Popular Teas from Marukyu-KoyamaenSee All 15 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
I have been seriously struggling with anxiety these past few weeks. Not that this is anything new, but it seems to have gotten worse now that I am back from vacation. One nice thing is that my Dad got me a $40 gift certificate to Dragon Tea House which I have already spent, mostly on pu-erh samples and one batch of yellow tea.
Anyway I thought I’d drink some of this today and get a nice theanine boost. It is such a sweet and luscious green tea. I steeped it for 90 seconds and it seems very soothing at the moment. I’m so glad I have some of it around.
This kabusecha is seriously delicious. I had another one by this same company but ran out of it a while ago, decided it was time to go for it because I remember how good it was. I think that was just called Kabusecha and this is Kabusecha Takamodo. I’m not sure what the difference is between the two.
I steeped this in my Japanese teapot (Kyusu) for 2 minutes. It yields a light green infusion that is slightly thick, sweet and tastes of spinach and nuts with a slight marine flavor. There is not a lot of astringency that you can sometimes find in regular senchas. Kabusecha is shade grown but not to the same degree as gyokuro. One thing I really love about this is the sense of relaxed alertness that it brings, earlier Indigobloom mentioned the “theanine” buzz and this definitely has it. I feel there is something sublime and almost transcendental about this lovely brew. Definitely hard to go wrong with this grower, in my opinion. It also resteeps fairly well.
It looks like Camellia Sinensis also carries this tea if you want to buy it on-line:
This matcha was purchased at Asakichi in Japantown that carries these Maruku-Koyamaen teas. They carry over 10 different matchas from this same company, but at the moment they seemed to have mostly the cheaper grades.
This is described as an “entry” grade ceremonial matcha and it’s one of the least expensive they carry. Still, I was told this is a good one for everyday drinking and better than a food grade matcha. They told me it is one of their most popular. Since I don’t know what I am buying I figured I would just go for their suggestion.
When I got home I decided to whisk some of this up. It is definitely a vivid green, and has a smooth, mellow taste that isn’t bitter at all. Although it is definitely on the “seaweed” side of green tea, the taste seems very clean and fresh to me. Someday I will have to try the really expensive matchas to see if they blow my mind…. for now I am happy with this as it seems good quality and is easy enough to drink plain as an everyday sort of tea.
“Tsubo-kiri” tea, as far as I understand, refers to new tea that is placed carefully into storage immediately after harvest in the spring, then opened and sold to customers in the fall. Perhaps in English you would call this “aged sencha”? This is a limited edition tea sold only in October and November. I purchased this particular tea in the Isetan department store in Kyoto.
The dry tea leaves are dark, almost bluish green and rolled very tightly into a needle shape. This must be a lighter steamed sencha, as the leaves are fairly large. Aroma is mild.
Brewed at 165°F, the result is a very nicely-balanced, smooth, and mild sencha. The taste is initially sweet, followed by an earthy savoriness and a pleasant bit of astringency. Even with this low temperature, the tightly-rolled leaves fully open up and are quite pretty.
First: 3g tea, 5oz water @ 165°F, 1 minute 30 seconds
Second: 195°F, 15 seconds
Tsubokiri is a lovely sober seasonal matcha that is available in autumn time only. It has the beautiful green aroma, smooth and creamy texture that is known in Marukyu-Koyamaen matchas. What I love is this unique creaminess, it really is unlike other brands definitely. I also find that this brand takes a little more effort to whisk for foam, so usually 20 seconds for me.
For overall taste, I like the matcha flavor, the balanced green perfume, just nice and mellow. No bitterness in the after taste. Delicious floral and sweet. It does not strike at you but it is more easy going and aromatic.
Recommended as a daily matcha, it is very easy to couple with or without sweets. I do not mind to have this matcha several times in the day because of the very fresh aftertaste of delicate floral fragrance and sweetness that lingers in the mouth.
A nice hot cup of this matcha in the cold autumn is wonderful!
- High quality Matcha prepared traditionally thick or thin.
- Full-bodied mellow flavor.
- Elegantly fine powder, bright green.
- Recommend it to those who do not like bitterness or strong green taste.
- Recommended as a daily matcha.
- Balanced flavor with creamy texture.
