With the Monthly Mystery Tea Samplers Club you get 3 x 10g samples, all different teas. 20% off coupon to purchase any of the teas for that month. What I found was really cool was included was a couple page letter that goes into each tea – the history of the tea farm its from, pictures of the family/farmers at the tea farm, information about what the tea is and steeping instructions.
This month, one of my three teas is Houjicha Light Roast from Obubu Teas! I’ve previously reviewed a Houjicha genmaicha. I’ve had a couple Houjichas at a few local sushi restaurants. Always fun when one expects the usual green sencha or genmaicha, but instead getting pots of roasty houjicha!
I didn’t know there are various roast intensities for Houjicha, that go up in smokey flavor strength – Yunomi.us/Obubu Tea has 4 roasts: Basic, Light, Dark and Smokey (you can also buy them as a package deal to try them all!)
Let’s give Houjicha Light Roast a try… as well as Houijcha Dark Roast! The dark roast was not in the sampler, but I had been sent some previously and this seemed a fun opportunity to try both teas together.
Dry Leaf: Nutty roasty scented leaves with an interesting tan green appearance. The thin curly bits are kind of cute!
Steeping Instructions: Yunomi.us suggests to use their Standard Steeping Technique - with that said, I did 190F for 30 seconds, 10 second second steeping, and 30 seconds for further steepings. I used my gravity steeper as my kyusu tea pot makes a huge mess for some reason.
The Houjicha Light Roast has a gorgeous glowing gold colour with a sweet roasted smell. I poured two cups, the big owl cup for me and the small glass one for Barny.
What is up with glowing Japanese tea? The gyokuro I reviewed last has a similar bright glow.
First Steeping: Very smooth tea! The sip goes down really easy going from light to rich intensity of flavors. Houjicha Light Roast has a savory roasty flavor with a hint of smokeyness, finishing off with a really tasty sweetness that reminds me of roasted chestnuts. The sweetness steals the show for this tea! The smokeyness is a 1/10 intensity. No bitterness, grassy or dryness in this tea.
Second Steeping: Still smooth, but not as smooth. The flavor seems much stronger yet more balanced with being one even brothy taste of roasty green tea with an amber sweetness to it. The first steeping was very easy to drink, with the second steeping being more of a slow sipper as it is a stronger cup. What is intriguing is this was a 10 second steep!
Third Steeping: Another shift! The tea is just a light blanket of chocolately roasty sweetness! Less brothy than the last steeping and closer to the first steeping for lightness. YUM! I could drink this steeping all day, very easy to drink!
Fourth Steeping: Very light and a little flavor left. I think I could squeeze more flavor with aggressive steepings or overnight cold steep, but I’ll stop for now.
Dry Leaf: The smell comes off very roasty and earthy. The dry leaf looks similar, though a little more smashed up. The smashed up quality could be from being smushed in my sample pile.
Colour wise, the Houijcha Dark Roast is a touch more brown with less glow to it.
I put the two teas together, but the camera could barely pick up the colour difference. You can see from the photos above there is quite a difference between the colour.
First Steeping: WHOA, very rich! Houijcha Dark Roast has a very robust, rich, earthy roasted flavor that reminds me of coffee. I guess we need a smokey meter – 5/10 on the Smokey-o-meter. It’s not like campire smokey or raw pu’er smokey, it’s roasty smokey, like the smell of roasting chestnuts. No bitterness or dryness.
Second Steeping: 10 second steeping! MMMmm, fantastic! Similar to the Houjicha Light Roast, it evened out in flavor – but this time very smooth, roasty, deep earthy and chocolate notes! This tea would be perfect with (or as) a dinner dessert! Out of all the Houjicha, this is the BEST steeping I’ve ever had.
Third Steeping: A big jump in flavor intensity to be a much lighter version of the second steeping. Not bad, but the second steeping is so incredible, so this one can’t compare. Kind of similar in flavor of Light Roast but more smokey.
Comments: I just drank.. 2 different Houjichas and a couple resteeps each. I should be climbing the walls, but thankfully there is less caffeine in Houjicha so I’m feeling good. Obubu Tea, your Houjicha is fantastic – lots of rich flavor!
This is a toughie: Which Houjicha roast I prefer?
Houjicha Light Roast is smooth, more sweet, easier to drink and light with further steepings having brothy green tea flavor note. I think this tea would appeal to many people as it is easy to drink. Houijcha Dark Roast is rich, earthy, chocolately and smokey of a tea, yet light and sweet. This would be a black tea or coffee lovers dream tea.
Hmmm, for everyday drinking, I’d go Light Roast, but for a treat, I’d go with Dark Roast. When I was drinking Houjicha Light Roast was impressed and thought it would be the better one, but Houijcha Dark Roast is fantastic too!
Yunomi.us has a tasty looking Houjicha Lattle Recipe that I think would be really good made with the Dark Roast! I think I’ll need to get some more dark roast and maybe try the Smokey Roast. Overall – check out Yunomi.us/Obubu Tea Houjicha! The prices are great and shipping is very reasonable despite coming from Japan!
Barny loves his Japanese teas!
(teas provided for review)