Ho… Ly… Schiznitbajesushotdiggitygollygoshdangdarndamnit!
New benchmark matcha. Gotta dock the Hibiki-an Pinnacle score as scale adjustment.
Brewed with 2g in about 25-30mL water just off a boil in my summer chawan to make a koicha that pours a bit slower than wall paint but faster than honey. Unreasonably delicious. Really. Consumables have no place tasting this good and offering such a rich and satisfying an aroma and flavor presenting a HUGE progression of flavor with such a wonderful balance of sweet, bitter, sour, and umami (saltiness is absent, otherwise all bases covered in taste). I have to call it intense in expression just ‘cuase it’s koicha but it’s very mellow. Intense like a rich but mild stew with egg and baked potato. No, this doesn’t taste like stew or potato (egg is very much present though far more obvious when prepared as usucha). Heavy stuff and in a very good way.
Dark Jadeite coloration makes other matcha look yellowish by comparison (Forest/Jungle Green compared to Kelly/Emerald Green). Deep color goes hand-in-hand with the heavy, rich fragrance of greenery and a touch of hothouse flowers in the dry fragrance.
Pushed through a sieve with the chashaku into the bowl.
Wetted it whisks easily and even forms a hint of a froth layer despite how thick it is. Doesn’t clump and flows well. Texture is thick and eggy and silky smooth.
All kinds of greenery characteristics come out in this ranging from Nori and Wakame Seaweeds to cucumbers to kale to steamed cauliflower and broccoli florets to edamame to heaped piles of moist freshly mown grass to celery to honeydew melon flesh and watermelon skin. Aroma feels like it leads the way into the mouth followed by the initial shock of flavor and then wave after wave of shifting masses of flavor encompassing the above and mixed with various florals that I honestly didn’t feel needed to be disseminated out from the bunch as any combination would not really mesh to give a good approximation of the impression. In general, take the smell of a warm spring day of all the smells across a field, evergreen forest ravine, and the fresh air off a seaside bluff and mix with the heady impression of a hothouse with flowers, large-foliage orchids and bromeliads, and Nepenthes and then mix with the fresh crisp smell of a cut flower shop and fresh produce stand. Then take this swirling, shifting mass and let it flow at you like a heavy ocean fog rolling over and up a hillside into you in waves of clearing then intensifying mists and breezes and vapor. Ever hike Point Reyes or Big Sur on a warm late spring – early summer day giving way to a cool evening as the fog reclaims the land? Marin Headlands north of San Francisco and the Carmel/Monterey area sort of get this too, but it’s the oceanside hills in the coniferous forest bands that really get this effect. But yeah – that. In your mouth. With added awesome levels of epicosity.
Now I need to go off and find a higher grade matcha to force my benchmark higher since I know there’s way better out there. I’ve heard good things about Way of Tea and I know a couple folks who teach Japanese Tea Ceremonies who I told I wasn’t into the full ceremony but if experiencing better tea than this is the reward than I think I can deal with some leg pain and cramping from sitting seiza.
I also took the remnant koicha, diluted it to about usucha strength and whisked for a pleasant but light matcha. Did a second round on the stronger side of usucha for a superb and more cucumber-kale focused matcha. This tea reeeeeally does best as thick tea, though.