Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Grace & Green
A matcha tea with only a slight hint of bitterness. Organically produced, its flavour is smooth and rich. This tea is perfect for everyday consumption, boosting health, energy and concentration.
Produced by Marukyu-Koyamaen (Uji, Kyoto, JAPAN), one of the top tea production companies in Japan. Well respected amongst tea connoisseurs, Marukyu-Koyamaen pride themselves on the excellent quality of their products.
Learn more about this tea here.
I started this morning in my favourite way – with a matcha latte! Grace & Green kindly sent me a sample of their Morning Organic Matcha to try, and as a matcha fan, I was very keen to give it a try! The matcha comes packaged in a resealable tin, initially with an internal ring-pull style seal. The matcha powder itself is a beautiful kelly green shade, and the scent is delightfully vegetal. You can tell this is quality stuff – the brightness of the powder in itself is a good indicator. I used 1/2 tsp of matcha for my cup, and whisked it up with a little boiling water to make a paste while waiting for my milk to heat. I added the milk once it was near boiling, whisking all the while to ensure the powder was well incorporated. The resulting cup is a startling creamy mint green, almost like mint choc chip ice cream!
To taste, this cup is all the things I love about a matcha latte. The initial flavour is the sweet creaminess of the milk, but the matcha emerges clearly in the mid-sip. It’s very vegetal, as you might expect, almost in the way of freshly cooked asparagus, or wilted spinach. It also has an edge of sweetness, however, that helps it to build an accord with the milk. You’d think they might fight against each other in terms of flavour, but they’re actually very complementary. What I’m most struck by is how smooth this matcha is compared to some others I’ve tried. It’s blended very well with the milk, with only a little clumping evident at the bottom of the cup. That could be my whisking skills, though! There’s also a distinct lack of astringency or bitterness, which is at least partly why it works so well as a latte. It makes for a delightful start to the day.
In the interests of research, I also tried this matcha in a couple of other ways, both of which worked equally well. 1/4 tsp stirred into a small glass of cold water made for a refreshing mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Again, I found it to be smooth, with a minimum of clumping, and no bitterness or astringency at all. The vegetal flavour of the matcha is very apparent taken this way, but as it’s so fresh-tasting and reminiscent of sweet spring vegetables, that’s more of a bonus than anything! My third way of trying this matcha was similar to the above, but stirred into a small glass of apple juice rather than just water. I made a thin paste first with 1/4 tsp of matcha and approximately 1 tbsp of cold water, and then topped off the glass with fridge-cold apple juice. I was actually surprised by how well this worked, but the sweetness and lightly tangy acidity of the fruit juice paired beautifully with the vegetal flavour of the matcha. I’m reminded of fresh garden peas more than asparagus or spinach when tasting the matcha this way, and this would be an ideal preparation for those who aren’t so keen on the intense flavour of matcha when taken alone.
While I enjoy matcha for its versatility, I have to admit to being impressed by this offering from Grace & Green. It lacks the bitterness of some other matchas I’ve tried, which was what used to put me off most. The sweet, fresh taste of this particular matcha is second to none – it’s comparable to the flavour of a spring Bi Luo Chun to my mind, albeit stronger and more concentrated. I also appreciate the ease with which I managed to blend it each time. Although I did experience a little clumping with my latte, it was at a minimum. This would make an excellent matcha for those who like green teas with strongly vegetal notes, or those who are looking for a fresh, high quality, affordable matcha powder. The shipping speed was also excellent, arriving in the UK from Japan in just 6 days. Highly recommended.
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.