Monday, July 13, 2015

Ceremonial Grade Matcha Showdown Part Three

It is time for the final installment of the epic Ceremonial Grade Matcha showdown, part one was all about the lower grade stuff part two was all about the medium grade stuff, and this part is the highest grade. It is also the group with the most Matcha in it, partially because some of the Matcha from group two is also in this group to see how it compares to the higher grade green goodness. So, let us begin and finish this Showdown!

A quick note on ratings and testing. Scale is from 1-10 with 1 being disgusting (or very bitter) and 10 being the best thing in this group (or very sweet and not bitter) the Matcha is made using 2 chashaku scoops, 70ml of water, and a temperature of 160°.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Imperial Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $13.99 ($6.99)
Cost: $13.99
Size: 1oz
Location: China
Packaging: Foil Pouch

Color: 6
Aroma: 8
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 7
Taste: 6
Value: 8
Notes: Sage in color and grassy in aroma with a nice nutty quality, also a bit of hay, though once it gets whisked the aroma gets kinda funky like old wet grass clumps. The bitterness is pretty faint, mostly kale like vegetal bitter rather than horrid bitterness, gets sweet at the finish with a hint of kelp and a very distinct ground up tea taste, like a Chinese green. Not bad, not overwhelmingly good, but not bad.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Shokuku Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $14.99 ($7.49)
Cost: $14.99
Size: 1oz
Location: Uji, Japan
Packaging: Foil Pouch

Color: 6
Aroma: 4
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 6
Taste: 6
Value: 6
Notes: What happened to you Shokuku, you were so tasty last time I had you (not last week, but last year) still sad that this tea smells so much like paint and paper and tastes like bland lawn clipping water. I am assuming it was a bad harvest or something.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Tenryu Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $14.99 ($7.49)
Cost: $14.99
Size: 1oz
Location: Shizouka, Japan
Packaging: Foil Pouch

Color: 4
Aroma: 4
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste: 3
Value: 4
Notes: Ah yes, the warm lettuce Matcha, my notes were not flattering to this drab leafed tea. Another one that surprised me since I have had this one before and liked it, peculiar! Sadly I did not find this one palatable, it was not gross, it was just very boring.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Connoisseur's Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $15.99 ($7.99)
Cost: $15.99
Size: 1oz
Location: China
Packaging: Foil pouch

Color: 6
Aroma: 7
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste: 8
Value: 9
Notes: Ah, a sweet and vegetal aroma, blend that with a sweet and vegetal taste and you have a tasty Matcha. Only a hint of bitterness, not too strong, like fresh spinach rather than stronger kale, the majority of the Matcha is sweet and nutty.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Kennin Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $16.99 ($8.49)
Cost: $16.99
Size: 1oz
Location: Uji, Japan

Packaging: Foil Pouch
Color: 7
Aroma: 6
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 7
Taste: 7
Value: 6
Notes: Only a tiny hint of that odd paper and paint (seen others call it cardboard, so yay I am not the only paper perceiver! Mostly the aroma on this one is sweetgrass and hay and nuts. The taste is a little bitter, a suitable bite to it, and the rest is fairly mellow.

Name: Ito En Teas' Tea Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $17.14
Cost: $12.00
Size: .7oz
Location: Uji, Japan
Packaging: Can

Color: 8
Aroma: 7
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 10
Taste: 9
Value: 7
Notes: Whoa, that is sweet smelling, fruity and sweet honey hay, like wildflower honey and strawflowers. The color is a pleasant rich green, and it whisked up pretty beautifully. This Matcha has no bitterness whatsoever, it is not very sweet, savory notes of rice crackers and kelp with a slight peppery finish.

Name: Ito En Matcha LOVE Usucha
Cost Per Ounce: $17.14
Cost: $12.00
Size: .7oz
Location: Uji, Japan
Packaging: Can

Color: 9
Aroma: 9
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 9
Taste: 8
Value: 8
Notes: What?! Why does this smell like bananas, I love that! It is very sweet and very colorful, once I whisk it up the aroma is a bit more green, and wow is that foam beautiful. The taste is mellow at first with no bitterness, and then a nice robust green burst at the finish.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Emperor's Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $17.99 ($8.99)
Cost: $17.99
Size: 1oz
Location: China
Packaging: Foil pouch

Color: 8
Aroma: 8
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 6
Taste: 7
Value: 7
Notes: Very sweet grassy aroma, a great example of a grassy green Matcha without the sweet notes and kelpy notes, though there is a hint of fruitiness at the finish. Once you whisk it up it gets a kelp notes, and it makes the fact that it looks like algae once it is whisked. The taste starts with a bit of a bitter punch of kale and spinach, but quickly fades to kelp and grassiness. A very green Matcha

Name: Red Leaf Tea Tofuku Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $17.99 ($8.99)
Cost: $17.99
Size: 1oz
Location: Shizuoka, Japan
Packaging: Foil Pouch

