Hojicha is made the same as sencha, with addition of roasting step. Leaves are dark, many times they contain also stems (karigane), which are good for taste. But this Hojicha contains mostly only leaves and only few stems. It is somehow milder then another hojicha I tried and had enjoyed very much, but the taste is more deep, complex and refined. However it needs more time to develop stronger taste.
…Organic Houjicha is a good affordable everyday tea, and tea farmers drink large quantities of it every day. Houjicha is a source of health for farmers, and Japanese farmers are well-known for their good health. In Japan, Houjicha is commonly given to babies and people who are sick because it is both nourishing and low in caffeine.
You can’t get any astringency of hojicha. Some people even boil it in the iron tea pot. And some people roast it at home, that I must try 😈
I warm my kyusu with 100°C water, then put hojicha in it. Smell it. 3 table spoons for about 250 ml of water. No rinse.
First steep 30-40 sec., 100°C, very roasted “hardcore” taste. Great roasted nut aroma, without sweetness. Charcoal finish. Toasty. Infusion is of chestnut color.
Second: 2 min., 100°C – roasted taste with some subtle sweetness undertone. Woody flavor.
Third: 3 min. at 100°C – roasted flavor with some toasted caramel. Chestnut. Aged chocolate. But first 2 were better.
Fourth: Taste and aroma fades, leaves got burned a bit. Still it’s drinkable and nice. Even cooled.
💡 You can save them if you’ll steep at 95°C for longer times, then you’ll get more good steeps. Drink it while hot, it gives a stronger taste. Never leave any water in kyusu after pouring to the cup.
I love hojicha very much and drink it whenever all other teas became not interesting anymore. I can get bored with all that roasted oolongs etc. But hojicha’s basic taste is good when all other tastes had become too profound. It’s like a whiskey to me. Never boring 😉