I bet a lot of you are looking at the title of this and saying “what on earth is a sea buckthorn?” I didn’t know either until I went to Mongolia and saw bottles of orangey-yellow sea buckthorn juice in the grocery store with depictions of a cluster of berries of the same color on the label. I have sort of a penchant for foreign fruits, so I bought a bottle out of curiosity and totally loved it. I also looked for a sea buckthorn tea in the somewhat vast selection of teas in the Mongolian grocer’s, but it was a no go. So when I saw that, out of all of the weird flavors they have, Red Leaf offers a sea buckthorn matcha, well I knew I had to try that one. I ordered the basic matcha with a robust flavoring level, from here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/sea-buckthorn-matcha.html
This is one of my favorite matchas that I’ve tried, which is totally a surprise. And it’s one of my favorites because Sea Buckthorn is a flavor that seems like an extension of the natural matcha flavor, not an addition. When I opened up the pouch and smelled it, it really just smelled like straight up matcha, and I was kind of skeptical. However, as soon as the water hit the matcha I could smell the tart, acidic aroma coming out of the bowl. I always find it hard to describe a flavor in terms of other flavors; sea buckthorn is tart, almost apple-pear-ish, in a berry way, if that makes any sense at all. There’s no mistaking, though, that this matcha is sea buckthorn, and very well done. I don’t even know what artificial sea buckthorn would taste like (I suppose it would at least be a big chemical), but this one tastes all natural to me, like the sea buckthorn juice I gulped in Ulaanbaatar. It doesn’t need sugar, for sure, but it is more matcha-y without it. The sugar doesn’t make it sweet, but somewhat ironically brings out the tart, delicious sea buckthorn a bit more.
If you like tart flavors and are looking for an unusual matcha flavor you should consider checking out this matcha. It’s also a matcha I would consider springing for a higher grade on in the future, not because this one is bad, but because it is so prevalent, even in the robust flavoring level, that you would really notice.