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Rachel J said

What should be my first matcha?

OK, I don’t consider myself much of a green tea enthusiast. I think my palate may not be sophisticated enough to appreciate the nuances in green tea. So far, my preferred teas are highly oxidized oolongs and black teas. BUT, I never tried matcha before. Which one should I try to get a basic idea of what it’s like without spending too too much?

29 Replies
ashmanra said

Perhaps try a black matcha first? Did you want a flavored or plain matcha?

Rachel J said

I’d like to try plain matcha. Yes, I thought about black matcha, but I think I’d rather try the more “authentic” green one first!

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Grace said

You might not like Green Matcha too much if you don’t like green teas. If you want to try it see if you can get a small sample next time you order teas. If you buy a whole jar and find out you dislike it that would be a pity

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Might not be the answer you’re looking for, but if you’ve never had matcha before and just want to know what it tastes like, go to Starbucks and order a green tea latte. It’s actually real matcha. I’ve watched them make it. And this article seems to agree with me.
http://mandination.hubpages.com/hub/Starbucks-Drink-Guide-Tea-Lattes

Not saying it’s the best tasting matcha ever, but for your purposes, it might do. And I know it’s made with milk or soy instead of just water, but it seems to me that a lot of people don’t like matcha until they try it as a latte. So if you like the latte, go ahead and buy some of your own powder. Then you can try it plain with just water. And if you don’t like it, at least you can make lattes. Everyone wins!

P.S. I often forget myself and order a “matcha latte” from Starbucks and the baristas are completely confused. Make sure to call it a “green tea latte.” haha

Chizakura said

Eh, while it is “real” matcha, it’s actually more sugar than green tea. (even if you order it without the classic syrup.) The first ingredient of the actual powder isn’t green tea, it’s sugar. Dx;
But yeah, I suppose it’s alright for a STARTER matcha, since the sugar could help one get used to the taste before going for more pure stuff.

But still, it scares me. As an employee I get drinks free during my shift, but the first matcha I tried was something I ordered online instead of Starbucks’. xD;

Seems strange that they didn’t understand what you meant by matcha though, ‘cause at work we do refer to it as matcha and trust me, nearly all of my co-workers don’t know a single thing about tea. Someone will order an orange pekoe and they’ll be served with Orange Blossom. hits head into wall For anyone who doesn’t know, Orange Blossom is not only a GREEN tea, but it tastes like vitamin C meds. Totally not like orange pekoe at all. Even they know what the matcha is called.

Anyway we not only refer to it as matcha, but on the till when people want to add matcha to a different drink, we have a button “matcha” and when we put a date sticker on the container, we have to write “matcha” and on top of that, the package even says matcha. ._.; Maybe those people were new or something? Or maybe they’re one of those people who pretend to not know what you’re talking about if you give the “wrong name” to a beverage. Unfortunately that sort of attitude is getting more common. :(

Cavocorax said

That’s a good point – thanks! I haven’t run into a lot of retailers in Canada selling cheap matcha so I didn’t want to dump $20 and find out I don’t like it, but I could easily get a Starbucks latte to get a feel for it.

Chizakura said

No problem. :) I know what you mean, I don’t know many physical stores with matcha either. (Canadian here :D) Except for some places like Booster Juice where they offer it as an add-on to a smoothie. Though I would like to try a matcha from the tea shop near me… I wonder if theirs is any good.

Chizakura, that was insightful! Thanks. Now I know why my latte is always sweet even though I ask for no sugar. I figured they just always forgot. :)
Also, I thought a few employees seriously were confused and politely asked me to repeat my order. One guy though, he sorta just raised an eyebrow at me until I realized he didn’t “know” what matcha was. I guess he might have been pretending.
Anyways, Starbucks is definitely not my favorite place for matcha, but when you need a hit on the go, it’s the only place you can be sure to find it.

Chizakura said

That’s so strange. xD; Maybe it’s different in the states or something (assuming you’re in the US) and they just refer to it as ‘green tea’ or something. Or they were good actors, one or the other. Either way, it’s weird. Ah well, as long as you get your drink in the end, that’s what matters really. ;)

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ashmanra said

For plain, I would get a good grade but not go for the $85 a tin stuff. Maybe the mid-grade of Red Leaf Plain, or DōMatcha. Do you have a Whole Foods Market nearby that sells DōMatcha?
I really liked Nuvola Tea plain matcha, but one other reviewer had a completely different experience from me. I have some on order and would be glad to send to you a sample of it when it finally gets here, but shipping from China and Taiwan are slow. (Hence that expression about “slow boat from China.” Or is it “to China?” Whatever, it should be slow boat FROM China. I am rambling because I had a lot of matcha earlier.)

