What do you think of hojicha?


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What do you think of hojicha?

Postby gunbuster363 » Mar 24th, '14, 03:47

just tried once 2 days ago and I am not sure if it is suitable to drink in warm spring or summer.

Opened a bag of Ippodo's hojicha, brew it with 95 degree water and it taste rather blank with nothing but a woody and smoky smell.

As a 'brown' tea it does not compare to sheng Pu-Erh ( I know, hojicha is cheaper, but what if money is not a problem or you have your own stock of sheng Pu-Erh? )

Maybe it is okay in cold winter.

Could you describe the hojicha you are drinking?
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby CWarren » Mar 24th, '14, 04:19

gunbuster363 wrote:
Could you describe the hojicha you are drinking?


I just tried Adagio's hojicha earlier yesterday and though not mind blowing I found it enjoyable. Brewed it at about 190° for about 90 seconds in my 120 ml kyusu with about 4 grams of leaf give or take. Got several infusions out of it with more temp each time and a shorter infusion on the second more on the rest. I probably over extracted but I always tend to do so with all my teas getting as many cups as I can. A bit of smoke and a nice toasty nuttiness. Made me crave some pan fried brown rice. :)

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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby Pig Hog » Mar 24th, '14, 05:02

I know that they're not very well regarded around these parts (I've read the thread), but I get most of my tea from Yuuki-Cha -- I've never had any issues with them, so I see no reason to stop buying from them and I think that their teas are very good.

I've bought two different houjicha from them on a few occasions and found it to be very flavourful and enjoyable -- particularly the Miyazaki kukicha.

Perhaps, if it was your first time brewing it, you're yet to find the right amount of time or leaf/water ratio? I found that 2 minutes instead of 1.5 minutes on the first steep made a massive difference, otherwise it tasted bland and watery as you mentioned.
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby ethan » Mar 24th, '14, 09:57

I've had hojicha from 2 sources;
Floating Leaves Tea: I liked it. A good tea w/o any negatives.
Den's Tea: I liked it a bit more because besides the good "hojicha" unique flavors I sometimes got a good reminder of the green tea that had been roasted to make it.
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby MEversbergII » Mar 24th, '14, 11:12

Thanks ethan, I'd been considering Den's lately. Their greens are great, and I'd been curious about their other types.

I've only had Yamamotoyama's houjicha. Not great!

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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby rdl » Mar 24th, '14, 12:11

gunbuster363 wrote:just tried once 2 days ago and I am not sure if it is suitable to drink in warm spring or summer.

Try it chilled. In summer it is as refreshing as enjoyable when chilled. Also, give it a chance. It may take a while before the taste grows on you, as long as it is quality tea and brewed as you like it. The recommended temp is boiling, so I think 95 degrees is too low. And just a short time, 30 seconds at most. This is a bancha, not a sencha.
Best not to compare to Pu-er. I know Hibiki-an's karigane houjicha is a nice one to try.
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What do you think of hojicha?

Postby Pig Hog » Mar 24th, '14, 12:24

rdl wrote:
gunbuster363 wrote:just tried once 2 days ago and I am not sure if it is suitable to drink in warm spring or summer.

Try it chilled. In summer it is as refreshing as enjoyable when chilled. Also, give it a chance. It may take a while before the taste grows on you, as long as it is quality tea and brewed as you like it. The recommended temp is boiling, so I think 95 degrees is too low. And just a short time, 30 seconds at most. This is a bancha, not a sencha.
Best not to compare to Pu-er. I know Hibiki-an's karigane houjicha is a nice one to try.


Everywhere I've looked suggests 30 second steeping but, as I said, if I do it for that short a time, it never comes out well.

I am using water almost straight off the boil and plenty of leaf, so why would this be? An extra minute is a big difference after all...
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby chingwa » Mar 24th, '14, 14:06

yeah I have to agree it's pretty good chilled over ice in the summer.

And despite all instructions to the otherwise, I never brew houjicha at 95... I usually let it cool down to 70 before brewing, this keeps a bit of the burnt flavor away. Try it out, you may like it better, I'm not sure why all instructions always say boiling water.

Ant the last thing to try would be kuki-houjicha... amde with more of the stems and twigs rather than just straight roasted leaves. I found it has a slightly sweeter flavor... and usually less "dark" if youknowhatImeans.
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What do you think of hojicha?

