Matcha: Taste is Everything 3

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?

Matcha: Taste is Everything 2

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman

  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. 

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi, Katherine Bellman

    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. 

Markyu Koymaen Matcha- Aoarashi,Chawan by Kingkoh.  Katherine Bellman

 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
tea, higashi. 
   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 ?

Matcha: Taste is Everything 1

 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. 

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 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

Review: Camillia Sinensis- Da Hong Pao, Gyokuro and Sencha

Camillia Sinensis is a company that is based out of Quebec. I originally discovered them online and knew my partner was visiting there in the coming days. This was back in 2009, when I got the tea from her upon her arrival  I was blown away. Back to current day, I have been loyally looking at their website. Continuously making shopping carts then changing them over many days.  There are so many teas to choose from that I can never decide what to buy. 

This seems to be the case for any online or store front tea purveyor. To assist their buyers and also familiarize myself with their teas more I approached them with a proposal to try out a few teas and write about them. Win-win situation. So here we are now, はじめましょう!(Let’s start!).

The three teas I received were: Gyokuro Hokuren, Da Hong Pao and Sencha Kaori Hokuren. 

Gyokuro Hokuren

     Their website describes that this tea is from the Shizouka region of Japan, on the top three regions with in the country. As we can see the leaves have a beautiful needle shape and a vibrant dark forest green hue to them.

      The wet leaf smelt of sweet beans or peas, it reminded me of my grandfathers vegetable garden. Very nostalgic scent.
   The actual tea had a typical green colour. It smelt and tasted like string beans (why am I thinking of beans? ), cut grass and broccoli. It was very smooth in the mouth and had a lingering dark chocolate taste once it was finished.
     This is very much my type of tea as I originally began with Japanese teas years ago. I am already intrigued to find out how the Sencha is.

Sencha Kaori Hokuren

    This is another tea from the Shizuoka region of Japan, we can tell now the the similarity in the names from the previous tea. The leaves are styled in a similar manner to Gyokuro and as we can see have a similar colour to them as well.

Typically sencha has a fuller taste in comparison to a Gyokuro. This was the case with this one but it was accompanied with a nice hint of  mango. It was very smooth in the mouth and did not disappoint me.  I will point out it still had the vegetable notes to it but I was taken back by the mango. It made the evening very interesting.

Da Hong Pao

         This tea has been a favorite for quite sometime now, that may be due in part to the history behind it. The leaves are from the Wu Yi Mountains in Fijian, and have a classic dark colour to them. A sweet woody smell comes off of them before I begin to brew.
   I decided to enjoy the pre-infusion, the smell of the wet leaves has a a light smokiness from processing.  The leaves at this point have a nice “hookers green” colour, I am still not sure why I could not get away from this description but it is a paint colour.  The actual brew has a lovely amber hue to it in the white cups.
     Upon tasting it it warms the body up, the taste of …mango’s in the background?  I am still confused why this was the taste I identified. The second infusion the taste changes to biscuity- freshly baked bread.  Very lovely.    This tea always surprises me, I once tasted cooked sugar. Which was a nice perspective of this fine tea.

To finish I want to thank Camillia Sinensis for sending me these teas to try. I truly enjoyed the chance to try more of their teas and to see the other side of there adventures through the leaves. I hope that we can continue this friendship through tea.
                      Thank you again!

Do Matcha: How to make matcha

 
 A while back I was asked if I would like to do a review for DoMatcha. I quickly accepted and did not expect to receive not only a full can of matcha but a whisk and holder.
     I tried the tea a few times casually to take notes on the tea itself. Then finally  I sat down to do a final tasting(what you see here).
    I was impressed but the amount of froth that appeared on the surface of the liquor, it seemed almost thick. For a few moments I wondered if I had made Koicha( Thick tea) and not Usucha (Thin tea) by mistake, but I was proved wrong when I tasted it.

For this tea I used my special chawan from the AGO, purchased last year when they had Jackson Polluck and other Modern artist’s work on show. I used the new chasen from DoMatcha and the holder for this set up.
        The tea itself has a very nice bright green hue and finely ground, there was no need to sift it. The tea itself was smooth. It had a cooked bean scent and tasted vaguely like brusel sprouts and finished with a dark chocolate taste on the tongue. It had a medium body for the amount of matcha used. Very pleasant. This has become my morning tea since its arrival.

    After looking at Do Matcha’s page I found the following information:

 Certified organic by JONA (Japan Organic and
Natural Foods Association), this premium, organic ceremonial Matcha is
the purest and most sustainable way to enjoy the ancient Matcha
tradition. Our DoMatcha Ceremonial Organic Matcha is produced in the Uji
Region, in Kyoto, Japan where matcha originated over 800 years ago.
(Makes about 25 servings.) $33.99 USD

How to Make Matcha

 ** Refer to images as reference
1. Warm up bowl and matcha whisk (chasen) with warm water. This cleans them and preps the whisk for use.

2. Place 2-3 scoops (chashaku) into the bowl (chawan)

3.Add in about 3-4 oz of 80 degree celcius water

4. Whisk quickly at the writs in a “W” or  “M” figure with whisk till frothy

5. Enjoy!

I am glad that I got to try this organic matcha. I try to keep a few different grades on hand (small quantities of course for freshness) so that I can change depending on my mood. This matcha is perfect for everyday Chanoyu practice. It has the right balance I look for in a matcha for this purpose.
     I look forward to possibly trying other matcha’s from DOMatcha. I want to thank DOMatcha and Tiffany Picard for this opportunity to do this review.

For more posts on Matcha check out our Matcha Tea page Here! Enjoy~!