Review: Hakoniwado Yame Houjicha

Hakoniwado, Hojicha Tea, Japanese Tea Add comments
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The snack bar opens with its fresh roasted peanut bouquet piled on its earthy, rice crispies flavour, all packed in its light body. "
Raven’s Teaview: 7.4/10
Other Teaviews: Sophie gave it 6.5/10, MaryAnn gave it 7/10, Vanessa gave it 7/10
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Does the rain in Yame fall mainly on the plain? And with such fabulous sencha from Yame, could the houjicha be the same? Finding the right spot to source different types of teas often poses a quandary. Hakoniwado is a new discovery that is far from plain arising from their animated website with origami hints and games in addition to their selection of Japanese teas, all from Yame. While sencha and shincha raise plenty of excitement this time of year, houjicha also seems a lovely match to balmy summer nights and a great introduction to Hakoniwado.

Having had only a handful of houjicha before, the leaves of the tea are just mesmerizing and delightful. Almost an optical illusion in their uniformity and tawny brown as the texture of smooth cylinders plays with one’s perception. But the sensory trickery continues doling the tea out to brew as their aroma wafts up with nutty goodness. The bouquet is snack craving delight with a salty ripple to the warm roasty aromas that bring to mind salt and vinegar potato chips. While the snack bar also serves up a glosette bit of glazed sweetness with a bite of mulchy grassiness. Imminently palatable and pleasing, it’s entertaining during the steep.

To storm into a brew, Hakoniwado suggests dropping one and a half to two teaspoons of tea into boiling water for one and a half minutes. The clouds of the kettle clear for a tawny sky, inviting with a rich aroma, redolent of peanuts and toasted rice. With a touch of green earthiness to the roasty and nutty aromas, the bouquet has a freshly picked flair offset by an icing sugar dip. With an enticing fullness, the scent is a hardy forecast. The scent thunders through the flavour, imbuing the light body with a roasted peanut flavour, as if the nuts had been left out for awhile from a bit of hardness to the roasty-ness. With the light body and a quick finish, the tea is smooth but plays with you since it seems so unmatched from the hearty richness of the flavour. Regardless, its tasty nuttiness extends into a light aftertaste that seems a bit like almond butter from its smoothed nutty echo.

Such fair weather continues after a second infusion as the sun sets the cup with a chestnut orange radiating with a medium strong aroma, sweet and nutty. Similar to the first, the bouquet pours roasted peanuts with a streak of earthiness that’s a bit sharp but still dandy, misted by a vanilla infused sweetness. Unfortunately, the light body isn’t as nutty, with more of a roasted hay flavour with a hint of fishiness that isn’t marine but brings to mind fish oil and herring. Despite the light feel, the flavour is full, ending in a light to medium aftertaste of roasted seeds with the same bit of fishiness. It's not quite as endearing as the first cup but it is still pleasant. A third suede inspired cup also continues to have a light aroma with a greener mix of earthy grassiness, toasted puffed rice and vanilla. This extends into the light body that has a sustaining flavour of browned peanuts and rice crispies, despite the thin feel.

Closing the umbrella, Hakinowado’s Yame Houjicha rained many a cups, not one bit plain. While it’s fullness has enough cozy to take the slosh out of one’s galoshes, precipitated with it’s fresh, light, trickle of green, it’s also a potent whistle wetter, rain or shine.

— To purchase Hakoniwado Yame Houjicha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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