Postby debunix » Mar 24th, '14, 15:02

I like it, brewed dilute to being out the sweetness and minimize the bitter/scorched flavor that can be there when too concentrated in we early infusions.
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby rdl » Mar 24th, '14, 15:06

Pig Hog wrote:
rdl wrote:
gunbuster363 wrote:just tried once 2 days ago and I am not sure if it is suitable to drink in warm spring or summer.
Everywhere I've looked suggests 30 second steeping but, as I said, if I do it for that short a time, it never comes out well.

I am using water almost straight off the boil and plenty of leaf, so why would this be? An extra minute is a big difference after all...

I may go beyond the 30 seconds but not 2 minutes so I cannot say why we are getting such different results. The kiragane or kuki-houjicha doesn't seem to need more time than 30-60 seconds with boiled water. After I get a full boil I do let it cool just a bit. Leaf houjicha as well gives me all the flavors I expect in 30-60 seconds. And remember, personal taste accounts for how we do things. I would suggest gunbuster363 try your suggestions too.
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby rdl » Mar 24th, '14, 15:11

chingwa wrote:yeah I have to agree it's pretty good chilled over ice in the summer.

And despite all instructions to the otherwise, I never brew houjicha at 95... I usually let it cool down to 70 before brewing, this keeps a bit of the burnt flavor away. Try it out, you may like it better, I'm not sure why all instructions always say boiling water.

Ant the last thing to try would be kuki-houjicha... amde with more of the stems and twigs rather than just straight roasted leaves. I found it has a slightly sweeter flavor... and usually less "dark" if youknowhatImeans.

I agree on the kuki-houjicha, I had the hibiki-an selection as my first (karigane) kuki-houjicha and thought it great. I will try your 70 degree brewing but I thought that closer to boiling is best for the leaves and twigs that make up bancha, which need that hotter water to bring out the flavors. That's pretty much the temp you'll see on bancha instructions. But it never hurts to experiment.
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What do you think of hojicha?

Postby Pig Hog » Mar 24th, '14, 16:09

rdl wrote:
Pig Hog wrote:
rdl wrote:
gunbuster363 wrote:just tried once 2 days ago and I am not sure if it is suitable to drink in warm spring or summer.
Everywhere I've looked suggests 30 second steeping but, as I said, if I do it for that short a time, it never comes out well.

I am using water almost straight off the boil and plenty of leaf, so why would this be? An extra minute is a big difference after all...

I may go beyond the 30 seconds but not 2 minutes so I cannot say why we are getting such different results. The kiragane or kuki-houjicha doesn't seem to need more time than 30-60 seconds with boiled water. After I get a full boil I do let it cool just a bit. Leaf houjicha as well gives me all the flavors I expect in 30-60 seconds. And remember, personal taste accounts for how we do things. I would suggest gunbuster363 try your suggestions too.


Next time I buy some I'll have a bit of an experiment. I also agree with the lower temp though -- makes it sweeter and smoother, at least for the first steep, especially with kukicha
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby JRS22 » Mar 24th, '14, 17:32

I'm a big fan of karigane and kukicha teas - especially the Asa-giri and Otsuusan that I get from O-Cha. So out of curiosity I ordered the karigane sampler from Hibiki-an and I was very disappointed. The two "green" kariganes didn't have the rich distinctive personalities of the O-Cha ones, and the houjica karigane was nowhere near as good as the houjicas from Den's. I was inspired by this thread to try brewing it again and rather than a smoky or toasted flavor note it just tastes burnt.

If I didn't have so much tea in the house I'd order some houjica from Dens now, but its definitely on my to-do list when the 2014 teas come in. I would buy the tench-kuki and at least one other. They've been consistently good in the past.
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby greenteaguide » Apr 12th, '14, 23:47

I also love Den's tea, but I've never tried their Houji-cha. I usually buy my Houji-cha in Japan. Steeping time may depend on the quality. I brew mine with hot water for a very short time (30 seconds or less), and it always tastes lightly roasted and slightly sweet. I agree, it's very refreshing over ice in the summer!
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Re: What do you think of hojicha?

Postby Odrahcyr » Apr 13th, '14, 02:06

I really enjoy drinking hojicha. For brewing I use either boiling water with a steeping time of 1-1.5 minutes or 85-90 degress with a steeping time of 1.5-2 minutes. I usually use 3-4g/100ml.
Especially those with many stems are my favorite ones.
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