Quantity of Matcha Powder: 1.5 heaping of tea ladle/chasaku
Quantity of Hot Water: 70ml
Temperature of Hot Water: 80°C
Time of whisking: 20 seconds
Please see my full review with photos:
Powder is harder and drier, like fine sand, because this matcha has been freezed-dried. Can pick it up with a normal teaspoon and it does not cling much to the spoon, normally the fine traditional matcha should be scooped with a bamboo spoon so it won’t stick so much.
Nice soft aroma, pleasant and little fragrant, great quality, but not strongly aromatic. I feel the taste is very light and bitter. And very little creaminess finish.Nice to enjoy in the hot weather and summer time. Easy to prepare. No need to sift. No need to boil water. The color is beautiful deep green.
I very very much enjoy the Suzukumo, it is however a tad bitter than my normal taste. In conclusion, I do prefer the traditional matcha powder more, for taste and texture. The upside to Suzukumo is that, it may be too hot to want to boil water and then go through the matcha steps to make cold or iced matcha, so this formula is very handy and saves time. I also enjoy preparing this matcha with my vacuum flask, I do not have to sift the matcha so I scoop the powder straight in the flask and then add cold water directly. Then I shake it vigorously, and that is it, I can get out of the house and enjoy my cold high quality matcha on the go and at picnics in the park! It will not lump!
Please check out my full review with photos:
Type of Shin Matcha, freshly harvested from the annual harvest in May.
Special point is the fragrant of the tea, it is an aroma so sweet and creamy, it is addicting to smell the aroma straight from the can. No joking. Irresistible.
The taste of sweet creaminess. No negative taste of bitterness, grass, or soap. It has a unique grassy kick of its own that reaches the nose. Shin matcha is strong, so it has a green earthly flavor. The foam is the best and most important part, the creamy foam so fluffy like a bubble bath. Have to make sure to finish all the foam off the cup when finished. Seriously. Be creative on how to do that.
Recommend it to those who do not like strong bitter after taste. Wait for it… The finish is sweet. It leaves a sweet taste in the mouth even after drinking it.
Sweet and delicious foam! Beautiful aroma!
Please check out my full review with photos:
The taste of summer outdoor nature. Deep and refreshing. The name 清滝 KIYOTAKI means “waterfall”. That is how refreshing. Not leaning to the sweet but rich, it does not mean thick. No taste of bitterness, grass, or soap. It is light because it is in the water but at the same time it has this creamy finish in the mouth. When the ice starts to dissolve and the matcha starts to chill, the taste will become just right.
I prepare the matcha traditionally with hot water around 70C and whisk into a foam for 15 sec, then add ice. Ideally, it is nice to let the ice chill in the glass you will drink from, and rest it in the fridge before preparing the matcha. Then transfer the hot prepared matcha onto the ice and chilled glass.
Delicious and refreshing, the more I drink it the more I fall in love with it… can’t get enough! The perfect ice cold summer matcha!
Please check out my full review with photos:
This is a seasonal Matcha from Uji, Outside of Kyoto (Japan). Seasonal teas are pretty popular in Japan to add excitement and anticipation throughout the years (and drive consumers to purchase tea during the hot summer months).
Uji based Marukyu-Koyamaen is a reputable tea manufacturer and produces unarguably some of the best tea in Japan. I received this tea as a gift from a good friend in Japan…any way, on to the tasting.
The tea is ground to a slightly finer consistency than traditional matcha. I actually thought this would produce clumping in the cold water as I’ve heard that finely ground teas produce more “Static Cling” than other teas and can cause the particles to stick together. I have not experienced that with this tea. I sifted about 3.5 grams of matcha into a bowl and slowly added cold filtered water. I made a slight paste and really noticed the aroma. Its quite savory…i would describe the aroma as heady…mowed grass, roasted nuts and slight savory twang.
Matcha made with cold water produces foam, but less than hot water. The tea was easy to whisk and after about 20 seconds, a slight foam was appeared on the surface. The color is amazing: a deep thick forest green. The tea is very velvety…it has a distinct “cream” note. The aroma is slightly muted (I think due to the cold water) but it has a fresh and grassy taste. This matcha had little astringency (perhaps also due to the cold water?) and is definitely refreshing! Drinking cold matcha, which has a creaminess and a certain weight on your tongue, seems so similar to milk.
If you can find this tea…go for it!
Appearance: needle like leaves that are dark green and matte with specks of neon green (stems).