Color: 5
Aroma: 6
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 7
Taste: 7
Value: 6
Notes: The aroma starts off really sweet fruity and fades quickly to paint and paper, it color is fairly pale and once whisked the aroma is a bit floral and kinda papery. The taste is kinda mild and unassuming, only a touch of bitter and only a touch of grassiness and green notes. I was surprised finding out this was Tofuku, since it tastes very different from the pouch I finished over the last winter.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Manju Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $19.99 ($13.99)
Cost: $13.99
Size: 1oz
Location: Shizuoka, Japan
Packaging: Foil Pouch

Color: 5
Aroma: 7
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 9
Taste: 7
Value: 7
Notes: Kinda brownish color, it reminds me of peridot gemstones if you want to be specific, the aroma is a leafy green, like broken vegetation, with a hint of sweetness at the finish. Once whisking it gets even more green, giving it a bit of a robustness. The taste is a very distinct blend of peas and kelp, it is a bit watery and thin, no bitterness at all and blends umami and vegetal pretty decently.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Matsuri Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $19.99
Cost: $19.99
Size: 1oz
Location: Shizuoka, Japan
Packaging: Foil Pouch

Color: 7
Aroma: 7
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste: 8
Value: 9
Notes: So, this is also Aiya Matcha's Ceremonial Grade Matcha, good to know there is a cheaper way to get it! About a year ago I splurged and bought myself some of this, it was at the time my favorite Matcha, still is one of my favorites. Oddly, with the blind testing or because I have been drinking a ton of Matcha lately, I did not recognize it as my favorite. The aroma was a bit papery while also being fresh and sweet with a green vegetation note. The taste is very umami, blending fresh spring greens (which gives it a touch of bitterness) and kelp with a finish of celery. I remember this being sweeter in the past...

Name: Pure Matcha Premium Ceremonial
Cost Per Ounce: $20.75
Cost: $21.99
Size: 1.06oz
Location: Nishio, Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 8
Aroma: 8
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste: 8
Value: 8
Notes: What a pretty Matcha, just the right amount of bright green, though not deep enough to be a super green (I am sorry, I have not slept in over 30 hours, so I am a bit rambly!) Matcha that looks like a green algae ball (morimo!) It smells quite good, creamy sweet and grassy, whisking it up and you get a bit more green like leafy veggies. The taste is robust, a tiny bit vegetal bitterness, but it is green and fresh, which fades to a subtle honey sweetness at the finish.

Name: Misake Matcha Meditation
Cost Per Ounce: $23.54
Cost: $24.95
Size: 1.06oz
Location: Nishio, Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 6
Aroma: 9
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste: 8
Value: 7
Notes: According to their Amazon listing, my taste buds will thank me, so that is fun. The color is pretty pale, but oh my goodness does that smell good! Very creamy and sweet, notes of honey and sweetgrass with a touch of hay. The taste is only a bit bitter, bright green spinach and leafy greens with a strong note of grass and a finish of sweetness

Name: Midori Spring Gold Class Ceremonial Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $23.54
Cost: $24.95
Size: 1.06oz
Location: Japan (Aichi and Kagoshima)
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9
Aroma: 9
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste:9
Value: 8
Notes: Beautiful emerald green Matcha! It is so pretty! It has a sweet aroma, creamy and a bit of sweet corn and hay, it has a country smell that makes me nostalgic, especially once whisked when the notes of cut grass come out. The taste is a perfect blend of umami kelp, fresh cut grass, leafy vegetation, and a sweet honey finish that lingers.

Name: DoMatcha Green Tea Ceremonial
Cost Per Ounce: $23.58
Cost: $24.99
Size: 1.06oz
Location: Japan (Kyoto and Uji)
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9
Aroma: 10 
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 10
Taste: 9
Value: 8
Notes: This tea smells soooo good, bringing in creamy sweetness and slight honeysuckle notes with a touch of hay and grass. Whisking it up brings out a strong note of seabreeze, makes me want to sing Octopus's Garden. There is absolutely not bitterness, none whatsoever, it is sweet while also mild, especially at the beginning, but the flavor really builds to rich green notes and a finish of savory sea air.

Name: Ito En LOVE Matcha Classic
Cost Per Ounce: $24.29
Cost: $17.00
Size: .77oz
Location: Uji, Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9
Aroma: 9
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio:8
Taste: 9
Value: 8
Notes:Wow, this smells really good! I loved the fruity and floral notes mixed with the fresh vegetation and hay, this is my idea of a good smelling everyday kinda Matcha, true I prefer when there are kelp notes, but those are more special occasion kinda Matcha. The taste contrary to the aroma is quite umami, rich notes of fresh spinach (giving a slight bitter tone) and kelp with a strong sea air finish.

