Tuesday Tea - Blind Taste Test - Ceremonial Grade Matcha Compared #Sponsored

I've consumed an absolutely crazy amount of matcha over the past few months conducting the matcha blind taste test, so I decided to take a break before I continued on. This set, made up of Ceremonial Grade Matcha, includes 24 samples—that's a lot of matcha! To make things easier on myself I broke it down into 4 parts and conducted the testing over a period of several days. I decided that one person probably shouldn't attempt to drink 24 cups of matcha at once (I'd probably never sleep again.) Today we'll be looking at the results from the first half of the samples.

Round 2 Matcha Blind Taste Test - Ceremonial Grade

Judging Criteria

 

I was asked to rate the samples based on four criteria: color, flavor, sweetness and value. These four scores were added up, then divided by 4 to give an overall score. Only once I had finalized my scores would I be sent the information on which brands I was rating.
 

Process


3 ounces of water at 175°F, 1 teaspoon of matcha (sifted with a Mini Sifter,) served in a stoneware matcha bowl, and whisked with a small kitchen whisk (I don't have a traditional matcha whisk.) 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 or Milk Frother. All samples were consumed immediately without any additions such as sugar or milk. 

Since samples 10 - 13 were also included earlier in Round 2 and none of them faired particularly well I've decided to eliminate them. Hopefully this will make the post today a more manageable size. If you're interested you can read their original scores here.

I decided to split up the Ceremonial Grade Matcha test into two parts because we had so many samples. You can find part 2 here. Keep on reading below for the complete results of the taste test.
 

Which Matcha Would I Choose?

Although truthfully I'd be happy drinking any of the matcha that scored 7.5 or higher

Sample 14 – Red Leaf Tea Kennin Matcha 6.25/10

Origin: Uji, Japan
Price: $16.99 per ounce (or as low as $8.49, depending on size)
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 6/10
Flavor: 7/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Value: 6/10

Notes:  My second place choice from the last portion of the taste test didn't fair nearly as well when compared to higher quality ceremonial grade matcha. It had a nice texture, but not nearly as nice as some of the higher priced samples. I liked it last round because it whisked well with my kitchen whisk, which rarely happens. The bubbles were small and tight, something I seldom see since I'm not using the right tools to make my matcha. The flavor was somewhat sweet with a nutty finish.

Tea Review: Teas' Tea Matcha - Ito En

Sample 15 – Ito En Teas' Tea Matcha 7.5/10

Origin: Uji, Japan
Price: $17.14 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 8/10
Flavor: 7/10
Sweetness: 7/10
Value: 8/10

Notes: This matcha managed to be sweet and savory at the same time. It was an interesting combination. There was a vegetal flavor that was a cross between spinach and fresh cut grass as well as fruity notes. 

Tea Review: Matcha LOVE™ Usucha - Ito En

Sample 16 – Ito En matcha LOVE™ Usucha 8.5/10

Origin: Uji, Japan
Price: $17.14 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9/10
Flavor: 8/10
Sweetness: 8/10
Value: 9/10

Notes: Ito En produces some seriously tasty matcha at a very attractive price. This was among our top scoring matcha teas due to the vibrant color, buttery texture, and nutty flavor. This ended up being one of my favorites from this round and my pick for best budget matcha among the ceremonial grade samples.

Tea Review: Emperor Matcha - Red Leaf Tea

Origin: China
Price: $17.99 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 8/10
Flavor: 7/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Value: 7/10

Notes: I was surprised to find out that this was Emperor Matcha from Red Leaf Tea. I recently finished up a bag that someone bought me for my birthday, but the flavor was nothing like this sample. There was an odd bitter taste at the end of each sip and the flavor was more toasty than I remember. It was an ok matcha, but isn't going to be one of my top choices to order again.

Tea Review: Tofuku Matcha - Red Leaf Tea

Sample 18 – Red Leaf Tea Tofuku Matcha 5/10

Origin: Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Price: $17.99 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 6/10
Flavor: 4/10
Sweetness: 5/10
Value: 5/10

Notes: I'll be honest, I had trouble finishing this sample. The color was a yellow-green and not at all vibrant as I was expecting. The flavor was bitter with hints of seaweed. 

Tea Review: Manju Matcha - Red Leaf Tea

Sample 19 – Red Leaf Tea Manju Matcha 5.25/10

Origin: Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Price: $17.99 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 6/10
Flavor: 7/10
Sweetness: 4/10
Value: 4/10

Notes: Two samples in a row that I had trouble finishing, for much the same reasons. This sample also had a bitter flavor to it, that left me wanting to dump it out. The color was again dull and unappealing, making me wonder if it were past its prime.

Tea Review: Matsuri Matcha - Red Leaf Tea

Origin: Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Price: $19.99 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 7/10
Flavor: 7/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Value: 6/10

Notes: This matcha was slightly sweet, with a hint of bitterness at the finish. It was slightly floral and tasted of fresh cut greens. I found out later that Red Leaf Tea sources this from Aiya, so this is one way to purchases Aiya's Ceremonial Matcha at a lower price.

Tea Review: Premium Ceremonial - Pure Matcha

Origin: Nishio, Japan
Price: $20.75 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9/10
Flavor: 8/10
Sweetness: 8/10
Value: 8/10

Notes: A very lovely matcha indeed! The color was a vibrant green, one of the brightest samples we've had yet. The flavor was outstanding, sweet and almost honey-like, with hints of fresh cut grass. At slightly over $20 per ounce it fell in to the middle of the pack in terms of price, but I feel it is well worth spending a little bit more for this kind of quality.

Tea Review: Misake Matcha Meditation

Sample 22 – Misake Matcha Meditation 6/10

Origin: Nishio, Japan
Price: $23.54 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 6/10
Flavor: 6/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Value: 6/10

Notes: I wasn't particularly impressed with this sample. The color was dull as was the flavor. It leaned more towards bitter than sweet and tasted of grass. I had difficulty getting it to form any bubbles as I whisked it.

Tea Review: Ceremonial Matcha - Midori Spring Organic

Origin: Japan
Price: $23.54 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 7/10
Flavor: 7/10
Sweetness: 8/10
Value: 7.5/10

Notes: This matcha leaned towards the sweet side, with a flavor that reminded me of hay. It whisked well, forming a layer of small, tight bubbles although they dissipated rather quickly. 

Tea Review: Green Tea Ceremonial - DoMatcha

Sample 24 – DoMatcha Green Tea Ceremonial 8.75/10

Origin: Kyoto and Uji, Japan
Price: $23.58 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9/10
Flavor: 9/10
Sweetness: 9/10
Value: 8/10

Notes: I was fairly certain that this sample came from DoMatcha, and I was right! I've ordered it before and will order it again (and again and again.) I love the silky-smooth texture, it makes drinking this matcha an absolute joy. The flavor is mild, with slightly toasted notes and a hint of spice. It's very sweet, without the bitter finish many of the samples in this round have had.

 

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 34 samples of matcha. Upon completion I will be compensated for this series of posts. 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.