I was buying some teapots off Den’s Tea and this Tencha Kuki Houjicha Green tea was impluse purchased. Out of all the green teas, I like houjicha – it’s got that roasty richer flavor I like, plus easy brewing. This Houjicha sounded quite different as it is roasted tencha stems. (Tencha is the tea material to make Matcha).
I haven’t ordered of Den’s Tea in years. They are a great SoCal Japanese tea seller, I’ve seen them a few times at local tea festivals and their teas sometimes at local stores when I was in California. If you are looking for Japanese teas, don’t want to wait for long shipping from Japan, be sure to check out Den’s Tea!
This is a pretty ugly tea of muted brown sticks with some thin bits of leaf. The scent is lightly roasty, like smelling toasted rice.
I steeped this tea with a 50z kyusu with 3 grams of tea. I did a water temperature of 205F (I was a little nervous using boiling, but that turned out to not matter) and steeped the tencha kuki houjicha for 2 minutes.
Tasting of Tencha Kuki Houjicha Green Tea
Tencha Kuki Houjicha sips in light, developing a lightly roasty, barley and caramel corn flavor. It is very clean and a squeaky dry texture, like chewing popcorn or noodle slurping through the teeth. After each sip there is little aftertaste, but I get a creamy lip feel. It is lighter in flavor than regular houjicha, but has a blend of corny and lots of sweetness. This is actually much sweeter than houjicha. As the tea cools, it gets even sweeter.
Second Infusion: I was supposed to steep it for 30 seconds, but it ended up being 2 minutes as I lost track of time. The flavor of the tench kuki Houjicha is even sweeter, and more corny less roasty. It’s lighter, but I think I could steep this aggressively as it’s not dry besides the squeaky texture. I could see this being great cold! not sure cold steeped.
I decided to play harder with the steep. I doubled the leaf to 6 grams, boiling water, and I used a stainless steel in-mug infuser instead of a kyusu. The taste is MASSIVE difference! It’s rich, moderately roasty and baked bread taste that reminds me of unsalted pretzels with a light sweetness at the end. The flavor is more or less all roasty. The texture is also kinda squeaky dry, but same level of dryness as before. That said, I would categorize this tencha kuki houjicha as bombproof tea thermos candidate, as it can take high temperature and high leaf ratio.
Den’s Tea Tencha Kuki Houjicha Green tea is a green tea for people who don’t like grassy greens, or want something light and sweet. This is also a very flexible steeper if you wanted something that can take some brewing abuse.
I see people asking all the time for a non bitter grassy green. Besides fixing steeping methods (often people overcook their green tea with boiling water), one should also explore houjicha territory. Houjicha has such a different profile and you can steep it without care.