Green tea has a permanent spot in the Japanese ice cream lineup, but Häagen-Dazs shows us there’s room for roasted hojicha too!

Some people have calendars where they list their upcoming social engagements. Here at SoraNews24, however, we have to keep track of upcoming ice cream events, and premium brand Häagen-Dazs occupied two slots this month.

First, there was the opening of Tokyo’s Häagen-Dazs Bakery, which happened last week. Then came this week’s joyous occasion: the launch of a new Japanese tea ice cream flavor, called hojicha latte.

What sets hojicha apart from other types of Japanese tea is that the leaves are roasted, which replaces some of the herbal flavor notes with toasted ones and imparts an appealing brown color to the beverage. So when we popped the lid off of our cup of hojicha latte (picked up at the convenience store for 294 yen [US$2.65]), the contents’ hue was less vibrant than that of the company’s standard green tea ice cream.

▼ Sadly, there was no heart, but happily, there was ice cream!

As the “latte” part of the name implies, plenty of milky cream goes into the making of this treat, which lends it a bit of a marbled appearance. That milk is also the first thing that hits your taste buds, delivering an elegantly rich and creamy, but not at all cloying, sweetness.

The tea notes come afterwards, gently spreading through the mouth like a sip of relaxing tea. Though hojicha isn’t a sweet beverage, Häagen-Dazs’ decision to use tea leaves taken at the earliest part of the harvesting season, called hatsutsumami in Japanese, keep the bitterness down, with the resulting mellow flavor able to harmoniously blend with the milkiness while still keeping an enticing hojicha aroma.

Like Häagen-Dazs’ sesame walnut mochi and kinako kuromitsu flavors, the hojicha latte ice cream will only be available for a limited time, so you’ll want to pick some up soon before we buy up the country’s entire supply for ourselves.

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Follow Casey on Twitter, where’s he’s loved hojicha ever since his host family taught him what it’s called.

[ Read in Japanese ]