It took my whole workday yesterday, but I finished writing up my tea presentation for National Library Week next Thursday! Phew…

Felt in the mood for some houjicha this morning, so I decided to make a cup of this Amber Roast sampler by Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms that I got from Yunomi. It’s the first houjicha I’ve tried that’s made from a sencha rather than bancha, and I’m actually saving the rest of my sampler to sipdown when I see my bestie next month on vacation, since houjicha is his favorite kind of tea, and he’s never tried this kind of houjicha either. I could certainly tell a difference in the flavor, and I’m curious if he’ll be able to tell, as well!

The tea steeps up a bright amber color and has the woody, roasted nuts aroma common of houjicha. The flavor of the tea has a lovely roasted, malty flavor, with some slightly sweet notes that remind me of honeyed oats mid-sip, but the finish closes with a slightly astringent, smoky, savory seaweed aftertaste that I’ve never had from a houjicha before. I’ve never tried the Sencha of the Summer Sun this houjicha was produced from, but it’s obvious this particular note is left lingering through from the base leaves, and makes this houjicha very unique. This particular vegetal aftertaste fades a bit on subsequent steeps, leaving it tasting a bit more like a more standard (though still delicious) houjicha, but that first steep remains a truly unique houjicha experience and I’d highly recommend it to fans of houjicha and sencha alike!

Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Malt, Oats, Roasted, Seaweed, Smoke, Toasty, Umami, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Lexie Aleah

Sounds amazing!

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Lexie Aleah

Sounds amazing!

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Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Bergamot (in moderation)

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Hemp/CBD teas
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.


My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/xjt9ptx3 . I am open to tea trades (within the United States only!) at this time. Note that I will not trade teas that I currently have in a quantity less than 50g (samplers, 1oz packages, etc.) or any teas that are currently still sealed/unopened in my cupboard.

Contact Info:

Feel free to send me a Steepster PM, or alternatively, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.


Idaho, United States



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