Tonight was a crash course of Matcha Making 101.

I was able to get a gift certificate to Red Leaf Tea, and placed my order Friday. Their shipping was amazingly fast, because I checked the tracking number today to find it out for delivery. This was both very good, because it’s new tea (and when is that ever not good?) but also bad because I hadn’t actually looked into preparing matcha and here I was, the proud owner of 4 1 oz. packages of it.

I didn’t let that stop me.

I Macgyver-ed up system to approximate the matcha chasen, whisk, and bowl. Basically, I used my strainer from David’s Tea as a sifter, sifted the matcha into a stainless steel milk frother, and poured a small amount of hot water over. It frothed up, and then I added some more hot water into the frother before pouring that into a small square bowl that I drank it out of.

But going back to the matcha itself:

The powder was sort of an olive green, maybe a shade or so brighter. I went with the distinctive flavoring level for this one, which is one below delicate of their flavoring options. The scent was very lime/lemony more than anything else. I was kind of disappointed actually, because I was expecting a strong vanilla/custard note. But there was a tinge of creaminess in the scent, and I like lemon flavors, so I had high expectations.

I tried about 1/2 tsp. of the matcha with milk as the base first, and then water. The milk method resulted in a creamy, lemon tinged matcha with a grassy undertone from the green tea. I liked the flavor contrast from the creamier, sweet flavor to the slight bitterness of the matcha. I don’t know that I would have called it Bavarian cream, but I do know that I had two bowls of it because the first one made me want more.

The second bowl was made with just water, and after the milk option and all of its richness this rendition didn’t have much chance of winning the flavor contest. However, it did froth up nicely and the color of the liquor was a beautiful emerald green. I just spoiled my taste buds with the first option, and there’s no going back now. :)

So, do I like flavored matcha? Definitely. This is only the first of the four I bought from Red Leaf Tea, so that’s a good thing – I’m going to be swimming in this stuff for a while yet!

180 °F / 82 °C

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I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "


Medford, OR

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