerals. It’s a superb cup of houjicha!
This is probably the hardest round for me thus far! By flavor I’d probably say this houjicha (though the gyokuro karigane was very nice!), but the gyokuro karigane had such a pleasant cha qi for me! I woke ridiculously early and couldn’t fall back asleep (thanks, cat!) and two pots of the gyokuro karigane gave me so much energy; I didn’t feel buzzed like I used to get on coffee, but a focused wakefulness that got me through the day. Houjicha is a relaxing warm hug, with so little caffeine I can drink it as an alternative to herbals in the evening. Very different functions…
I think the houjicha wins this one, mostly because, compared to other houjicha I’ve had, this one is such a nice quality and flavor. With the Gyokuro Karigane was an excellent green tea, I don’t have any other gyokuro karigane to compare it to in my mind, and compared to other green teas in general, I have had some I prefer to it. That said, I’m quite looking forward to sipping it down, especially on those mornings that I just can’t get going!
Uji-Houjicha: Yamashiro-no-Sato moves on!
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Mineral, Nutty, Oats, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Toasty, Walnut, Wood