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The Final Sipdown: Day 15.1
This sample came to me from Micah right when I was beginning to build up a real appreciation for kukicha. I was thinking that all kukicha was universally magnificent, and then I tried this sample.
That sounds like a dig. It’s not meant to be. Because in the same way that superheroes are really only as impressive as their enemies make them out to be, having a relatively mediocre tea can only make the good ones taste even better.
Not-so-great teas save me from taking the good teas for granted. One cannot even near-accurately label anything to be the peak of greatness without a decent spectrum of experience in the matter.
Looking at my prior rating on this tea, I find myself not wanting to adjust it. The drink is not…the best. It’s got this dull bitterness about it and lacks butteriness. Curious, I find myself going back to read my log and comparing this to the pith of an orange pretty much nails how this tea tastes to me.
The aftertaste is full of chlorophylly goodness, but it can’t save the tea. It has been said that the journey is more important than the destination, and while I only half agree with this, the journey that this tea travels to get to the finish does not boost, complement, or do anything to positively affect the aftertaste of the tea. Which is unfortunate.
And so, I bid adieu to Den’s kukicha sans regrets and look forward to future encounters with eager eyes.
Teas Downed: 25
I’ve been on a really big kukicha kick lately, so when I got some of this from Micah in a tea swap it was one of the ones I decided to try first.
First off, I want to say that I think that kukicha is really pretty. I think it’s something about all those linear strips of varied, yet tonally cohesive greens. It makes me want to pull the colors into a room with some warm medium wood tones and fresh cream fabrics. […Am I bleeding HGTV yet?]
This particular tea, while pretty, unfortunately couldn’t run with the refreshing aesthetic it inspires [at least in my head]. It wasn’t nearly as buttery as the kukicha I’ve been inhaling [Samovar’s] and while it had grassy and nutty tones to it, it was missing a lot of that sun-kissed sweetness that makes grassy teas enjoyable to me.
In a way, the taste almost reminded me of the pith of an orange, but without the citrus taste and residual tartness. It rested somewhere in limbo between bland and bitter, in a way that wasn’t completely off-putting, but also wasn’t enjoyable.
Fortunately, some sweetness eventually began to arrive on the aftertaste and grew in volume on my breath, but it wasn’t enough to make it good. I’m going to take the water temperature down into the 160’s on the next go round, maybe steep it a bit longer, and see if I can get this tea to bloom.
Double cup using premium sencha perameters- 1 TB tea/4oz water. As this is steeping it almost looks like a layered jello salad. The leaves are laying on the bottom of my ingenuity under the cloudy liquid which is topped by light green foam.
HOLY ASTRINGENCY! This definitely has pucker power. My tongue literally folds over on itself adding to the mouth feel that the matcha gives it. This would most definitely wake you up in the morning!
This came as the tea for their Lucky Gold Tea. The color is a lime green which is surprising because of the matcha. This is a sweeter version of mecha. The matcha gives it a lovely, thick mouth feel. The one thing I can’t figure out though, is if this is just premium sencha dusted w/ matcha why are the steeping parameters different from those of premium sencha? I’ve also never seen a tea that is suggested to be steeped for a shorter time for the 2nd infusion so that’ll be interesting…
This was the sole reason I ordered the unflavored matcha I was out of from Den’s Tea instead of trying one from another company. I love it when companies have weird/strange/unique product offerings! This is made w/ premium sencha extra green so see my review there.
See previous note for this tea
I didn’t mention this in the last note and wanted to add that this matcha is very smooth, among all of its other great qualities.
My first matcha ever was Teavana’s matcha… which is absolutely disgusting – unless you like drinking bland flavored water with the texture of sand. That experience almost turned me off to matcha completely until an awesome tea friend of mine opened my eyes to the realization that all of Teavana is the epitome of evil.
I have had a couple of different matcha’s since that tragedy, but none as smooth as this. There is no grainy texture to this matcha, even after getting pretty darn close to the bottom of the bowl. It feels like drinking tea and not like chewing on sandy seawater.
Delicious! With each sip I get a touch of sweetness on the tip of my tongue, then a few seconds later I can feel the slight tingling of bitterness on the back of my tongue and throat. The overall flavor is amazing – grassy, vegetal, frickin’ awesome. It is more mellow than I thought it would be… but maybe I screwed up the ratio of matcha to water. After I finished the bowl, my mouth is a little dry, though.
