Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations
Roasted green tea, or Houjicha (ほうじ茶 sometimes 焙じ茶), is unlike any green tea you’ve tasted before. With a richly smokey flavor that is simultaneously light and sweet, houjicha has none of the bitterness of traditional green teas. And like decaf coffee, the roasting process removes the caffeine from the leaves making it the perfect after dinner / before bed drink.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is my third and final tea from the December “Steep for Japan” Steepster Select box … yes I am a little behind this month! It was the 12 Day countdown with 52Teas that did it to me! But at least I am indeed tasting and reviewing it in the month of December, right?
The idea of this box was to celebrate the teas from Japan, and I think that the varieties offered in the box showed three very different types of tea from one very small country – all unique and very delicious reflections of a country that endured some pretty rough times this past year.
I’ve tried a couple of different Houjicha teas from Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations, including the Organic Houjicha and their Houjicha Dark Roast. And I must say that even though they are all Houjicha, each possess their own unique qualities depending upon how they are grown and processed.
This Smoky Roast Houjicha is indeed smoky. The other Houjicha teas tend to have a smoky element to them due to the roasting process, but, here, the smoke is very well defined. It is evident in the aroma of the dry leaf and brewed liquor, and it is especially evident in the flavor. That being said, I wouldn’t call it overly smoky (this is no Lapsang Souchong). I like the level of smokiness to this Houjicha; it’s not too smoky for my palate, and I like that it does not overwhelm the other notes in the cup.
This tea is smooth and pleasantly sweet, reminding me a bit of caramel and I like the way the caramel-like notes meld with the smoky tones. A complimentary wood note fills in the background, providing a well-rounded flavor. It has very little astringency, and it is not bitter. Just a very enjoyable and relaxing cup!
As as it cools the flavors remain pleasantly warm and agreeable. The effect is something I’d liken to a soft, cozy blanket or fuzzy slippers; I get that kind of warm, comfortable sensation from this tea. Very nice, indeed!