Name: Yunomi Obubu #21 Gokuo Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $24.43
Cost: $21.50
Size: .88oz
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Packaging: Bag

Color: 10
Aroma: 7
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 10
Taste: 6
Value: 7
Notes: This was a weird one! It had very little aroma, but what I could smell was delicate sweet flowers. The color was very green, but I could not get the blasted thing to whisk into a froth, it was very watery and thin. The taste was nutty and rice like but also kinda bland, but it did lack all bitterness, so points there.

Name: Ito En Koto No Tsuki Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $27.86
Cost: $19.50
Size: .70oz
Location: Uji, Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9
Aroma: 9
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste: 7
Value: 6
Notes: So, apparently this Matcha is made for Koicha, assuming there are others on the list with the same purpose I might go through and test them later to see how they are as Koicha, not sure since my experience so far has been...interesting. Anywho, this one is very green in both color and aroma, like kelp and growing things. The taste is much the same, very umami that fades to sweetness, oddly the middle of the sipping experience was a bit watery, so that makes me doubly curious for the Koicha.

Name: Epic Matcha Green Tea Powder
Cost Per Ounce: $28.27
Cost: $29.97
Size: 1,06oz
Location: Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 7
Aroma: 8
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 6
Taste: 8
Value: 6
Notes: OMG the name makes me giggle, so full of themselves to claim they are Epic, though honestly it is just kinda meh. The listing claims they are hand picked in Japan but lacks to say where, and of course like so many of the Amazon listings there is an almost cut and paste pile of buzzwords. The color is kinda bland, pale and with a slight brown tint, the aroma is fairly nice, sweet and fruity, nutty after whisking. The taste is bitter but oddly it is an enjoyable bitterness, like a nice mouth full of dandelion greens. The finish is umami kelp and a touch sweet.

Name: Yunomi Obubu #22 Uji Hikari Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $28.30
Cost: $24.90
Size: .88oz
Location: Kyoto
Packaging: Bag

Color: 10
Aroma: 8
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 7
Taste: 7
Value: 7
Notes: Again, a really faint aroma, but what is there is quite nice, just barely there! The color is so vibrant and very rich summer green, once it is whisked there is a peppery aroma that comes from the froth, which is fun. The taste is nice, like peppery nasturtium flowers and kale, it is an intense taste, but I am not sure if I like it or not!

Name: Aiya Ceremonial Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $29.60
Cost: $29.60
Size: 1oz
Location: Nishio, Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 8
Aroma: 9
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 8
Taste: 9
Value: 7
Notes: Ah, this one smells so good! Fruity and sweet with hay and grass, a creamy undertone. I found myself thinking, it smells like the Matsuri Matcha I would drink, not surprised when I found out this was the Aiya. The aroma is more seaweed and leaves once whisked, also the color is quite lovely. The taste is a touch vegetal bitter, a nice bite of fresh kale that fades into umami and seaweed, savory to the point of almost salty, and a finish of sweetness that lingers

Name: KENKO Matcha Ceremonial Grade
Cost Per Ounce: $30.16
Cost: $31.97
Size: 1.06oz
Location: Nishio, Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9
Aroma: 10
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 10
Taste: 10
Value: 8
Notes: I should not have sniffed this standing up, I almost fell over! It is both intensely sweet and intensely spinach umami and sea air, this might be the best smelling Matcha I have ever sniffed. I am in love! The taste is something else too, really delicious, a perfect blend of umami and sweetness, grass and green, cream and honey. It is really quite fantastic! They do say it can be used for Koicha, which I will be trying.

Name: Red Leaf Tea Tanabata Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $34.99
Cost: $34.99
Size: 1oz
Location: Shizuoka, Japan
Packaging: Foil Pouch

Color: 9
Aroma: 10
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 10
Taste: 10
Value: 9
Notes: Tanabata Matcha is the same as Aiya's Premium Matcha, so yay for being cheaper! I remember trying this Matcha a while ago and falling in love with it, so it was wonderful to see it was just as wonderful as I remember. The aroma is sweet and hay like, but with a bit more kelp, it is similar to the KENKO Matcha, where it knocks me off my feet, but definitely more on the umami side. The taste is the same, oh man, so much rich green spinach and kelp, hay, and grass. A sweet finish lingers

Name: Aiya Matcha Premium Matcha
Cost Per Ounce: $48.00
Cost: $48.00
Size: 1oz
Location: Nishio, Japan
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9
Aroma: 10
Bitterness to Sweet Ratio: 10
Taste: 10
Value: 7
Notes: Honestly I could not tell the difference between this package (#31) and the previous one #30, turns out it was because they were the same Matcha, which made me giggle. This is specifically a Koicha grade Matcha, so I will have to try it that way as well.

1 comment:

  1. The quality of matcha makes so much of a difference! Especially if you are making thick tea, koicha.

    ReplyDelete

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