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Recent Tasting Notes
Wow. This was my first gyokuro and I was blown away. Extremely delicate, so make sure you get the temperature correct. I brewed according to the instructions on the package from O-Cha (2 min @ 55-60 C). Light body, sweet taste and finish. Wonderful sweet grassy aroma. Very impressive.
Being pretty new to matcha, I ordered this (their middle-of-the-road version) and the ‘supreme’ version of it from O-Cha. I drank only the supreme until it was gone. I figured if I don’t know much about matcha, I’ll calibrate my tastebuds to what they consider their top category, then try out others to see if they’re missing anything. Oh, and this is. After spoiling myself with the delicately bittersweet deliciousness of the supreme, this was comparatively harsh, and missing the sweetness, leaving only the bitter. Maybe it’s one of those things where once I become a matcha junkie I don’t much care (you know, the way people who need their coffee will drink – and enjoy – Starbucks, but everyone else is better off with something more delicate), but for now, I’m going to go ahead with a monthly subscription to the supreme. Okay, the Starbucks comparison isn’t quite fair. I could still imagine myself drinking this one every day, but now I’m spoiled. If you’re only getting one, go for the supreme.
I like this tea for its price, JAS organic certification, strong flavors and aroma, and ease of brewing. I thought it would be fun to do a Google Maps search for the farm listed on the sealed packet, which is actually a small temple (Tokoji) in the mountains just north of Shimada. I used the street view function to get a feel of the quaint and charming origins of this tea. It made me appreciate it more.
When I opened the bag I was impressed by the strong scent of the dry leaves. The tea soup is lime green and the steeped leaves are fragrant. The first steep is sharp yet flowery, the third steep has notes of complex minerals and is well balanced, the forth and fifth steeps have a refreshing astringency and still leave a sweet aftertaste.
Flavors: Asparagus, Grass, Mineral, Ocean Breeze, Pine, Tannin
Only after my O-Cha matcha starter kit arrived and I started brewing did I realize…I think this may have been my first real cup of matcha! A bit of a revelation for a ‘genmaimatcha’ and matcha dessert junkie. If only it hadn’t been prepared by a rookie (who did read the O-Cha instructions and watched a youtube video – yay youtube). I have absolutely nothing to compare it to, but it was delicious. I can’t wait to start having a cup every morning. It just had so much of that bittersweetness I love. Even just opening the liner bag, the tea exploded with a sweet green scent.
It may be bad enough that I compare everything to Bigelow teas, but I’m going one better here. The only times I’ve tasted a really discernable matcha flavor like this one has been in one ice cream at a soba place in NYC and the Il Laboratorio gelato. I’d mostly given up on ever finding that flavor again whether at Starbucks or in that miserable Hagen Dazs version.
So in a field of one, this tea has set the bar for me and made me excited for future matcha adventures.
UPDATE: Usually, when I find a general kind of tea I like, I want to taste them all until I find a favorite. Not so with this one. I just want this tea every single day. Luckily, I already have the non ‘supreme’ version of this for later comparison, but when that’s gone, I think I just have to get a monthly subscription on this. So, so good.
My first matcha after my fiancee ordered a chawan, chasen, and chashaku for Christmas. I’ve had this about 3 times now, the first 2 times unsifted. The 3rd time I was able to work up a light but thick froth that made the experience quite enjoyable. I think this is an appropriate beginner’s matcha. The flavor profile is slightly sweet with an underlying earthiness you would expect from green tea. It is not overly complex and really helps to bring you into matcha.
A deep-steamed sencha, so a bit more robust than my usual drink, but this is very excellent. A wonderful aroma and flavor, slightly nutty. The deep steaming gives this sencha more body than my usual light-steamed, which is nice in the colder weater. No bitterness at the temperature I used.
My dad drinks his green tea (gyokuro) so strong we often joke it is like matcha. So this year for fathers day I thought I would cut to the chase and source him some real matcha. Which may or may not have just been a convenient way of scratching my own itching desire to try matcha myself and getting a fathers day gift out of the way at the same time (yes I have one of those ’hardest fathers in the world to buy presents for).
