I learned about Hojicha and Kukicha a long time ago, but they never really seemed interesting to me so I never bothered trying either of them. Hojicha and Kukicha are the stems of the tea plants used to make Japanese green tea. In my still-new-to-tea-and-didn’t-know-any-better mind, that made them not real tea and not worth drinking. Boy, was I wrong!
Hojicha is roasted stems and Kukicha is the unroasted stems, which technically makes them both a green tea. But because it is stems and not leaves, there is almost zero caffeine in it. This tea is known to taste similar to coffee but without caffeine. I have seen several people post on social media and blogs about stem teas and it made me want to try it. You can read one of those here.
The tea was from Harney and Sons in a sample pack. I had a hard time finding brewing parameters for this tea online so I kind of winged it. I used 2 grams of leaf and 200F water for 30 seconds plus 10. If you have better suggestion, I am all ears.
So how does it taste? A lot like caramel coffee, actually. The first flavor I noted was caramel, but more of a toasted caramel. Then the coffee comes through, but it’s not overpowering like actual coffee. There is a bit of sweetness on the end to round it out nicely. I really enjoyed it and I am kicking myself for writing it off so long ago and not trying it sooner. I’ve also recently learned that the stems add sweetness to tea, so don’t fall for the idea that it has to be leaf only and stems means it is lower quality.
I infused it a total of three times. I wanted to try it iced for the third one, but that didn’t really work out at all. You can see it’s in a different cup. I just started pouring it straight into my glass and got stems all over it. I was out of clean glasses so I had to use one of my daughters’ plastic cups. The brew was also way too weak for ice and tasted watered down. Live and learn. The good news is I still have some left and this tea is also quite cheap!
Just how cheap is it? Just $5 for a 2oz. (56 grams) tin. If you use my parameters, which I am not convinced are the best, that’s 28 sessions in a tin, which comes to $.18 per session. 3 cups per session makes it $.06 per cup. That is dirt cheap and a good price for this tea.
This is a good tea and I think it would be a great choice to give to coffee drinkers who might think they don’t like tea. It’s also a great choice for teaheads, of course! I hope you will try it if you haven’t. Cheers!