Maeda-en

Recent Tasting Notes

80
drank HOUJI-CHA Tea Bags by Maeda-en
2309 tasting notes

I have some loose leaf houijcha at work but I wanted some today at home, so I picked up this little package of 10 teabags in Japantown. This is a mesh teabag which is a little bit better than the paper ones. This houijcha is made from roasted sencha.

The instructions on the package say to steep for 30 – 60 seconds, but that seemed a bit light so I ended up going for 90 seconds in the end. The aroma is delightful and flavor is pretty good. It has a very caramel, burnt sugar flavor but I’m detecting a tiny bit of vegetal bitterness in the finish. The other houjicha I have is a loose leaf from Den’s Tea that’s made out of roasted bancha. I have to say I prefer the Den’s version because it is sweeter and more aromatic (and it’s loose leaf, which makes a difference as well). But this is still a nice everyday tea, and good for the evening because there’s less caffeine. I need to try cold brewing it sometime! Yummy!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Alphakitty

I really love Den’s Houjicha! And as a flavor it seems to be getting pretty popular, my local Japanese mart actually has houjicha flavored soft-serve.

ScottTeaMan

HOORAY HOUJICHA!! :))

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68

A nice dependable genmaicha, not my favorite that honor goes to genmaicha with some matcha thrown in, but still very dependable. It isn’t the gold genmaicha so I would like to try that as well, I’m sure it has some fancy sencha or something. I first had this tea in one of my favorite sushi places and I still want sushi with it every time I make it at home.

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90

Appearance: dark (almost forest) green broken leaves with some golden yellow pieces. I really like the color of a shincha – it just seems like green tea is supposed to be this green. Liquor: mossy green. The liquor is more green than a lot of Japanese greens – hooray for the freshness (April 2012 harvest). Like most sencha there is some sedimentation, so a good strainer is recommended. Smell: very vegetal, with creamy high notes. Having lived in Japan, the smell of sencha is powerfully nostalgic. Taste: again, very vegetal, like spinach almost, but it’s sweet, creamy, and has nice nutty (chestnut) undertones. The aftertaste is grassy but only mildly astringent. I like the grassiness of a Japanese green, and this is a great example. Overall I’m really happy I was in Japantown recently to see this one. 9/10.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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The aroma of the dry leaf is very grassy, like freshly-cut grass. The flavour is… awwww I screwed this one up too :( It’s sharp and astringent, definitely on the grassy side. I obviously used a bit too much leaf or infused a touch too long (probably the former, I used 1.5tsp instead of the recommended 1). It’s not terrible, but clearly could be better. Guess we’ll see what infusion two brings, although it looks like I won’t get to that tonight, and my experience with fresh greens is that they don’t do well the next day… so it might be a second freshly-brewed first infusion that I rate, now that I think about it.

Thanks for the sample, LiberTEAs!

ETA: Second infusion (170F/1:30, the following evening) is nothing too special. I don’t know if it’s lingering flavours in my mouth, or the fact that the tea sat for a day, but it’s not great. I will definitely have to give this a good second attempt later.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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100

I’m new to loose leaf green teas, and have been trying different Chinese varieties. Picked this Japanese green up at lunch, just brewed my first pot. It is so much more complex and interesting than other greens I have tried. I can taste the “green” of the tea, it is well-balanced, and has a sweet caramel finish. To me, it is to other teas I have had, what a fresh micro-brewed ale is to a can of Budweiser.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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91
drank Shiki Matcha Powder by Maeda-en
1 tasting notes

having been drinking green tea for years leaf and tea bag I find Shiki Matcha powder by Maeda-en a very great tea in the morning [2 scoops-75ml water 80c and ashot of lime juice about 20ml ] also contacted Maeda-en in Japan to find a supplier in Glasgow as its hard to get here,give it a go , you wont regrete it

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Shiki Matcha Powder by Maeda-en
807 tasting notes

I have tried to make matcha I want to be able to make matcha – I watched videos, I read steepster reviews, I am seeing conflicting information and so I went for it and did 1/4 c water 2 scoops matcha powder that didnt work was too dark and murky and tasted odd. ( I have had matcha a few times so have a little bit of an idea what it should taste like ). Then I tried less matcha more water … no go. I just don’t know what I am doing wrong and which video or review to believe on how to make it. No rating – not the matcha’s fault. I also tried two different brands this and one from enjoyingtea.com

Kittenna

Hmm, I guess I’ve only made (and tried) matcha lattes, but I use about 1 tsp per cup. Perhaps you should try making it into a latte? I can’t say I’ve tried it straight (and perhaps won’t).

And I’m wondering if the two scoops + 1/4c water was to initially get it dissolved without being chunky, and then you add quite a bit more water, as that sounds ridiculously strong to me!

LiberTEAS

What tools do you use to make the Matcha?

Azzrian

I have the scoop (don’t know the formal name for it) and the wisk (again I fail to know such words yet) its a small travel CHASEN that’s it :) (proud of myself here) …
I even have a proper bowl – not that I think this matters any.