I had to correct the brewing instructions on here. 2 scoops at 16oz of water?! that’s almost 3x the suggested amount of water, even for a usucha. I seriously doubt that would make a pleasant matcha.
I typically do 2 scoops from my chashaku to 1/3rd cup(2.6oz/80ml) of 175F water. Den recommends only 1 scoop for that amount(Usucha is typically more water/less scoops, while koicha is more scoops/less water). Definitely use a sifter on this matcha, it tends to clump very easily, resulting in an over-powering grassy-bitterness when mixed with water if not sifted.
Likely due to my quantity of scoop, I find that it froths very easily (using a chasen, not a frother) – Not a bad thing, quite good if anything. The matcha “powder” colour is an almost vibrant green, suggesting minimal oxidation exposure (usually indicative of quality – the higher the oxidation (darker the shade of green), the lower the quality and more bitter. The more vibrant-neon green, is the less oxidized, and the higher the quality/taste). The sweet notes is minimal at best, but the bitterness is not high as some lower end bulk-matcha company stuff you get out there from tea-chains or supermarkets. I’ve had much better matcha(koicha), but the price more than makes up for its shortcomings, for your every-day drinker. Not ideally suited for desert-drinks. Den sells a separate “ingredient-grade” matcha for that, it’ll be easier on your wallet to buy that instead.
Oh my good golly gosh! This tea is fantastic. It is a lot sweeter than I thought it would be. The grassy/vegetal flavor just glides across my tongue. Absolutely no bitterness, but just a hint of astringency.
The color of this tea is a beautiful bright green. It makes me impatient for spring to arrive…
I think I am going to cheat on my buddy, Sencha, and hangout more with Gyokuro today.
Ugh… Wikipedia’s matcha page needs work. I wanted to make Koicha and it said 3 scoops or 3.75g… well 3.75g actually equals about 7 scoops! I had to add an extra 120ml of water just to choke it down… what a waste of matcha and now I feel like I’m gonna puke… can anyone help me make Koicha?
After 2 cantata performances I’m feeling quite out of it. I need matcha, but I don’t want anything too thick to coat my tongue since I’m having chai later. 2 scoops, 8oz water. Wow… after my matcha you’d think I would be more cohearant lol. It’s REALLY good like always though and that’s what matters, right?
Ummm… wow… holy crap! If anyone wants to talk at 2am, just gimme call- I’ll be awake!
I love matcha! I also strive to prepare my teas using athentic steeping parameters and teaware. I haven’t really done that w/ matcha though. And, I admit- it’s a money thing. Most of the time I only use one chashaku of matcha and use less or more water (3 or 8oz) depending on if I want it “thick” or “thin”… Well, I’m determined to at least try to transition to more authentic Usucha and Koicha.
I decided to start w/ Usucha (thin tea) prepared with approximately 1.75 grams (amounting to 1.5 heaping chashaku scoop, or about half a teaspoon i.e. level teaspoon) of matcha and approximately 75 ml (2.5 oz). This must be really light matcha cuz it ended up being a crap load of matcha… like 4 or 5 scoops. I can’t quite remember.
The result was a thick, slightly foamy, very dark liquid that is more bitter than most times I enjoy matcha but was the bitterness was balanced perfectly by the sweetness, vegetal notes, and astringency. Now, the question is- will I sleep tonite?
Matcha is as green as you can get for St. Patrick’s day so does it surprise anyone that I made some since I do every day anyway? And I love flavoring matcha so does it surprise anyone I made a matcha Irish Creme cappuccino? It shouldn’t… well, maybe just because I’m not the least bit Irish:)
6oz water, 3 level TB instant Irish Creme cappuccino mix, 2 scoops matcha.
The Irish Creme is definitely stronger than the matcha, but it’s still there. I would have put more matcha in, but I didn’t want to overload myself on caffeine lol. A perfect morning wake up for St. Patrick’s Day!
Yesterday was nuts! Bible study and church 9:30-11:30am, then lunch at grandma’s, organ dedication concert at 3, cantata practice 6-8. This was the only tea I had all day. But it’s my favorite so that’s ok:) After being out of the house 11 hrs (which means my shoes were on and I was in my chair all day- big contributors to my chronic pain), I was just too tired to make anything when I got home… not to mention I didn’t sleep well Saturday nite and was jipped out of an hr.