Yay, received these today Chip. Thank you. It's a bit late so I decided to give the houjicha a whirl so I can get to sleep tonight. I'm a fan of houjicha in general, but this one is very nice. It seems a lot less roasted then what I normally drink, which is a nice change. The stems also appear to have a hint of green in them still. Smells nice dry, roasty as expected but also has a fresh, green smell.
Didn't fuss around too much with brewing, boiling water from kettle to cup, cup to kyusu, 1st steep about a min. Really smooth, only a touch of the roasted bite I expect from the first steep of this tea type. This is nice and toasty without tasting burnt. Behind the roast it almost smells a little floral. I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe the taste, kind of like roasted pine nuts and has a lingering flavor that reminds me of the way spent wuyi leaves smell, if that makes any sense at all.
2nd steep, slightly cooler water, just right into the kyusu without reheating kettle, shorter steeping, probably 30 sec., really nice, smoother sweeter and balance out more, again I taste the that spent rock tea
smell. Is that umami?? My chest feels warm.
3rd steep, about a min., similar to the 2nd but the taste is less upfront and I feel like I process it more as aftertaste. Still smells yummy in my cup.
I really like this tea. It's my favorite houjicha I've tried, but keep in mind I've only had 3 others. Based on that limited experience I'm giving it a 5 for this type of tea. I'm not sure what else you could ask for, it's yummy