We are now on week four and the conclusion to our taste experiment. The Fourth in series of matcha tastings to see if taste, location and price equal up to a good quality tea. Kohei from Tales of Japanese Tea wrote matcha is not about price or origin , which made me want to do this little experiment. The previous three posts can be found here, here and here. It’s Christmas so let’s have some tea (by the way the Doctor Who Christmas Special is on~)!
This weeks tea is very unique. Maiko Tea was introduced to me during my Tea Sommelier classes earlier this year. Shortly after I was talking to Dr.Ralph Faerber who taught me many new things about matcha and Japanese Teas.
This matcha I bought is called “Kyo Mukashi”. The package depicts a Maiko on the box and tin with a double lid. Maiko Tea is located in Uji, Kyoto, Japan. The cost was about $13.72 CDN, very decent cost for much a tea.
It had a creamy thick foam sweet, Very smooth lingering taste. I did find a slight sweet lemon taste behind it all, quite a pleasant surprise. Very vivid green and a tea that held together very well.
This tea was very different as it had a low cost, great taste and was from Uji. After these four experiments, I feel that you can find something that has a great taste for a low cost. You just need to try different ones to find it. Over all I feel that this tea is my favourite out of the four we tried together, but I still will be looking for new ones to try. After all there are so many different teas in the world and so little time to experience them all.
Which matcha is your “go to” matcha and why?
If you just joined us today, we are exploring if there is a connection between taste, price and growing region for matcha. The first two parts can be found here ,and here. The series started after reading a post by Kohei over at Tales of Japanese teas in his post Matcha is not about price, or origin. We are on our third matcha for the month. This one is by Morihan they are located in Uji within Kyoto, Japan.
This tea is sold as a Tea Ceremony Practice quality, which is also good for baking. It has a good shade of green in the bag and a wonderful quantity of 100g. This one I purchased for $14 CDN , approximately, on e-bay. Very good price when you consider how much is in it.
Time to taste it! This one frothed very well and looked very smooth on the surface. It did not have the thickness that I look for in my matcha. Although, it did whisk very well and held together longer than matcha from Teavana.
When tasteing the tea it had a slight vegetable taste, that most call a “green tea” taste. Along side of it there were notes of dark chocolate that came through the creamy-milky texture of the whole tea.
Over all it was a great tea but I found a slight dryness that came after. This could be balanced perhaps with a sweet before drinking the tea, how it was originally meant to be enjoyed.
Next week is the last installment for this series. All matcha teas for this series were purchased by me and all opinions are my own. I highly suggest to try them out as we all taste things differently.
Happy Holidays everyone!
What qualities do you look for in your matcha?
As part of my matcha taste tests that I mentioned last week, we are on tea #2. I talked to my good friend KingKoh about different matcha and he brought up that hoarding matcha is not good. The reason for this is after it is open it starts to oxidize and loose its fullness. I try to keep this in mind when I am getting new matcha. With that right now I have three- four open right now and in room temperature. With that said I have been trying to drink them all up. Once they are done I have a closed can of Camillia Sinensis’ Matcha Sendo in the freezer waiting.
Just a note on keeping matcha a bit longer, put the tin in a zip lock bag or sealed tupperware to protect it from smells. With that said, on to this weeks tea.
Aoarashi from Ko no en (Marukyu Koymaen), the lowest ceremonial grade they have on their website. This tin is 40g of delicious matcha. I got this one from e-bay from a seller who lives within Toronto somewhere.
I will admit this tea I have been hoarding and it is not in
its best state. Even still I can not pass up this tea when given the chance.
The taste in the mouth and lingering after taste were
the similar , just a touch weaker. Notes of dark chocolate develop after tea has
been swallowed. The taste reminds me of the dry sweets that go with Japanese
As you can see it would not whisk properly. This is a good reason not to let matcha sit around for too long. Although unlike our previous tea from Teavana, this one held together very well. This means it mixed well but just could not create a froth.
Ko no En’s tea is from Uji, Kyoto. Ko no en is a distributor of Marukyu Koymaen tea here in Toronto. I am lead to believe that the e-bay seller may be part of Ko no En, but they do not say so.
With Kohei’s post in mind, I still prefer Uji matcha. The taste is far more complex in the mouth and lingers for a long time. This tea although is fairly cheep on e-bay, it goes for $16.00CDN. Going back to Kohei’s post price does not determine quality. This one has similar notes to Yugen from the same company but is much easier on my wallet. Let’s see what our next tea has to offer, join me next week for part three.
How do you store your matcha ?
In October I went over to Secret Teatime’s studio in Scarborough. I had signed up for their fall Chawan workshop and was eager to try my had my ceramics. We started with an overview of the history of tea ceremony up till present day and covered the shapes of a tea bowl. Helen treated us to seeing her perform
It was another great Saturday with Secret Teatime. Our group each made a chawan (tea bowl) the first day. Before we met the next Saturday, Helen and Sorlie glazed and fired the works. They were then presented to us during tea ceremony.
For the first section we had usucha (thin tea). It was very interesting to see the difference between Urasenke and Omotesenke, the latter being what Helen was using. The biggest for me is the “snapping” of the fukusa before folding. The whole style was beautiful and had little intentional sounds that were absent from Urasenke.
Back to our bowls, I was very pleased with how my chawan turned out with the glaze I choose. I depicted a buddhist flame on the shoumen (front of the bowl) and a fox inside it. I choose these two symbols as I find them together in images from shrines in Japan. Also, Inari’s symbol is a fox. To me these fit together and worked very well as a piece.
As Sado is a life long learning process and I have been enjoying practice with the new piece. I enjoyed my time at the studio and the company of Helen, and Sorlie.
If you were to make a chawan what would it look like? Would you use any imagery? There are so many possibilities out there, What would you do? -KAT
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What is your favorite tea? Mine is matcha, I first tried it in 2010 when I got a can of Kono-En Kirin Matcha from David’s Tea. They had a small amount which went fairly quickly. Now they have their own brand of Matcha.
In September Kohei over at Tales of Japanese Tea posted about how matcha is not about price or origin. Which you can check out by clicking the link in the previous sentence. After reading his post it made me think about how I was trained to think that Uji matcha is the best. After some thought I started to try a few differnt matcha’s. Once a week for the month of December I will be sharing my notes on various matchas I have encountered.
For my first subject, I will be tasting Teavana’s Matcha. This one is from Nishio, Aichi Prefecture, Japan tea. They carry two sizes, 40g and 80g. The latter is the size I have on hand.
After warming my winter tea bowl (Chawan), its time to whisk! This tea whisks well with a nice foamy froth.The colour is a beautiful vivid green that stands out well from the interior of the chawan.
Time to taste! The taste
makes my mouth salivate and moves the taste throughout my mouth. I am surprised to find that there is a
slight citrus fruit taste, that dissipates in to a light vegetal flavour. The
typical chocolate taste is barely there. the final lingering taste is sweet. it
reminds me of mandarin oranges.
Over all its a great tea. I found out that this tea was from Nishio, a few months after acquiring it. This initially prevented me from drinking it, but after Kohei’s post I am glad I gave it another chance. My only problem with this tea is that you need to remember to drink it quickly. The reason is this tea likes to separate on you. Other than that, this tea is actually really great for daily use or even Sado practice.
Have you tried this matcha before? Please feel free to comment below with your experience. I would love to hear from you~
Till next time- Kat