Dry Leaf aroma: fruity, nori, cut grass, hay
6 grams of tea, 4oz water at 170, brewed in a kyusu.
1st steep: 45 second, 2nd steep: 15 seconds, 3rd steep: 30 seconds
First steep: deep green liquor. Very sweet and a bit soupy ( 6 grams is on the high side). There was very little astringency. Dominate notes were sweet grass, hay, subtle wild flower, ) and a fruity sweetness.
Second steep: more of a golden hue in the liquor. Still plenty of flavor. A bit more of a drying minerality come through on this one, kind of like sucking on a pebble! yum…
The floral notes were definitely stronger on round 2 as well. I could also taste the firing of the tea more in the second steep…comes through as an aftertaste that is reminiscent of hot metal…sounds strange, but its in there!
Third steep: Still great color and aroma, but sweetness and mouthfeel are gone.
Overall a nice and easy drinking sencha that is still complex. Has the nice Uji taste and aroma (wildflower) and as I said, is not too over powering. Great tea to get you into drinking senchas.
If you have tasted matcha before and didn’t like it because it was too bitter… Or liked it as long as it was accompanied with something very sweet… Well, this matcha will change your whole perspective. It’s so so sweet, very creamy and with a touch of “grassyness”. It’s a whole experience!
I have a tendency to, whenever trying a new type of tea, I always go for the cheapest version available and if I like it, I then go for the pricier stuff. My first matcha was from a local Chinese tea store in LA’s Chinatown. Then I tried several of those small tins offered in the local Japanese markets. All of them were too bitter for my taste when prepared traditionally and once I even got what I think it was a caffeine overdose. Seeing that this powdered offering of tea made me dizzy sometimes, and even when it did not, it still wasn’t enjoyable to drink, I strictly relegated my matchas for morning lattes and smoothies. This also made me lose interest in trying pricier matchas for a while… that is until I went to San Francisco.
I bought this at the same store where I found the Kabusecha Takamado I recently wrote about. The store specializes on the Japanese tea ceremony, selling many tea bowls, tea whisks, scoops, and of course tea. While at the store, the Japanese man (I’m guessing he’s Japanese, after all I was in Japantown) told me about their new shipment of matcha. Recently haversted and just arrived in two types, gold and silver. May being Shincha season, I was interested in trying a fresh new matcha. Specially a high quality one where I did not have to pay additional shipping thus raising the cost. So I went ahead and got the gold one.
This is my first time writing about a matcha so I’ll change the format a little bit.
Very fresh sweet aroma as soon as you open the little can. The powder is super bright neon green, unlike any other matcha I’ve ever had (regular store bought versions look dull in comparison to this one).
two scoops, 3 oz water, 180F and thoroughly whisked. Ususcha (thin) style.
>Taste and Color
Foam was very bright green. I was very impressed with the taste, NO bitterness at all! Only sweetness with a thick creamy body. It has a very subtle grassy hint, but mostly it’s creamy sweetness.
Another eye opener. My matcha interest has certainly been brought back by this one. I might order some more of the high quality ones offered by Den’s, Yuuki-cha, and O-cha in the future to try them out. I just wish I could go back to the store and get more… ah San Fran, why are you so far?
Ah it has been almost a month since I last logged in a note, mostly due to a busy schedule and a recent trip. Been drinking tea heavily though just not writing about it. Anyways, so this past memorial weekend I decided to travel to San Francisco to visit the many tea shops and explore the Chinatown in hopes of finding another good yixing pot for my collection (sadly that part of the trip was a failure).
I remember seeing Amy Oh’s note on a certain Kabusecha that intrigued me. I searched the website in hopes of ordering some online but couldn’t find any info on how to order some, if you even can. So I asked her how she was able to get some and told me she got it from a San Francisco Japantown store. I explored Japantown and found this small shop that specialized in Japanese tea ceremony products and there they were, several cans and bags of Marukyu-Koyamaen tea. The shop had two different Kabusechas and I think I got the pricier one of the two (I don’t even remember the price as I lost the receipt). The tea comes in a very nice tin (I uploaded the picture of the one I got).
I made a separate page for this tea since the other one does not say which Kabusecha it is. I translated the Hiragana and Kanji in my can using several websites, alongside Marukyu-Koyamaen’s site trying to figure out exactly which kabusecha I got.
Anyways let’s get on with the note.