As a lover of green tea and Asian (especially Japanese) culture matcha and the tea ceremony has always held a special allure for me. So needless to say this was a step in my tea-drinking life I was excited to take.
I scoured the internet for a high quality, traditional, but not exorbitantly expensive matcha and O-Cha’s Organic Matcha Kaoru Supreme was what I found. I’m concerned about ingesting pesticides etc at the best of times, so for matcha, where you are actually eating the leaf, one of my fixed criteria was that it be organic. This was the tea I went for, and these are the tasting notes:
Aroma: Vegetal and very grassy. Slightly roasty undertones (like the toasted rice in an Gen Mai Cha). Not surprisingly, the nose is like a concentrated gyokuro or grassy sencha.
Palate: Wow. Like a fist full of green tea in the face. Loads of up-front green grassy flavour backed with an astringent bitter edge. Gives way to a well rounded toasty backbone but that lingering bitterness is ever present and stays with you long after your last sip. This is definitely not a taste for everyone! Of the four of us who sipped on this particular morning, the responses went something like this:
Dad: ‘Mmmm, bitter but great’
Me: ‘Wow – full on. I like it but would have to be in the mood for some serious tea action’
Mum: ‘Ooh no. I’d drink it for a tea ceremony, but not because I like it!’
Girlfriend: ‘Oh my. Yuk’
Overal: As a matcha virgin I don’t feel overly qualified to comment on the quality of this particular variety. However as for matcha itself it is certainly not for the faint hearted, but a pretty incredible tea drinking experience. I love the process (even without the full tea ceremony) of making this tea and I like that macha packs way more green tea goodness into one drink. In short, I think I’ll get myself some matcha, it wont be my every day drink, but I’ll look forward to the ceremony, the experience, and the extra caffeine on a weekend morning!
Being medium-steamed, it has a bit more robust of a green flavor than the lightly steamed senchas I normally have. A deeper green color as well, with bits of tea at the bottom of the cup to add a bit of punch to the last sip. This is currently my morning cup, a bit more robust to help with the cooler mornings.
I feel like it is very balanced: delicate, smooth, and gentle, yet this is where it definitely stands out from other matchas. It could be a beautiful daily matcha, if your wallet goes deep deep deep. Would not be a taste that you can get bored with, but more like simple and delicious that you would want to just drink again and again. I like that there is no after taste and the mouth always stay fresh. I want to also prepare this matcha as thick matcha, I am not a thick matcha person but this invites me try.
Manten matcha is perfect every time. Very worth it.
Please check out my full review with photos!
Adjusting up. I enjoy this tea with salty/greasy heavy foods. I don’t know why.
I have found that brewing for: pre steep 10 seconds, 1 min 1st brew, then 30 second brew, and 1 min 3rd brew works rather well. Very much sweet water after that, but still enjoyable. Had some of the last bits of fuka, what a striking difference between the two flavors. I think I prefer Fuka but this kab is slowly growing on me. And plus it’s nice to switch flavors every so often so you dont get bored. increasing rating.
I’ve found my daily sencha. I had been getting the Kagoshima Yutaka Midori from O-cha, which is excellent. When I found out that this is a variety of the same tea, but for less cost, I wanted to find out more.
The appearance of the leaves is definitely more broken. However the taste is sweeter and slight astringency than what I experienced with the Yutaka Midori. The only major difference is that it lacks a very slight depth and butteriness. The vegetal, sugar snap pea taste lingers. The third infusion is not so bad either.
For the price, I think this is an exceptional tea.
Still getting bitter-cucumber flavor, but now the first brew smells a shade bit like jasmine flowers.
It too a few pots of this tea to get used to it. I drank it to day after a chawan of Kiri no mori and noticed they tasted very similar, yet different. the sweet after taste of Kiri added some nice sweet complexity to the Kabusecha. Delicious.