Tuesday Tea - Blind Taste Test, 12 Matcha Teas Compared #Sponsored

This week, along with several other bloggers, I'm undertaking one of the largest projects I've attempted yet during Tuesday Tea— a blind taste test of 12 different culinary grade matcha samples. The teas selected for this blind taste test are among the best selling brands of matcha found on Amazon. The samples were provided by Robert from Red Leaf Tea (who included two of his teas as samples to be judged.) To keep things fair, the selection of participating bloggers and handling of data was taken care of by Amanda from My Thoughts are Like Butterflies.

Matcha Blind Taste Test - Not Starving Yet

Judging Criteria


I was asked to rate the samples based on three criteria: color, flavor, and sweetness. These three scores were added up, then divided by 3 to give an overall score. Once I had my scores finalized I was asked to fill out a form and submit my data, only then would I be sent the information on which brands I was rating.
 

Process


3 ounces of water at 175°F, 1 teaspoon of matcha, served in a stoneware matcha bowl and whisked with a small kitchen whisk (I don't have a traditional matcha whisk.)

All samples were consumed immediately without any additions such as sugar or milk. 

I opted not to take notes on how well the samples frothed when whisked because a kitchen whisk doesn't work nearly as well as a traditional matcha whisk. 
 

Summary


There was a surprising division in quality of the twelve samples. I found that they could easily be grouped into low, medium, and high quality. The lowest rated teas were incredibly bitter and had a grainy texture that was very off-putting. There was very little difference in scores for this group and I found them all difficult to consume.

Sample 7 – Kazu – Organic Matcha 2/10

Sample 8 – Matcha DNA – Organic Matcha 2/10

Sample 10 – uVernal – Organic Matcha 2.67/10

The teas in the middle of the pack had a mixture of sweet and bitter flavors. The texture was somewhat grainy, which kept most them from scoring higher. I feel like these would be better options for baking, where the stronger flavor would be an asset and the difference in texture would not be as noticeable.

The highest rated teas all stood out for their sweetness and pleasant texture, but the other differences were more subtle. Again there was very little difference in scoring. The difference between first and second place was less than a point. After crunching the numbers I found that I actually had two first place and two second place winners. I feel like this could be narrowed down slightly more if we had a fourth scoring criteria— perhaps based on texture or the ability to maintain a good froth. 

Sample 9 – Kiss Me Organics 8/10

Sample 11 – Red Leaf Tea Starter Matcha 8/10

Sample 6 – Terra Verve Organic Matcha 9.17/10

Sample 12 – Red Leaf Tea Deluxe Matcha 9.17/10

When faced with the top four samples, I would be happy with either of the first place winners. Sample 6 from Terra Verve had the flavor that most closely resembled what I expect matcha to taste like. Sample 12 from Red Leaf Tea had a strong floral flavor that I've never seen in a matcha before, but enjoyed immensely.
 

Which Matcha Would I Choose?


It all depends on how I would be consuming the matcha.

For every day drinking I'd be slightly more prone to purchase the deluxe matcha from Red Leaf Tea, but only because it was significantly less expensive than the matcha from Terra Verve ($1.56 per ounce vs $8.52 per ounce.) It's a very affordably priced matcha. 

If I were serving the matcha to guests, I'd spend the extra money on the Terra Verve. It has a more neutral flavor that I think would be pleasing to a wider number of people. 

For culinary purposes I would choose one of the second place winners, the Starter Matcha from Red Leaf Tea. The slightly nutty flavor would work well in most culinary applications. It also happens to be the least expensive of the 12 samples tested (which means I don't have to feel guilty about wasting expensive matcha when my kitchen experiments don't work out the first few times.)

For more information on ratings, price point, and origin please continue reading the individual results.
 

Individual Results

Matcha Organics – 100% Organic Matcha

Origin: China
Price: $6.24 per ounce

Color: 4
Flavor: 4
Sweetness: 4

Notes: Mildly bitter, with a tart flavor and grainy texture.

Tradition – Green Tea Powder

Sample 2 – Tradition – Green Tea Powder 5.33/10

Origin: Taiwan
Price: $1.22 per ounce

Color: 6
Flavor: 5
Sweetness: 5

Notes: Mildly bitter, slightly sweet, with a grainy texture. 

Doctor King – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Origin: Japan
Price: $6.00 per ounce

Color: 7
Flavor: 5
Sweetness: 6

Notes: Sweet and bitter with a grainy texture.

One Organic – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Sample 4 – One Organic – Organic Matcha 4.67/10

Origin: China
Price: $2.27 per ounce

Color: 5
Flavor: 4
Sweetness: 5

Notes: Mildly bitter, with an odd flavor.

Enzo – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Origin: China
Price: $5.50 per ounce

Color: 5
Flavor: 3
Sweetness: 3

Notes: Very bitter, didn't enjoy the texture. Would not drink again.

TerraVerve – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Sample 6 – Terra Verve Organic Matcha 9.17/10

Origin: Japan
Price: $8.52 per ounce

Color: 9
Flavor: 9.5
Sweetness: 9

Notes: Sweet, mild grassy flavor. One of my favorites.

Kazu – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Sample 7 – Kazu – Organic Matcha 2/10

Origin: Unknown
Price: $1.93 per ounce

Color: 2
Flavor: 2
Sweetness: 2

Notes: Very bitter, with an aftertaste of mint. Would not drink again, although I'm curious how it would fair in a smoothie or latte. The mint flavor was interesting.

Matcha DNA – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Origin: China
Price: $2.47 per ounce

Color: 2
Flavor: 2
Sweetness: 2

Notes: Very bitter, would not drink again

Kiss Me Organics – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Sample 9 – Kiss Me Organics 8/10

Origin: China
Price: $6.25 per ounce

Color: 9
Flavor: 7
Sweetness: 8

Notes: Sweet with a vegetal flavor similar to green beans

uVernal – Organic Matcha, Culinary Grade

Sample 10 – uVernal – Organic Matcha 2.67/10

Origin: China
Price: $6.25 per ounce

Color: 3
Flavor: 2
Sweetness: 3

Notes: Very bitter, would not drink again

Red Leaf Tea – 100% Organic Starter Matcha, Culinary Grade

Sample 11 – Red Leaf Tea Starter Matcha 8/10

Origin: China
Price: $0.94 per ounce

Color: 6
Flavor: 9
Sweetness: 9

Notes: Sweet and nutty with a slightly grainy texture

Red Leaf Tea – 100% Organic Deluxe Matcha, Culinary Grade

Sample 12 – Red Leaf Tea Deluxe Matcha 9.17/10

Origin: China
Price: $1.56 per ounce

Color: 9
Flavor: 9
Sweetness: 9.5

Notes: Sweet and heavily floral, no bitterness or grainy texture. One of my favorites.

Graphs

Rating vs Price
Average Rating
Matcha Scores

 

Disclosure


In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Red Leaf Tea has sponsored this post. I was provided with 12 samples, a sugar stick, and an ink pen. Upon completion I will be compensated for this review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links.  I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.