LiberTEAS

OK. Do you sift the matcha? Here is what I do, I’ll try to take you step by step, but, bear in mind that I’ve been doing it so long that I eyeball it and know what’s going to work … and it usually does.

I use the Chashaku (bamboo scoop. Long handle, looks a bit like a hockey stick made out of bamboo) to scoop out the matcha. I usually use 3 – 4 scoops of this, and I scoop it directly into my sieve. I use a simple sieve that I purchased at the grocery store in the utensil aisle (for about 2 bucks), it’s basically a tiny hand strainer. I use the back of my scoop to push the Matcha through the mesh of the strainer, and sift the matcha through the strainer directly into the chawan (matcha bowl, although any bowl will do)

Then I carefully pour the hot water (I usually use 160 degree F water) over the matcha… just a small amount, and use the chasen (bamboo whisk) to whisk the matcha into a paste. Then I gradually add more water as I’m whisking until I’ve achieved the right consistency. Then I give it a really good whisking until its well incorporated and frothy.

Please feel free to PM me if you still have problems or questions, I’m happy to help you if I can. :)

Azzrian

Thank you – I did use the sifter – mesh strainer thing but I did not add the water little by little – maybe that is my issue! Thank you I will try this as I did everything else in your suggestions well I also didn’t use as much matcha how much water do you use with the four scoops? I will pm you this as well in case you don’t see this and thank you!

Azzrian

Tommy and Krystaleyn thank you – I will watch that vid Tommy. I agree Krystaleyn I thought it was too much to but LiberTeas is saying more matcha – but I PMd her to ask about how much water per 4 scoops.

LiberTEAS

Try about 3/4 cup of water for four scoops. Start with a smaller portion of that, about 1/8 of a cup to make your paste, and then gradually add the rest to make a total of 3/4 cup. After you’ve whisked vigorously and its all incorporated, taste it and see what you think… you can always add a little more water if it is too thick.

Kittenna

Now I wonder how much a scoop is! That sounds incredibly strong to me :)

Azzrian

Thank you LiberTEAS I do appreciate all the help and will give it another go this evening. Krystaleyn – they are not expensive – Den’s tea still has the mini travel chasen with scoop for 5 bucks if you plan to order from them anytime soon.
You may not notice there is a small scoop there in the picture but there is – its hidden inside the scoop and it has a prong in the middle so you can expand its size sorry can’t explain at all but it is a normal sized scoop.

Azzrian

Oh wait or do you mean how MUCH matcha to scoop up? Yeah that is a good question as well – I just watch the videos and eye ball it according to how they do it but every one is eyeballing it lol

LiberTEAS

A scoop is about the size of an average almond.

Azzrian

Ah indeed I did read that somewhere – thanks for the reminder!

Kittenna

Hmmm, that would make a scoop closer to half a teaspoon?

Azzrian

LOL I am going to say yes … just because it sounds good :) I have no idea though I will try making the scoop the size of an almond then put it in a half teaspoon and let you know :)

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78

This is a solid green-tea that is readily available at your local Japanese super market (assuming you have a local Japanese Supermarket-fortunately I do). I haven’t really ventured out into online buying for my Japanese greenteas as I like to support my local Japanese stores, but I am thinking about trying what the internet has to offer pretty soon.

Having said that, I’ve drank sen-cha and houji-cha almost exclusively for my whole entire life, given the fact that I am half-Japanese. The stuff that we usually get gets shipped straight from Japan and is some pretty good stuff- nothing pretentious- just good clean straightforward high quality green tea.

Mae-dan provides a close substitute for when we run out of the HQ (high-quality) stuff. It has pretty clean taste, with what I can identify as a somewhat “frothy” taste to it. This usually signifies a high theanine content, which is supposedly what relaxes you to counteract the caffeine jitters you may encounter when drinking coffee.

This is a green tea I would recommend if you want to make green-tea a normal staple of your tea diet. It’s not gonna blow your sock off, but its solid, and its made with pretty good quality at a reasonable price.

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71

Great tasting Gyokuro easily available in any Japanese market. The tea comes in a sealed 3oz foil bag. Sadly there is no way to re seal the bag so a tin or resealable foil bag is needed to preserve this.

When opening the small bag, you’re instantly hit with a very nice sweet grassy aroma, very fresh and very pleasant. As to be expected from a prepackaged tea, the dry leaf is made of small flat needles with lots of dust and broken pieces. The color of the dry leaf is stunning, with a rich vibrant green color.

I brewed this tea in a Japanese Kyusu according to Maeda-En’s instructions of 140-160F water and 2-3 min steep time.

This gave me a bright vivid green cup with a very sweet aroma and steamed veggie undertones. The tea was very sweet and grassy, with nutty hints, and a very subtle astringent finish. I re-brewed this tea with slightly hotter water and gave me a stronger flavored cup with a more astringent finish and a much more vivid green cup.