>Dry Leaf Appearance/Aroma
Medium sized needles with a deep green color, nicely shaped with a little twist to them, some broken but mostly unharmed. Aroma is faint but has a sweet grassy smell.
Used a small kyusu, water at 175F and 1 min steep time for the first infusion. Second infusion used the same temp, but shorter steep time (30 secs).
First cup had a bright green yellow cup, second cup remained the same but slightly cloudier.
First cup. Wow! it has a mellow aroma that is sweet and smells… creamy? The taste, slightly grassy and vegetal, with a very creamy finish and hints of vanilla. Subtly sweet, no astringency or bitterness. I was completely surprised by the taste, unlike any other green tea I’ve had. The flavor profile really reminds me of those green tea flavored kit kats sold in Japanese markets. So creamy with a green vanilla sweetness.
Second cup had a much fainter aroma, taste profile remained the same, still very good but definitely a loss of texture and flavor. Didn’t bother brewing a third cup but I’m certain it can take another brew.
>Wet Leaf Appearance
Very very green, a vivid green, with some unbroken fully opened leaves ( a rare sight with most Japanese greens). Other than that, mostly the typical Japanese green tea look.
Wow what an experience. I have to admit this is my first time trying a Kabusecha (my only other experience has been with a Shiraore Kabusecha, one that included several stems which was still very good but nothing like this one). I never really payed much attention to Kabusecha since not many vendors here in the states sell them, and I always had this idea that it wouldn’t taste that much different from Sencha or Gyokuro, but this one is in a league of its own. One of the best green tea I’ve had and definitely a must try.
I checked my tin of this and the expiration date is 4.30.12 so I brought it into the office where I could focus on drinking it all day. This is not a hardship! Beautifully vivid green, slightly sweet and nicely vegetal. I feel so healthy when I drink this & need to finish off my japanese green teas so I can justify buying more … yum!!!
I actually forgot I had this until I found it in the refrigerator a couple days ago. It is still good but I decided I wanted to cold brew it as an experiment. I think I liked it better hot, when it was cold it reminded me a bit too much of spinach juice. I found some freeze dried blueberries last night at Whole Foods (“Just Blueberries”) and I threw those into the cold brew last night. This morning my green tea is slightly purple and has a very light blueberry flavor. Might have to repeat that experiment again with a less vegetal tea like a white tea.
Right on the heels of my cheap-o experiment comes one that is not so cheap…
I was recommended to try this tea by the shop person in Japantown who assured me that the green tea I’ve been buying at the grocery store is complete crap. :) I’ve had a few senchas but never a kabuse-cha. I did not get the chance to try this out before I bought it (silly me, it was $22 for 90g).
This is probably the most greenish, young and fresh green tea I have ever tried. The leaves are emerald. I really think I will eat this leaf after I am done drinking it… Supposedly this is halfway between a sencha and a gyokuru.
I used about 1 tsp of leaf and steeped at 160 F for 2 minutes in about 6 oz of water (yes, I used a thermometer to double check temp). I drank this out of a glass mug and it brewed up to a nice Chartreuse color (it is neon green, I am not joking).
Second steep – 30 seconds with a slight loss of flavor. Third steep, getting kind of weak. Will probably get 3 steeps out of it.
This is a very mild, very vegetal and soft tea, very much more sweet than bitter. The aroma is a lot like spinach. This is 18,000 times better than the cheap stuff I was drinking. So sadly (for my wallet) the salesperson was right, my brain is practically vibrating now. I will definitely be saving the rest of it for a time when I need a mental boost. This tea is shade grown for two weeks prior to harvest which is supposed to increase the theanine content.
I actually had this for awhile in my cupboard.
The tiny can just stood there in my fridge looking pretty
…I lacked the courage to try it.
But today is the day!
Took me forever to whisk the pouder out, F-O-R-E-V-E-R, but the end result is pretty. Fresh cloudy green. Aroma: The pouder before steeping/whisking is very…seaweedy.
But the first sip revealed a sweet tea with a little seaweed note at the end.
JOY! The seaweed I can work on… Maybe work with the amount of matcha.
This is my fave Sencha right now.
The infused leaf has a great fresh, plant & seaweedy aroma. The tea itself tastes slightly bitter (but in a nice way), robust and a combo of vegetable & roasted nori. It’s delicious!
I only steep once and brew at around 73°C/163°F for 1 minute. You may notice that I don’t tend to infuse my teas for very long.