This is the first houjicha tea I have tried, so I have no comparisons to draw with this review. I was pleasantly surprised by this low-caffeine dark roast for my introduction in to houjicha. The brew has a buttery smooth body, with a delightful, roasted sweet & nutty taste. (Alistair from What-Cha got the tasting notes for this tea quite spot on). This tea is now part of my everyday rotation for the evenings. It is a quick, tasty brew to unwind to and now is a staple tea for me. I would love to taste other variations of this tea sometime down the road when I exhaust my tea reserves.
I am a big fan of heavy-roasted oolongs and this houjicha reminded me of one of those, to an extent. I used to prefer more tart, fruity/astringent oolongs until I started trying more of the heavy roasted variety. I am also trying to get in to sheng & shou puerh tea, although it is intimidating given all the different “varieteas” involved with raw and ripe puerh.I steeped this tea western style following the instructions on the stickers: 185 degrees and a steep time of 60-90 seconds, usually starting with a minute and adding 30 seconds on each proceeding steep. This tea can be resteeped 2-3 times in total, although the body and smokiness leaves by steep #3, this can be fixed by of course by steeping for a bit longer.
Flavors: Caramel, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Sweet, Toasty