Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

The search for the perfect iced Hoji-Cha

Okay -- I know a few people on my flist are far more experienced tea aficionadoes than I. Time to mine that expertise a bit.

My very favorite drink in recent years is the iced Hoji tea from Teas' Teas. This is a high-end brand that's sold at Whole Foods and the fancy section of Shaw's. They make green teas perfectly: smooth but intensely flavorful iced teas that would be sacreligious to sweeten, strong enough that I don't miss the calories at all. All of their varieties are good, but I prefer the smoky varieties: the Hoji and now-discontinued Genmai.

The problem, of course, is that the stuff is preposterously expensive ($1.50+ per bottle), and not exactly environmental with all those wasted plastic bottles. So I'd like to learn to make it myself. I've been doing some experiments with both Genmai and Hoji: the results aren't terrible, but they're not great, so I'm seeking advice.

The problem seems to be a sour edge that I'm getting rather strongly in my iced tea results. It's moderate in the Hoji, and strong in the Genmai. I suspect it may be the result of overbrewing, but I'm trying to get as much of the smokiness of the flavor as I can, since that's what I really love in both. (I love my tea very much the same way I do my scotch, with a lot of smoke in it.)

So that's the challenge: how does one extract maximum flavor in an iced tea, specifically for a smoky iced tea, without that sourness? I've only begun to experiment, and I'll be trying a number of things (including cold extraction), but if folks have any suggestions, I'm all ears...
Tags: tea

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