Review: American Tea Room Vanilla Hojicha

American Tea Room, Green Tea, Hojicha Tea, Vanilla Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"This held up with what it promised; simulating a campfire delight."
Geoff’s Teaview: 7.6/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 6.3/10, Katie gave it 6.9/10, Lynn gave it 8/10, Sophie gave it 8.3/10, Shaiha gave it 8.3/10, Laura gave it 8.25/10, Brad gave it 5/10, Raven gave it 8.6/10
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americanvanillahojichaI've only tried hojicha once. At the time, it was too much...uh...burning. This was, of course, before I developed a liking for smoked teas like Lapsang Souchong or charcoal-roasted oolongs. This seemed as good a time as any to revisit the old, smoky Japanese nemesis. Baby steps, though. A vanilla-flavored one was right up my alley. No secret here. I love vanilla.

On first impression, it looked like an herbal root infusion; similar to ginger or licorice, beige and woodsy. The aroma from the bag was a strong, invisible cloud of burnt vanilla. Like a s'more by way of an ice cream sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised that the offering seemed lighter than other charcoal-roasted varieties.

Brewing instructions per the American Tea Room site were fairly straight forward. While they didn't mention the teaspoon-age required, they did mention that this was infused best in 185F water for two minutes. I went with 1 tsp in 8oz, just enough to get an idea of what potential this had.

The liquor brewed to the brown-ish depth of a lighter black tea. Never fails to surprise me since officially it's a green tea. The blunt/burnt vanilla scent from the dry, root-like leaves carried over to the infusion. Taste-wise, it was light and reminded me briefly of kukicha twigs. It settled on the aftertaste into something a bit more roasty, but more mild than it's plain form type - from what I remember.

As I drank this, I had the windows open in my room, letting the evening sun bleed through amidst a cool breeze. This kept me internally warm as I sat to write my thoughts on it. Given its light caffeine, it makes for a decent evening green. Vanilla is a soothing, guilty pleasure flavor after a long, frustrating day. This had all the benefits and none of the guilt. Even though I would more than likely go for a white or an herbal at a day's zenith, this held up with what it promised; simulating a campfire delight.

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