|You can tell this is older, I am outside!|
As to be expected introducing the twiglets to some hot water mellowed their aroma out a bit. There is still a strong roasted aroma but it is now joined by notes of earthiness and malt. There is also a very tiny hint of caramelized sugar that sneaks in as an afterthought and following it is a touch of astringency. The stick-less liquid is much the same as the steeped leaves, milder with an added sweetness to the aroma.
Points to Upton for having one of the strongest hojicha I have yet tried! I should point out that the flavor that is so strong is a sweet roast with only a tiny tiny hint of smoke. There is also an underlying taste of pine needles that leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue. Imagine the distinctive taste of roasted marshmallows with only a quarter of the sweetness and a hint of pine needles and you have this tea. As the tea cools it takes on a slightly vegetal aftertaste similar to green beans. How does this compare to other hojicha? Well for one it is made from roasted twigs which seems to make it a touch sweeter and less vegetal than the typical roasted bancha leaves. I like it, I will keep it on my hojicha arsenal and certainly say it is among my favorites.