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!
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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.
Done with this for now, of course I am tempted to run right out and buy more right away but perhaps I should focus on drinking the green teas I already have? Oh the bane of practicality…
Chinese green tea is nice but…
Japanese green tea is truly the finest in the world in my opinion. Le sigh. I love this so much! Delicious, clean, spinach-y, slightly buttery. It’s so good. I hope I can get more in the same shop in Japantown where I found this.
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.
i’m having some this morning and it’s still yummy. yes the gyokuru is better but this is still excellent.
I am quite enamored with this stuff, it is putting all my other tea to shame. sad. ;-)
drinking this again this morning since I needed an energy boost. I measured my water temp at around 135 F and thought this was too low but it is bringing out some nice subtleties of the flavor I did not notice before.
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.