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Recent Tasting Notes

85

To my black teas and herbal/fruit blends, I may now add another category: I’ve tasted and written notes about all the matchas in my Steepster cupboard!

This was a nice one to end with. Though I should clarify, I still have a lot of matcha to drink — I’ve just ended my first tastings of the ones I have.

This has a fluffy mouth feel after whisking. It’s not sweet, more grassy/seaweedy than vegetal. No prominant marine notes and a bitter downturn in the finish that leaves a savory aftertaste.

It’s very nice. I’m giving it a middle of the road rating for now. I’ve whisked (both literally and figuratively) through so many matchas over the past few months that I haven’t given a lot of thought to their comparative ratings. Now that I’ve accomplished my first run through, I can take my time comparing them to each other.

Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Umami

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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82

It’s very late in the day for me to have matcha, but I’m determined to stick to my schedule. With luck, I won’t be awake all night.

4 oz water @ 175F, 2 spoons, sift, whisk.

Nice, long-lasting froth. Slightly bitter (but in a good way) aroma with some vegetal pea and seaweed notes. The matcha has a thickness to it in the mouth, and the froth makes it feel light and meringue-like. It has a marine note in the flavor. It isn’t overly bitter to my tastebuds.

I like it, but not as much as the Toyo Mukashi, which I’m taking to work these days. So I bumped up the rating on that one so I could give this a decently high rating but not as high as that.

Flavors: Marine, Peas, Seaweed

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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92
drank Uji Matcha Manten by O-Cha.com
1786 tasting notes

While I fear this is somewhat wasted on me as my matcha palate is not very refined, I can definitely smell and taste the difference between this and some of the other matchas I’ve had lately.

First, it’s very grassy and not at all seaweedy. There’s nothing marine about it.

Second, it has a fascinating taste that is both sweet and a little bitter in the same sip. The sweetness is like green peas and the bitterness is a little like arugula or kale.

Finally, the body is neither very thick nor very thin. I believed this was supposed to be a thin matcha (though the description says “think” I believe that to be a typo ;-)) but then I read that it is supposed to be thick. I get neither very thick nor very thin out of this. I might try doubling the amount of matcha next time and see if it acquires a thickness.

Even with my not knowing whether I was able to get the consistency right, I admire the grassy sweet/vegetally bitter aspect of this that makes it different in flavor from other matchas I have tried.

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Kale, Lettuce, Peas

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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78

Made using the formula that’s been working for me: 4 oz water at 175F, sifted 2 spoons, whisk.

Nice froth, mild aroma and seaweed flavor with a slight downturn at the end of the sip.

I see why people call it an every day matcha — it’s good for that.

ETA: This is probably the shortest initial note I’ve ever written and I fear I gave this short shrift — but as I was writing, a friend called back, both kids were in my face, and the BF was hounding me to get in the car to get the turkey. This is my life — utter chaos, most of the time.

Flavors: Seaweed

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82

Surprised I’m the first to write a note for this.

I was able to get a nice froth on the top for the second day running — I’ve hit upon the right formula, it appears. .5 cup 175F over 2 spoons sifted matcha and whisk.

But I’m not sure I like the flavor of this one quite as much as yesterday’s. The description says it is between thick and thin, which may be the reason. This one doesn’t have as full of a mouthfeel despite the froth and while it is tasty, it doesn’t have as much interest going on. It’s a pretty straight, mild seaweed flavor.

Flavors: Seaweed

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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88

Can someone who knows how please fix the broken image for this? I tried but couldn’t get it to work.

Eureka! I finally got sea green foam today for the first time in a long time. The secret? MORE MATCHA.

O-Cha recommends 1.5 to 1.75 chashaku. I did 2. I sifted. I heated the water to 175 in the Breville, then measured .5 cups and whisked. The foam came almost instantaneously!

I also used a different bowl. Not sure whether that makes a difference. I can’t think of why it should.

In any case, everything worked very nicely.

I don’t know whether it is psychological or not, but I think matcha tastes better with foam. Is it just that thing where a sandwich tastes better if someone else makes it? Or is it real?

This has a fluffy mouthfeel from the foam. It has a mild flavor with a slight downturn that isn’t sour or bitter but could be headed that way. In any case, it is pleasant, not disturbing.

It has an interesting, sweet pea note at the front of the sip and a grassy, seaweed finish. Not marine, like yesterday’s. More reminiscent of a field than an ocean.

My success today makes me want to go back and try all of the other matchas that were a miss in the foam department over again.

All in good time.

