Artisanal Matcha, Blends 100, 97, and 94

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Matcha Tea
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Average preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 oz / 118 ml

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  • “This tasting is for Breakaway Matcha Blend 97, which is at the higher-end of the Breakaway spectrum (Blend 100 is their most premium). 97 was my first experience making matcha at home. Since...” Read full tasting note
    mbrictson 10 tasting notes

From Breakaway Matcha

Blend 100 — If matcha were wine, this blend is a Romanée Conti – it is quite possibly the finest tea in the world. The first thing you notice is the creamy body and smooth mouthfeel that resembles a perfectly pulled espresso. The color is hallucinogenic bright green. It has sweet aromas redolent of fresh young grass, young bamboo, raw sugar, and chlorophyll. It has the ethereal vegetal notes of just-picked asparagus and sweet peas on the vine, balanced by earthier, umami-laden undertones of perfectly grilled mushrooms. Mid-palate shows “essence of fresh,” a real floral lift, and layers of meaty richness. The catechin-rich, subtly astringent treble notes on the finish bear remarkable similarity to a those of a great Burgundy. The finish is long; it keeps delivering these sweet flavors long after it’s swallowed. Turns all previous expectations and experience with matcha on its head. It earns a perfect 100 score – there is nowhere to go but down from these rarefied heights. Origin: Nishio, Aichi Prefecture (near Nagoya). Elevated growing region, very pristine environment, incredible terroir.

Blend 97 — Similar body and texture to Blend 100, color is wildly vibrant. Mouth entry is wondrous and seamless. The tea is sweet, with no trace of bitterness (this is rare in the matcha world). Clean and harmonious. It’s surreally good, better than anything I’ve ever tasted with the exception of the 100. The crema is rich, thick, and delightful. If you never tasted Blend 100, you would swear that matcha couldn’t possibly get any tastier. Origin: Ogura, Uji, Kyoto Prefecture. Japan’s oldest and most distinguished matcha appellation.

Blend 94 — A feisty, gorgeous matcha that’s ready to slap you with its attitude. Racy. Fantastic color, heady aromas, intense “matcha” taste (think strong green tea ice cream), faint twinges of bitterness (which gives it its sass). Plenty of umami and natural sweetness means it pairs beautifully with food, especially sweets. Makes the world’s best matcha salt. If Blend 100 is a great Burgundy along the lines of Romanée-Conti, and Blend 97 is a coveted, cult Napa cabernet, Blend 94 is more like a “vintner’s reserve” from a top producer: a beautiful epicurean experience and phenomenal value that soars above similarly priced matcha. Has verve, power, like a zen wake-up stick. Origin: Tawara,Uji, Kyoto Prefecture.

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1 Tasting Note

10 tasting notes

This tasting is for Breakaway Matcha Blend 97, which is at the higher-end of the Breakaway spectrum (Blend 100 is their most premium).

97 was my first experience making matcha at home. Since I’m not normally a matcha drinker, I compared 97 with a mid-grade drinking matcha from the local Japanese grocery in order to calibrate my taste buds. The difference was stark: the grocery matcha was a dull green powder that makes a harsh and bitter cup, whereas 97 was vibrant, nearly neon green, smooth, and sweet.

I used the recommended Breakaway technique to make a thin (usu-cha) cup:

  • Sift 1/2 teaspoon of matcha
  • Add about 1 ounce of 165°F water
  • Whisk with an electric frothing wand
  • Pour into a serving cup
  • Dilute with more 165°F water, to taste (about 3 ounces)
  • Swirl
  • Drink

This is not traditional, but the results were good.

97 has the strong grassy aroma I associate with matcha, but with none of the bitterness. My biggest surprise was the caffeine kick: it is pleasant, gentle high that is quite noticeable. The aroma paired with the pick-me-up is the hallmark of this tea. I find myself craving it sometimes. Is this what coffee addiction is like?

Despite the nice aroma, the taste is fairly flat. Perhaps this is due to the whisking technique. I remember tasting an usu-cha on my last trip to Tokyo, prepared in the traditional method, that had wonderful hints of umami, nuttiness, and a tad of astringency in addition to the grassy green baseline. I don’t get that kind of complexity out of 97.

In any case, Breakaway Matcha has piqued my interest. I will definitely be exploring matcha further and making it part of my tea rotation.

165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 15 sec 0 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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