Matcha, for most individuals, is not a quick love. It is a slow grind to love and that was the case for me. The first time I had Matcha, anything was the first date with my now wife. It was a Thai restaurant, and we were ready for dessert. I went with a very safe fried ice cream, and she decided to go with the Matcha ice cream. After tasting it, I remember being quiet for a moment to process what I was feeling. I looked at her and said, “that tastes like dark green grass.”. We both laughed and needless to say, I did not dive in for a second bite that evening. There was no real attempt to drink any more for many years.
As my journey into tea has moved along, I was reintroduced to Matcha. Again, this was a very slow grind for me for a few reasons. First, I really had no idea how to actually make Matcha. I would have too much tea, which made the liquor grainy and gross, or I would make it with too much water, and the taste was reminiscent of extremely watered-down leaves. Second, I was not drinking a lot of quality Matcha, which makes a huge difference. Third, I just did not have the appreciation for it as I do today. Like many teas, I had to really dive into the education of Matcha. It is so much more than just a powder! There is a lot of care that goes into the tea used to create it and the physical process to make it.
What Exactly Is Matcha?
Matcha is a ground down green tea, traditionally between millstones, into a powder. This method started with the Chinese and the Japanese adopted it. Tencha is the usual green tea for Matcha. It is shaded, which increases chlorophyll and adds to the umami texture. You can find Matcha in various parts of the world but the best is from Japan.
The Organic Matcha from Mighty Leaf hits those vegetal notes. It reminds me of wet leaves and comes with hints of the ocean, which is spot on because, on their description, they state, “hint of sea.” I first thought about seaweed. It almost has a salty smell to it. A beautiful green that makes me feel that it had a higher chlorophyll content.
I beat this tea with my bamboo whisk until it had a frothy appearance. Too often, I do not beat matcha enough, and it ends up super grainy, which I don’t like. When I steeped the tea, it lost the sea aroma. Grassy notes came out which is what I know best about this tea style!
There was a real creamy mouthfeel and some slight bitterness. It had earthy tones combined with what felt like a fresh herb. You really get depth and umami with this tea. The taste was typical and pleasant, no surprises. If you are looking for something a little higher in the grade, then I would suggest a ceremonial level Matcha, which Mighty Leaf has as well!
Let me know about your first time drinking Matcha in the comments below!
Origin: Kagoshima and Shizuoka, Japan
Preparation: I used a teaspoon of tea to about 2 oz of water heated to 175 degrees. I then whisked (or beat) this tea until frothy and combined!
(I purchased this tea)
Some information for this article was collected in the following book: Gascoyne, K., Américi Hugo, Desharnais, J., Marchand François, Bourlier, K., & Gascoyne, K. (2018). Tea: history, terroirs, varieties. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly Books.