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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review: Obubu’s Houjicha (Roasted Green Tea)

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Part of

The Subject: Houjicha (Roasted Green Tea) from Obubu Tea.

This tea, like Obubu’s Kabuse Sencha, is pretty unusual for me and my humans. It steeps for only a half minute per infusion and can undergo several infusions before losing its feel, scent, and flavor.


Water temperature: 212° F
Steeping time: 30 seconds per infusion

Tea type: Japanese roasted green
Scents, flavorings, etc.: N/A
Aroma, dry: Nutty, planty, smoky (hardwood)
Aroma in the cup, plain: Nutty, planty, smoky (hardwood)
Taste, plain: Nutty, planty, smoky (hardwood)
Color, plain: Warm brown
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: N/A
Taste, enhanced: N/A

1st Infusion: Smoky, nutty, planty, aroma & taste strong
2nd Infusion: Smoky, nutty, planty, aroma & taste firm
3rd Infusion: Smoky, nutty, planty, aroma & taste weaker
4th Infusion: Aroma & taste a lot weaker
5th Infusion: Thin / watery taste – one infusion too many

This is a Japanese roasted green tea (“Sencha”) made from leaves of Camellia Sinensis (tea plants) that are roasted to give a unique flavor to this green tea. Not just smoky, the tea is also mild with no bitterness.

According to Obubu’s Website, the roasting process removes caffeine, making this the perfect evening tea. The site also states that the leaves are harvested in June from the Yabukita varietal of the tea plant.

Since we received these samples about a month ago (Feb. 2010), these tea leaves were not quite fresh. They had also not been shipped in a container (such as a sturdy cardboard box) that would protect them from being crushed during shipment. We kept all of this in mind when trying the teas, and did our best to give Obubu every consideration.

Once again, we stayed true to the principles of the Little Yellow Teapot, and steeped this tea in accordance to the company’s standard steeping method. The sample was only enough for one try, so we wanted to make the most of it. (Too bad, since they claim you can make a latte with it or use it in a broth.)

The Little Yellow Teapot was tempted once again to hand over the tea test to his buddy, Little Japanese Teapot, but thought he would be shirking his teapot duty. The experience turned out to be quite rewarding.

We stopped at 5 infusions of 6 oz. each from a tablespoon of tea leaves because the liquid was getting too weak in aroma and taste. Still a very good result compared with bagged green tea available in the store. Unlike the Kabuse Sencha, you can’t eat the leaves after steeping. They’re tough and bitter.

Hubby thinks this would be another great tea to have with seafood (cooked delicately, not breaded, fried, and greasy). We didn’t have a chance to try out this theory either, though, but if you do, send us a recipe or two.

Again, definitely not one we would have on a regular basis but still good enough to have once or twice a year. Our thanks to Obubu for this sample and the Kabuse Sencha. It’s always great to experiment with new teas.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.


  1. Have you tried many hojicha's? I like this style of tea very much, but until recently I haven't experimented all that much with trying different kinds. When I started doing so I was pleased with the diversity that's out there.

    I notice there's a huge difference in the level of roast...and some are smoky like this one you've described whereas others have no smokiness whatsoever (I'd describe them as more "toasty").

    I recall listing four separate hojicha's from Obubu Tea...which one was this? I'm inclined to guess the smoky one based on your description...

  2. Hi, Alex. They spell the name "Houjicha". The package did not specify which this was. You could contact them and ask.


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