zaterdag 23 februari 2013

Hojo's Uji Hojicha Jubuzan

Hojicha... an exotic name for me with no previous experiences. I had no clue what to expect when opening the package, luckily it turned out to be a pleasant experience. Before I start with my taste notes, it might be interesting to have some background story. Hojo used his Uji Sencha jubuzan as the base of this tea which is sand-roasted afterwards - whatever that might be, any Japanese tea experts reading this and could provide info on this? It's grown organic and the stems aren't removed. The cultivar used is the traditional Zairai cultivar, descent of the firts teabush that was imported in Japan.
When first opening the package, I wasn't to keen on the smell. While I like the taste of nori, I have developed a degoût from smelling or tasting  it in tea. Anyways, I decided to give it a few days of rest so the penetrating seaweed smell would disappear.... and it did a little bit.
A wild foam appeared
While muttering a small prayer I brought the tea into the flaming hot gaiwan. 'Should I risk smelling it?' I was wondering to myself. Eventually I gathered the courage and surprisingly it wasn't too bad. The seaweed was still there but overpowered by a strong roasted sesam seed smell. I'm not sure if I did something wrong when brewing this tea because suddenly the surface was covered with white foam. After 40-60 seconds, I poured the tea into my cups to witness an intriguing colour. That's about the time when I took my first sip aaand.... WHAT IS THIS??? If somebody would blindfold me while tasting this tea, I would have given my compliments to the barista making this excellent, nutty, thick, mouth watering espresso. Yes, you read it: espresso.
The body was so thick and nutty with a deep aftertaste, anybody would have mistaken it for a good cup of coffee. I kind of hoped that later brews would behave the same but too bad they didn't. The 2nd and 3rd brew were lighter with fishy/seaweed notes and some slight fruity citrus components at the end. The tea is not that complex though succeeding in pleasing my taste buds by big, bold and sweet(in 2nd,3rd brew) flavours.

Wall of tea
You can clearly see the many stems as well the small pieces of leafs. I dare to guess that the stems are the cause of the nutty flavours.
It's a tea I probably won't buy again, not because it's a bad tea but it's flavour profile is not that interesting to me. I'm happy that I've tried it and I won't say refuse if somebody offered to share a cup with me.

To end this blog, I want to apologies for the late update. I went on a vacation to Poland, returned sick and I refuse to review teas when my body doesn't feel optimal, every tea has to get the same chance of proving itself.

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