After my first purchase of matcha kit with pinnacle grade matcha from Teaopia two weeks ago, I am already officially hooked. Teaopia
I've been a pretty avid tea fanatic before the matcha purchase and have been craving to buy the kit for the longest time. Not to mention the gracefulness and beauty in tea ceremonies and the lovely lovely super-lovelyteaware, matchas have such high potential as a super health booster. Since you are actually consuming the grounded tea leaves, you are getting hundreds of times of the good stuffs that you know brewed green teas have.
Many people online suggested that one should start off with lower grade matcha and gradually move up the ladder in order to fully appreciate the good ones. I debated and decided to use a different method, and now I'm glad I did. I started off with the highest grade of matcha Teaopia offered, the Matcha Pinnacle, because I don't want something disgusting tasting that will turn me off it from the beginning. OUCH MY WALLET! It also gives me the option to play around with the matcha to be able to make it into either usucha (thin tea) or koicha (thick tea). Lower grades can only be consumed as thin tea because it would be too bitter otherwise.
Now, I am absolutely and completely hooked. I'm already halfway through my 30g tin because I just absolutely must have a nice relaxing bowl of it as I get home from a long day at work. It helps me relax and actually able to focus on my studies and even helps me sleep a bit, strange as it might sound. I guess in a way I'm lucky because caffeine doesn't affect me very much, and I can barely feel the caffeines from any coffee or tea that I've drunk, so no problems there.
I must say, THE TASTE is the most heavenly and beautiful tea taste that I have ever had. It completely revolutionizes the experience of tea. As soon as you open the can, you can smell the wonderful grassy sweet smell, distinct from any other tea that I have tasted so far. (It may possibly smell like gyokuro, but I have yet to try that... actually already ordered, it's on its way XD ) Using 2 chashakus (bamboo tea spoon) for usucha or 4 chashakus for koicha, sifting is a must (I just press it through a mesh filter), add 2-3 oz of water at 70-80 degrees celcius to an already pre-heated bowl, and whisk with the chasen (bamboo whisk which is an art in itself).
The taste of it as an usucha is unbelievably refreshing and it feels like it's cheering you up, even. It foams very easily, an indication of a great matcha. The colour is of a beautiful bright green, like grassy hills in springtime. The best words to describe this usucha is pure and bright.
The koicha is incredibly incredibly smooth and the texture is yogurt-like. The colour is a deep dark green, with no foam. The intense sweetness in it is so unexpected from a tea that is so concentrated. It is a completely different experience than the usucha and should be called deep and sophisticated.
Both usucha and koicha contain almost no astringency whatsoever and no bitterness either. The grassy taste is obvious, but not too overwhelming that you feel its "bleerghh" if you know what I mean.
After this tin, I plan to try middle-lower grades to matcha as well, and eventually find one that I can use as a daily usucha. Because of the health benefits (and yumminess), I will get a pack of high food grade matcha to use in smoothies, topping icecreams and whatnot. But of course, I will also try many higher grade matchas (it will take some time... as my wallet will thin out very quickly). Eventually even trying the much acclaimed Uji Matcha Manten from O-Cha. It's apparently the best matcha ever existed and sells only through Japan's oldest teashop, Tsuen.
Aside from matcha.... it's also SHINCHA SEASON!!!! (it's the season for the first flush of green tea made into traditional japanese sencha...oh my poor poor wallet) For my first shincha season, I've already placed several pre-orders for the more famous senchas, a good gyokuro as well as my very own kyusu (japanese styled teapot)! So excited! Can't wait till they arrive one by one.... Will post up pictures :)
I blame this sudden splurge on my discovery of Teachat . everyone is so PRO! I've been estimating in the past for water temperatures and brew times and tea to water ratios, but now they make me wanna get a thermometer and tea timer and measuring cups and even a weight scale specific to 0.1gs.... Call me crazy, but it really is true that after one gets used to drinking tea, even the smallest details matter. We'll see how it goes... (by which i mean, i will probably curb to my desires eventually) All in all, I encourage all of you to experience matcha at least once. It truly is an amazing (or shall I say, unMATCHAble ?) experience and lots of health benefits .