Flavors: Grass, Peas, Seaweed

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
__Morgana__

Thanks to whoever fixed the image. What is the trick there? I could get the picture to show up in the additional pics but not in the one that is next to the name.

Cameron B.

I fixed it. You just have to select the “Featured” option next to the photo that you want displayed as the main image when you’re editing the tea.

__Morgana__

Huh. Is that in the screen you get after you click on edit tea? Or some other screen? I don’t recall seeing anything like that.

Cameron B.

Yes, it’s the screen you get when you click “Edit Tea”. On the left side, at the top there is the featured image, and on the bottom there are small thumbnails of all the tea’s images. Underneath each thumbnail is a “Featured?” option and a “Delete” option.

I don’t believe an image that you’d just added will show up in the small thumbnails though, so that may be why you didn’t see it there.

__Morgana__

Weird. I don’t get any thumbnails at the bottom. Just something that says “Featured.”

Cameron B.

Oh, that is weird. Sounds like for some reason the images aren’t loading for you.

Cameron B.

Here’s what it looks like for me: https://imgur.com/H2odPgN

__Morgana__

I have never had anything display under the “choose image” button. I wonder what that is about?

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82

I have lost my matcha touch! I don’t seem to be able to get anything right about it any more. I can’t seem to produce a foam to save my life.

I tried following a how to video to make a cup of this this morning. I think, however, that I didn’t use enough tea and used too much water. Also, next time, I may use a higher water temp to see what that does.

This is all very sad, because I love matcha and I’m just starting to rediscover it.

This one has a little bit of a gritty quality to it, even after sifting and whisking for about 2 minutes. I’m hoping I can figure out what caused that and fix it.

The aroma and flavor are of mild seaweed and something reminiscent of soy, but not overly soy-like.

I couldn’t get the lovely sea green color. Mine is more like a forest green. But nevertheless, I will persist.

Flavors: Seaweed, Soybean, Umami

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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86
drank Toyo Mukashi by O-Cha.com
1786 tasting notes

It has been eons since I had matcha. I’m a little conflicted about drinking it. I am worried that once my matcha is all gone, I won’t feel comfortable ordering more. I have a phobia about all Japanese food products because as far as I can tell from internet searches, Fukushima never stopped dumping radioactivity into the ocean around Japan.

Fortunately I don’t have to make any decisions just yet because I still have some Japanese green tea from before the disaster. Which, you might rightly point out, makes it extremely old. In its and my defense, I can only say that I typically don’t open tea before I plan to start drinking it in earnest and I also live in a climate that is dry and not prone to temperature extremes. I have a fair amount of confidence in my storage methods.

This, for example, was still vacuum packed in a pull top tin that hadn’t been opened until today.

I decided to opt for SenchaMatcha’s measurements. 1 tsp, 4 oz water, 180 temp.

I am definitely out of practice. I didn’t get froth. I went back and read one of my other matcha notes and apparently I didn’t get froth when I first tried this a while back either. So I’ll have to practice some. And my tea was pool table green, not sea green, probably for lack of froth.

That said, I enjoyed this. It tasted to me like a sort of super ramped sencha. Seaweedy/grassy, not bitter, not sweet either, definitely what I understand to be umami which could be a flawed understanding.

I did not, however, taste zucchini. Maybe a little green bean, though.

Pretty sure I’ve liked other matchas better, but this was a nice re-intro to the genre.

Flavors: Cut grass, Green Beans, Seaweed, Umami

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91
drank Yame Gyokuro by O-Cha.com
160 tasting notes

First time with gyokuro here folks, so proceed with caution!

The long-and-short of this review is buy some of this tea. Absolutely delicious. Great balance of sweet and savory, and its complexity blew me away. Amazing development with an incredible range of flavors.

It certainly didn’t blow my head off with umami, although that could be easily achieved with a bit more leaf and slightly higher temps. It arrived as a delicious nori and herbal arrival that transformed into vegetal and corn sweet savoriness. Then, beginning with the finish, the notes become fresh, fruity, and sweet. A joy to drink all-around.

Also, given the regular cost of gyokuro, this is an absolute steal. Of course, I can’t speak to how it compares with more expensive options, but you certainly can’t go wrong with this offering by O-Cha.
*
Dry leaf – butter cream frosting, sweet corn, pineapple, coconut, honeydew melon, grilled corn

Smell – buttercream, buttered greens, pineapple, spice cake

Taste – nori arrival, dried parsley/cilantro, spinach, edamame, sweet corn development, chlorophyll and fresh parslely and sweet corn in finish; raw almond, watermelon rind, pineapple rind in aftertaste. Mint in long aftertaste

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90
drank Chiran Sencha by O-Cha.com
160 tasting notes

I jumped the gun and pre-ordered this as a shincha. I wanted to get slapped in the face by fresh spring grass, and this didn’t disappoint. When I first brewed it, I was actually a bit taken back by the grassiness, but it was because I eyeballed the proportions and took my best guess on the temperature.
The second time around, I followed the instructions, and the flavor was much more subdued and sweet.

