My intention from the beginning was to purchase the Japanese organic Twig Tea, Kui-cha. Unfortunately, the House of Tea were completely sold out of Kui-cha, so I settled for the Houji-cha tea recommended by their manager. As expected, the Houjicha is earthy and nutty, but not quite as woody or sweet as one would expect of the twig tea.
Houjicha (also called hojicha) is a light and mellow roasted green tea variation that is often produced from the later season harvest of the sun-grown Japanese bancha. When harvested from early season sencha, Houjicha tends to contain more stems and twigs. I believe our selection (purchased August 2017) is from bancha, although House of Tea is light on description.
Sometimes compared to coffee, roasted hojicha are often made using a spinning drum roasting method that is commonplace in the roasting of many coffee types in Japan. The roasting process actually reduces the caffeine content of the tea leaves, making Houjicha a low caffeine and less astringent green tea option.
How I brewed it: I used 8 grams of tea per 6 ounces of water between 175°-185°F for 1 minute. Longer infusion time will result in a nuttier taste, while shorter infusions will result in a fresher and lighter taste.
Note: I buy my tea leaves from House of Tea at their store in Queen Village, Philadelphia, but they do seem to have an online store as well.