Proper Matcha Taste


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Proper Matcha Taste

Postby hopeofdawn » Jun 28th, '11, 11:30

Question: how bitter is matcha supposed to be?

I've read multiple threads and how-to guides on how to prepare matcha, and also read reviews of different kinds/grades of matcha. But never having had a bowl prepared by someone who knows what they're doing, I have no idea how my matcha is supposed to taste.

I know this question is very dependent on people's individual tastes, of course. However, whenever I'm making matcha, I'd say about 90% of the time it's either strong and a bit bitter (if I've used enough matcha to get a nice foam on top), or it's almost too mild/watery (if I use less matcha to cut the bitterness). I've varied the temperature of the water, more water, less water and more matcha, and so on, and I've yet to find a consistent 'sweet spot' in brewing. Does anyone have any tips that might help? Or am I being overly sensitive, and a certain amount of bitterness is to be expected when drinking usucha?

For reference, I've been using O-cha's Uji organic matcha, so hopefully it's not the quality of my tea that's at fault ....
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby TIM » Jun 28th, '11, 11:37

http://www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/tea/index.html

http://www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/tea/matcha_03.html

Since I am also a beginner. This is a good place to start :wink: enjoy.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby AdamMY » Jun 28th, '11, 11:42

Even some of the better quality matcha's I have tried have always had a hint of bitterness. But I liken the bitterness to the bitterness in high cacao content dark chocolate. So the bitterness should be kept in check it shouldn't be the only thing you taste, but it should still be there.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby Chip » Jun 28th, '11, 11:47

+1.

Also as you go down the price scale for matcha, there tends to be more noticable bitterness, assuming you buy from a reputable vendor for matcha ... and O-Cha certainly is.

Then there can also be individual sensitivity to bitterness as you mention.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby Chasm » Jun 28th, '11, 12:14

I haven't the foggiest, myself.

I've noticed that the flavor won't open properly nor will the consistency come out right if you get below 170F in the whisking, or if you whisk it when it's too diluted.

However, I just don't like to drink liquids that hot in general, and I prefer the flavor I get when the matcha is a bit cooler and more diluted than when it's prepared, so after whisking I add some cooler water. It works for me. I may well be missing a whole different level of matcha experience, however.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby hopeofdawn » Jun 28th, '11, 13:04

Thanks for all the replies so far--I'll definitely have to try that cold water trick, Chasm--maybe that will help while still allowing me to enjoy my pretty froth! :) And I'd thought about upgrading to a higher quality matcha in the hopes of a better taste, too. I guess I've just been too chicken to commit the money to it! :oops:
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby rdl » Jun 28th, '11, 15:29

--- "Or am I being overly sensitive, and a certain amount of bitterness is to be expected when drinking usucha"?
short answer - i believe so.
longer answer,
trying to use these terms correctly, i think you may be tasting something like astringency, rather than bitterness. i think bitterness comes from too much tea per the amount of water, and over-steeping brings out bitterness. matchas will fall on different points of the astringency scale, but my suggestion is to stick with one matcha you like, (the higher the grade the less astringency) and take some time to not only find the best way to prepare it, but to get used to the matcha taste. instead of trying to work around a characteristic taste i am sure in time you'll come to enjoy this unique matcha taste.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby lkj23 » Jun 28th, '11, 16:15

I have drunk matcha from DTH and JKteashop until yesterday.

Yesterday I drink my first high quality matcha from Japan and my face is like this :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: very impresed with diference.

Very little bitterness in japanese matcha. Other matcha I have from DTH and jkteashop is awful.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby Chasm » Jun 28th, '11, 17:21

lkj23 wrote:Yesterday I drink my first high quality matcha from Japan and my face is like this :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: very impresed with diference.


Heh, this was my reaction to my first quality sencha. Was I ever surprised.

What was the matcha you liked so much?
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby hopeofdawn » Jun 28th, '11, 17:31

Chasm wrote:
lkj23 wrote:Yesterday I drink my first high quality matcha from Japan and my face is like this :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: very impresed with diference.


Heh, this was my reaction to my first quality sencha. Was I ever surprised.

What was the matcha you liked so much?


I'm curious too! In fact, I'd love recommendations from anyone on what matchas I should try, if I want to go for something less astringent/bitter ... Do I have to go for the koicha grade matcha, or are there other varieties other there that might be a little easier on my poor wallet? :)
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby Chasm » Jun 28th, '11, 18:10

Well, I wouldn't expect matcha at that price point not to taste bitter. Lots of people like bitter drinks, so that doesn't make it bad by any means.

But bitter is easy to produce, and a lack of it takes more work and skill. I get results I'm happy with using O-Cha's 'Organic Matcha "Kaoru"' and the methods I described above, and I really don't care for bitterness. So upping the grade of matcha might help.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby lkj23 » Jun 28th, '11, 19:29

I have tried 2, have more waiting :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Kiri no mori from o-cha and Yame Matcha Sansui from zencha.

Both are very good but I prefer sansui from zencha.
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby Chasm » Jun 28th, '11, 19:34

Let us know how the tastings go!
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby lkj23 » Jun 28th, '11, 19:44

Sansui from zencha I think it has chocolate fragance. Is a little sweet, 0 biterness and very yummy. In kiri no mori I found some flavor notes that don´t like, but in general is a very good matcha

But this is only my opinion, I´m a bigginer
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Re: Proper Matcha Taste

Postby Chasm » Jun 28th, '11, 19:49

Now I'm tempted to try the sansui from zencha. Your description sounds delicious.

I've tried the Kiri no Mori also, and I liked it well enough, but nowhere near as much as the Kaoru Organic. I'm a sucker for sweetness and grassiness, so if you don't like those flavors, pay no attention to my recommendations. :mrgreen:
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