However, the more the I drank it, the more I kept pushing the brewing parameters by increasing leaf and even using slightly hotter water because I found myself wanting more grassiness and umami. The tea responded incredibly well. I was really happy with how much I could manipulate the experience to my liking – more sweetness sometimes, more umami other times, etc.

Overall, the tea has a nice pineapple and coconut sweetness followed by fresh parsley that lingers as parsley and minty aftertaste. In the background (which you can bring out more with stronger brewing parameters), there is a backbone of steamed spinach, edamame, and marine umami.
*
Dry leaf – grass, honeydew melon, pineapple juice, roasted corn

Smell – roasted corn, cooked spinach, melon sweetness

Taste – spinach, roasted corn, pineapple rind, coconut, salted melon, fresh grass, chlorophyll savory sweetness, fresh parsley

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90
drank Chiran Sencha by O-Cha.com
160 tasting notes

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87
drank Uji Organic Matcha by O-Cha.com
341 tasting notes

This backlogged tasting note is long overdue considering I’ve had this for a year now. I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t really like straight matcha but love it in food and drink. I bought this specifically for making matcha lattes. It’s O-Cha’s lowest priced matcha and strikes a happy medium between the expensive ceremonial grade and culinary grade stuff.

The matcha powder I received had a date stamped that was almost 3 years old which irked me with a little. Harvest date is important for green tea and a tea that old has lost some of its freshness. Nevertheless, at $10.68 for 30g I wasn’t going to complain. I use 3-4 scoops with about 4 oz of 165 F water and whisk everything up in my chawan. The matcha froths nicely producing a brilliant green color. Tasting it straight, it’s vegetal and somewhat chalky. However with a splash of milk it transforms into a delicious matcha latte that still has an assertive green tea flavor.

By itself, there’s nothing remarkable about this tea but it suits my need for a green tea that can hold up well to milk and a little sweetener. I portioned it out and refrigerated it which helped preserve its freshness and flavor.

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96

Just an absolutely amazing tea—easily my favorite fukamushi. Steeps and re steeps well with a delicate vegetal buttery deliciousness.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Spinach, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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87

Brewed right this matcha has a strong buttery, grass, with hints of vanilla delicious taste. Absolutely excellent.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Seaweed, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 OZ / 75 ML

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85
drank Sakura Sencha by O-Cha.com
2 tasting notes

First time doing this, so pardon my messiness. If you have tips or advice for me, please message me them.

Side note: I didn’t rinse this tea.

Visual
Dry Leaf: Dark green leaves mixed with pale/golden green stems and leaves. Pink flakes resembling dried petals.
Wet Leaf: The dark green leaves darkened and became extremely flexible. The pink flakes has lost a lot of the pink coloring and puffed up a bit. The stems look paler.
Liquid: Pale golden greeny, cloudy

Smell
Dry Leaf: Grassy, slight floral, cherries
Wet Leaf: Wet Grass, slight bitterness, floral undertones

Tasting
Steep #1: Brewed for a minute.
Light grassiness, asparagus after taste with delicate floral notes, smooth liquid, faint cherry tartness, light-neutral astringency. Over all the flavors are rather light which makes it refreshing. There’s no overpowering notes.

Steep #2: Brewed for 30 seconds.
No changes in the color of the leaves or liquid as well as the smell. The flavors are ever so slightly toned down but still noticeable. Seems more floral this time. The astringency is still the same as the first steeping. The smoothness of the liquid seems a bit more watered down. More cherry notes are coming out in the after taste.

Steep #3: Brewed for 2 minutes.
No changes in the color of the leaves or liquid as well as the smell. Like with the second steeping, the flavors seem even more tone downed. There’s a slight tarty floral with cherries taste to it. The astringency is still as strong as the first steeping. The grassy notes have moved to to the after taste now. Making it seem to dry my mouth more. The liquid seems to gain some the smoothness back as it thickened up a bit.

I have steeped this tea more than three times in the past but it get so watered down after the third one that it’s not worth it, in my opinion.

Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Drying, Grass, Green, Tart, Tea

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Saw this tea discussed on Tea Chat when the 2016 batch was first released in limited quantities. Wanting to experience it myself I purchased 100 g and brew the tea in my Mini Shudei Tokoname teapot, 140ml.
I have limited experience with Sencha but can say this Yutaka Midori is everything the reviewers here describe. An exceptional tea.

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90

Excellent quality price ratio. Overall a very nice tea. Bright green powder, with a fresh smooth smell. Prepared it as usucha (2,5-3 g), 60 ml, 75-85 C. Always got a creamy cup, with dense body and smooth taste. In general did not notice any astringency, or it was not disagreeable. However I missed some of the umami and sweetness of higher grade matchas.

Preparation
2 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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78

Pretty good, but I wish it were a tad greener tasting. It’s got a strong toasty flavor and murky liquor. Less spectacular than the same tea from Yuuki-Cha. Matcha washes away after the first steep and then it tastes like a regular genmaicha. Not my favorite genmaicha but it does the job and is better than the bagged stuff.

Flavors: Toasted Rice

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95

I’m down to my last serving of this tea and still am not sure how I feel about it. This tea gives me fits because it’s so finnicky. More often than not I miss the optimal steep window. But occasionally when I hit the target, the tea is amazing. Intensely grassy with a zesty vegetal flavor and a fresh ocean breeze aroma. There’s some umami, mineral notes, and even occasional hints of floral. It hits almost every flavor note I like.

However resteeps are less spectacular. Harsh sulphur-like bitterness mixed with a cooked broccoli aftertaste. Brewing in a clay teapot helps remove some of the bitterness and rounds out the taste.

Flavors: Grass, Green, Moss, Ocean Breeze

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Evol Ving Ness

hahhaha, finicky optimal steep window.

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95

My first O-Cha order in a long time. O-Cha used to be my go-to online tea shop back in the day when I started drinking tea. As other tea stores sprang up, I eventually moved on. Still I have an affinity towards them and wanted to see how they stack up against Yunomi and Yuuki-Cha, my current favorite stores for Japanese tea.

When I opened the bag, I was surprised at the amount of broken and crushed leaves which resembled matcha more than sencha. It also meant more sediment in the cup than usual. The tea leaves in a warm gaiwan were fragrant with a deep, enticing aroma of fresh cut grass and spinach.

First steep was for 1 minute at 165 F. Pale green liquor. The flavor was buttery, slightly vegetal, and grassy. Pretty standard sencha taste.

Second steep was 30s at around 170 F. Grassy with a bit of astringency.

3rd and 4th steeps were 1:15 and 1:45 respectively using 175 F water. Flavor mostly faded, harsh bitterness.

I found this to be a very average tasting green tea. There’s some grassiness to it and that’s about it. It doesn’t have the depth and character of high grade senchas. It also doesn’t resteep well. The second infusion was ok, and the ones that followed were pretty terrible.

Flavors: Bitter, Grass

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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80

Opening the bag you’ll encounter very intense but at the same time pleasing grassy aroma of the leaves which happen to be light green in colour. Here and there you’ll notice stems which are lighter in colour and give this tea more natural look while you inspect it. Tea itself is mildly sweet and has a pleasing flavor. Using recommended brewing parameters, I encountered decent but not overwhelming astringent punch. Umami “runs away” quickly but it’s there. It’s light (green) in colour as well as in taste (almost like asamushi) but it has decent roundness. I prefered brewing it at the slightly higher tempereatures and for shorter periods of time to extract the most out of it and I was not dissapointed. Very nice organic green tea with floral aroma and subtle but “sincere” flavor. I like drinking it especially after my workouts- combining already elevated levels of endorphins with theanine and catehins from green tea is the way to go.

Flavors: Almond, Earth, Floral, Grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 2 OZ / 65 ML

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I am reviewing the 2016 version of this tea which I still would say is fairly fresh like the rest of my Shincha. I would say this one is my favorite is has a really nice balanced flavor, vegetal and grassy with a mouthwatering sweet finish. Along with some mellow umami flavors and a tad of astringency.

Out of all of the ones I tried I found this to be my favorite and most memorable tea, one that I will for sure be buying more of in the future.

Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Seaweed, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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86
drank Yame Gyokuro by O-Cha.com
4 tasting notes

A high quality gyokuro at a good price. Has a sweet flavor combined with a decent level of umami. Can become overwhelming if brewed too hot or for too long. Brewed using a houhin.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Umami

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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91

A great, grassy tea with an underlying sweetness. The best sencha I’ve tried to date. Brewed in a 230ml kyusu.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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