I’ve found that it’s really hard to compare this to plain, unflavored matcha—they’re two different animals. Even though Mandarin Matcha isn’t the same as regular matcha, it’s still wonderful in its own way. The powder is olive green, rather than the bright, radioactive green of fresh matcha. I’m guessing the color is due to the pulverized dried orange that is mixed in with the matcha, and not just the quality of the matcha itself. The smell is flowery and sweet.
Today I’m using two scoops and 4 ounces of hot water. The color of the tea is a murky green, and quite a bit different from that characteristic jade green color of regular matcha tea. Mandarin Matcha does not foam, no matter how hard or how long I whisk it. Only a few weak bubbles appear at the surface.
The taste is a bit weaker and sweeter than regular matcha is at this concentration. I’m guessing this is because of the orange that’s mixed in with the matcha dilutes it. The orange taste is light and not artificial tasting. There is a strange sharpness or sourness near the back/middle of my tongue, but it’s bearable. Happily, there is no bitterness.
In exchange for the orange note, you do lose some of the vegetal/grassy flavor of regular matcha. At the same time, there is an interesting blossomy component to it that I didn’t taste in the plain matcha I have on hand. And oh, the smell! The smell of Mandarin Matcha is divine. Juicy orange, tart and sweet, cream, and matcha.
I think it’s a good change of pace from regular matcha. The novelty of the orange flavor certainly makes it worth trying. While I don’t know if I’d consider it the best matcha I’ve ever had, it has earned a place in my cabinet.