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for a newbie, i would not recommend using heated water as matchas tend to be bitter. the more expensive/higher quality ones should not (but price is not a measure of quality, sadly)

of course it will not froth when you shake it but you get the initial taste at least. and if you like it, then you can invest in a matcha whisk and better matcha that you can use warm water with. i hear the real taste of matcha comes out only in warm frothed up with a whisk water :)

i would not know how that tastes tho coz im a matcha newbie myself ^^’

shaken in a water bottle with normal temp water, i liked the taste of David’s Matcha Matsu and an organic mint matcha from a different shop – both from swaps. Teavana’s ceremonial grade matcha is also okay.

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Rachel J said

Thank you all! I do have Whole Foods and David’s here. David’s is just a few blocks, so maybe I can go pick up a sample there first.

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I’m just starting out in the matcha world too. What’s the preferred method for making the flavored ones? I just ordered a few of the red leaf flavored ones and am not sure what to do with them when they get here, but they sound good!

Milk? Water? Cold? Hot?

Chizakura said

Well one thing that’ll help is that Red Leaf happily adds a small brochure teaching you a few different ways to prepare their matcha. Their recommended best way from Red Leaf (for the flavored anyway, not sure about unflavored) is as an iced latte, then a hot latte, and then traditional. Might be a good idea to try to the traditional way first then try out the others though. :)

(these recs are from Red Leaf mind you. I’m still learning how to make matcha, so I don’t have a favorite yet.)

Perfect. Thanks! I can’t wait to try them. The idea of flavored matcha sounds a bit strange to me as I’ve only had the unflavored ones and they are so vegetal, but everyone gives them such rave reviews that I had to try them!

Emily M said

I’d try a bit of everything, as we all prefer different methods. Some like theirs cold or in a smoothie/shake. Some like theirs hot, and some like it warm. Play around with it a little to see what you like best.
Just make sure you sift the matcha and whisk it really well (a matcha whisk, small metal kitchen whisk, or sometimes even a fork will do). Some people even just shake it in a water bottle to mix it up.
There are a few threads around here with some good info/ideas. Just search “matcha” and you should find a few of them. =)

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Just had another thought. I know Teavana and David’s Teas both make tea to go. You can try from them instead of Starbucks as they can make it even not as a latte. And the matcha is no doubt better.

Definitely try a cup before buying a tin though! Matcha is an expensive tea.

Meg said

This is exactly what I did – just bought a cup of their Matcha Matsu (their cheapest one I think) to try. At that point I liked it (It reminded me of freshly mown grass, but in a good way that isn’t gross to taste) but I didn’t love it. Now that I’ve tried a few different kinds, I can say that it is one of my favourite drinks.

I like the flavoured matcha too, but while it satisfies a dessert craving, I don’t find it does anything for me when I just want matcha. I hope that makes sense. I’ve seen a few people swapping the flavoured matcha on the swaps thread – keep your eyes open!

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Uniquity said

I don’t like green tea (and tend toward the roasty oolongs and blacks myself!). I don’t like matcha either, but I tried unflavoured from Davids first (you can buy any quantity, so you could pick up 10 g and try it out a ciouple times). I also bought a couple flavoured from Red Leaf but with the exception of caramel did not care for them. With matcha, I would suggest you don’t push yourself. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. Maybe try again in a few months but make sure you don’t have tonnes on hand because it is a huge waste if it isn’t to your taste. I also recommend NOT getting the tools unless you love it. I hope you do love it though!

Rachel J said

Thank you!

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Lala said

Matcha, like almost all other teas, is quite versatile. There are several different ways to prepare it. There are several kinds of matcha, and within each of those kinds, there are varying qualities.

I think like mentioned above, it is best to try it by buying a drink at a tea/coffee shop, or by getting a sample.

Even if you don’t like it the first time you try it, doesn’t mean you don’t like matcha, you just might not like the way it was prepared or the kind you tried.

I think there are enough people on steepster that love matcha, so if you do by some and don’t like it/want to get rid of it, you can always swap it away.

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