Overall this is a great green tea for those looking to taste the difference between sencha and gyokuro. While obviously not the best quality, it is a great everyday gyokuro as it is not very expensive ($18-$20 according to Maeda’s website but many Japanese markets sell this for a much cheaper price. I was able to get this tea for about $13) and great for those new to gyokuro (as you know, gyokuro is very special in the way it likes to be brewed). This was one of the first gyokuros I ever had and ever since I opened the small foil pouch, saw the vivid color of the leaf and tasted the delicious sweet brew, Gyokuro instantly became one of my favorite green teas.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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57

Average all around tea, yet quite mute, bitter, astringent, and at times sour?Plenty of tea to go around yet there are many brands to choose from that has a far better quality.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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78

A soothing genmai-cha. Very mild green tea flavor, this is very nutty and popcorny and is sitting well with me on this foggy afternoon. I can’t say I’m thrilled or excited by it but does anyone get that feeling with genmai-cha? There is matcha powder in here along with sencha… It works for me. :)

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C
ScottTeaMan

What Feeling??….A thrilling feeling

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67

Sometimes I wonder if Maeda-en is like the Lipton of tea in Japan?

In any case this is a good basic tea for me which I have been drinking for years, I get it in Japantown and the price does not break the bank. I like the toasty, nutty flavor here which goes nicely sometimes as a breakfast drink when I want something mild.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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83

I received this sample a while ago (about a year ago?) … had it stashed away and forgotten until going through my stash last night.

This is a pretty decent Gyokuro – certainly impressive for a bagged tea. Light and clean, very fresh tasting – especially noteworthy since I’ve held on to this for a year.

Kashyap

I can believe that a gyokuro would ever be put in a bag…I’m sure some poor tea farmer must had commited seppuku…..

LiberTEAS

It probably shouldn’t have been… that being said, it was still very good.

Kashyap

well maybe the poor Japanese farmer had somebody to second him then :)

seule771

I have been feeling guilty for not tasting tea samplers right away. I can’t seem to keep up since I tend to run back to my usual brew after a few new ones. Nice one year held. I am a beginner, no way near having something for a year as yet.

My day has been given to Oolonging the brew.

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53

The first time I tried this tea more than two years ago, I despised it! I couldn’t stand it! My, how my taste buds have changed in that time.

My impression now is similar to Maeda-en’s other teas. It tastes more standard than premium to me.

Again the tea leaves are chopped too finely. The flavor is still good. It’s an authentic sencha. But I can’t taste any of the matcha notes in it. Overall, I’m underwhelmed.

If you’ve never tried green tea before, this is a good place to start. It’s a cheap way to discover if you’ll like other more robust green teas.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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80

This is more of a standard houjicha than a premium to my taste buds. The pro: pure houjicha with no added flavorings.

Yes, it comes in a pyramid shaped bag. But I’ve never been convinced that makes much of a difference. The tea leaves themselves were minced into such tiny pieces, it was like dust. That’s a turn off for me. I think more whole leaves would create a richer flavor in the brewed tea.

If you’ve never had houjicha before, then this is definitely one I would recommend. It’s subtle in flavor and aroma and won’t overwhelm you. It’s nothing like other green teas.

Because the green tea leaves are roasted in houjichas, they have a completely different color and flavor from senchas. So, if you’ve had sencha and despise it (like me), don’t give up on all green teas!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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100

i have not tried this specific bran but i think sobacha is excellent!

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71

Maeda-en Gold Genmai-cha has been a staple in my cupboard for most of my adult life, and is an all time favorite. I like it in the evening, when I am just winding down, and is one of my favorites to drink when eating light Asian foods. Veggie Sushi, brown rice and veggies or a simple mushroom soup go well with this tea. In fact, pouring this over a bowl of rice and veggies makes for one satisfying meal. Real comfort food.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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81

I found an interesting chocolate bar that scremed “matcha match!” the second I saw it: Rightously Raw’s Maqui Rose Truffle bar. Especially since it’s made with raspberry powder, rosehip powder, Himalayan pink salt, rose powder…Tons of tart red, basically, like Madegascan chocolate. Shiki is the natural match ( given what’s on hand).

Whoo! The chocolate was almost too tart, like a rosehip truffle. Though trying this matcha as koicha out of curiousity made it mellow with the grain and grassness.!
Maeda-en now has “Universal/usucha” and “Ceremony” grades but at a slight price difference which made me think there isn’t much of a difference. Since this came out as wheat sweet and fairly smooth, I think it’s safe to say the universal suffices.

Especially since it now has an amazing raw truffle bar to harmonize with. =)

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81

This still pairs great with Madegascan chocoate. Madécasse’s line especially.
Tastes the same in almond smoothies too.
I guess I’ll keep some around. No rating change.

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86

Having a cup of this after dinner. Lovely! Here’s my full-length review: http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=13568

Batrachoid

Do you jnow if they blend any of their new matchas into this genmaicha?

LiberTEAS

I really don’t know which Matcha they use for this. Sorry. :(

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81

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