When I first spotted Genmai Hojicha on the DAVIDsTEA website, it was under the Web Specials section. I was intrigued, but intrigued enough to buy a 250 gram bag of it? I consulted my tea loving friend and we decided to split the bag. I love hojicha and I love genmaicha, so how could a blend of the two be anything but amazing?
Hojicha is a roasted green tea that has a toasty, slightly sweet, lightly smoky flavor. Genmaicha is a green tea that has been mixed with roasted grains of rice, giving it almost a sesame or popcorn taste, also imparting that toasty profile to the final brew. There is no fruity, no flowery, no chocolatey taste to these teas. They’re no-nonsense, bold, savory teas. Upon opening the bag, it definitely smells how I expected. A subtle, roasted flavor, that green tea musk.
I wanted to love this tea. I wanted to crave this tea in the way I thirsted for genmaicha. I do like the tea, and I see myself drinking it, but I would probably pick something else over this one. The toasty, sesame seed-like taste overwhelms the delicacy of the underlying green tea base and it can sometimes have an almost astringent quality to it, depending on what I’m consuming it with. It is definitely not a tea that goes well with sweets or cookies.
This is a tea that I don’t think everyone will like, though I know others will love. I fall somewhere in-between. Hojicha and genmaicha are wonderful teas when separate, but I think I prefer them that way. That being said, this tea is delicious and I’m happy I purchased it, even if it’s not my favorite. Green teas are wonderful and good for you, and I can never have enough of them.
I brewed Genmai Hojicha at 175 degrees F for 4 minutes. The tea says to brew it at 183 for 4-5 minutes, but my water boiler doesn’t have that option, so 175 it was. As with any green tea I enjoy it with honey. I have yet to try it with cream or milk, but I imagine it would be quite tasty with some cream. It’s available from DAVIDsTea sometimes, but not at the time of this posting. However, if you would like to try it out, I’m giving away a free sample, so enter to win! If you don’t win, check out their genmaicha. It’s delicious!