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 $13.72 CDN, very decent cost for much a tea.
It had a creamy thick foam sweet, Very smooth lingering taste. I did find a slight sweet lemon taste behind it all, quite a pleasant surprise. Very vivid green and a tea that held together very well.
This tea was very different as it had a low cost, great taste and was from Uji. After these four experiments, I feel that you can find something that has a great taste for a low cost. You just need to try different ones to find it. Over all I feel that this tea is my favourite out of the four we tried together, but I still will be looking for new ones to try. After all there are so many different teas in the world and so little time to experience them all.
Which matcha is your “go to” matcha and why?
Matcha whisks (Chasen) vary from school to school in some instances. I am going to focus in on Urasenke as I do not know much about the other schools. For this school they keep to the classic bamboo colour as seen in these pictures, but can you spot the difference between them?
First off the handle (jiku) thickness varies. I have small hands so I prefer the one with a smaller Jiku, but these are hard to find. The other difference is the thicker Jiku Chasen is made in China. You can get Japanese made ones but here in Toronto they are next to impossible to find, I have two Japanese ones and I still feel I need to stock up on more.
The second difference is the number of tines on the head (hosaki). The China made one has 100 and the Japanese made one has about 90-80, both perfect for Usucha (thin) tea.
The weight of them is different when using as well. While I can quickly whip up a bowl with the 100 hosaki whisk, with the other one I need a little more time and muscle power. This is something that I need to work on considering my preference in size and weight.
I feel for the spring I will gift myself a good chasen. Nara, the place for the best chasen, is a type I would love to have these range in price from 35-60$ depending on where you look, sometimes more. The best advice is to try things out but always keep on hand what you are used to.
What kind of whisk do you have?
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 ?
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