Tuesday Tea - Organic Ceremonial Matcha Gold Class - Midori Spring #Sponsored

Tea Review: Organic Ceremonial Matcha Gold Class- Midori Spring

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been overwhelmed by the recent holidays (and influx of junk food that comes with it) so for our final Tuesday Tea post of 2015 I wanted to share something a bit more healthy than usual—a Ceremonial Grade Matcha from Midori Spring. I mentioned this particular matcha briefly during the Matcha Blind Taste Test earlier this year and the company was kind enough to provide me with a full tin of their latest harvest to share with you today. 

I've been a tea lover for years, but 2015 was the year I decided to learn more about matcha. It's been a hot topic as of late—some even go so far as to call it a super food. If you've heard anything about this tea before, then you've likely read about the variety of health claims ranging from increased focus to cancer prevention associated with it. I don't normally pay much attention to claims like these when selecting a new tea, I prefer to enjoy it based on flavor alone, but as I've begun to incorporate it into my diet on a regular basis I've noticed it does live up to some of the hype (although most of the claims are impossible for the average person to prove.)

Unlike many teas matcha is highly caffeinated, which helps contribute to increased focus and mental clarity (two of the claims I hear most often associated with it.) Yet unlike coffee, which many people consume for the same reasons, it doesn't have the tendency to leave people feeling jittery. Although I highly recommend eating something before you drink it, it packs a caffeinated punch, especially on an empty stomach.

As far as preparation goes, it's relatively simple. You can use the more traditional method involving a specialized bowl, scoop, and whisk or a more modern method—it's entirely up to you. I've found that the quickest way to prepare matcha is to use a large bowl or cup and water that is around 165ºF. Add a little bit of water to the bowl to warm it up, add ½ teaspoon of matcha, then use a whisk or milk frother to form a thick paste. Once all of the lumps have been removed you can continue to add water until the tea has reached the proper consistency and whisk until there is a layer of foam on top. Generally you'll use ½ teaspoon of matcha per 2-3 ounces of water, but you can always play around with the ratios, as long as you keep in mind it will subtly alter the flavor and texture.

If you're trying matcha for the first time you'll notice the flavor is unlike the green teas you're already familiar with. Midori Spring matcha is slightly sweet, tastes of fresh-cut grass, and has a hint of astringency, or bitterness, at the end. I'll fully admit the flavor isn't for everyone, but I'll encourage you not to give up on it if you aren't immediately a fan. You can always try adding a little bit into a smoothie or yogurt, then increase the amount a little at a time to allow your taste buds to adjust. The good news is that each matcha is a little bit different, so if you try one and aren't immediately a fan, you can always try again until you find one with the perfect combination of flavor and texture that appeals to you. 

Would I order this again? Possibly. This matcha comes from Japan, is organic, has a pleasant flavor and texture, and a brilliant green color (which is associated with high-quality matcha.) It's not a bad place to start if you're looking at trying matcha for the first time, especially if you don't mind (or really enjoy) a hint of bitterness. There are other brands that I prefer more, but I prefer my matcha without that hint of astringency.

 

Where to Purchase

Additional Information


Tea Description

Midori Spring's Ceremonial Gold Matcha is rich, smooth and creamy with a hint of sweetness when brewed traditionally. This premium product is Ceremonial Grade and is Organic (USDA, JAS), Vegan and Kosher (OU) Certified. We only select the best raw material from our tea gardens mostly from Aichi and Kagoshima in Japan and maintain the highest standards in production.

Our Matcha has a fresh, sweet, green-vegetable-like aroma. The color is a vibrant emerald green. Only high quality Ceremonial Grade Matcha encompass these features. You can enjoy Midori Spring's Ceremonial Gold Matcha the traditional way by brewing or you can create your own Matcha inspired recipe. Whichever style you choose to have your Matcha, you can experience the many health benefits it has to offer.

Disclosure


In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that this sample was provided to me free of charge by Midori Spring. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday Tea - Blind Taste Test - Ceremonial Grade Matcha Part 2 #Sponsored

We're finally at the end of the Matcha Blind Taste Test and I have to say that it's been a real learning experience. The chance to compare the different brands side-by-side gave me the perfect opportunity to see where the best value was and if spending a little more would give me a better quality matcha. With this round I discovered that the most expensive matcha was not necessarily the best quality and in fact some of the less expensive brands were the ones who had the highest rating.

Matcha Blind Taste Test - Ceremonial Grade Part 2

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. 
 

Which Matcha Would I Choose?

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

I decided to split up the Ceremonial Grade Matcha test into two parts because we had so many samples. If you missed part 1 you can find it here. Keep on reading below for the complete results of the taste test.

Tea Review - Ito En Matcha LOVE Classic

Sample 25 – Ito En Matcha LOVE™ Classic 7.75/10

Origin: Uji, Japan
Price: $24.29 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9/10
Flavor: 6/10
Sweetness: 8/10
Value: 8/10

Notes: This is a matcha that I think will appeal to a wide audience. It's flavor is somewhat toasty and doesn't taste overly vegetal. It's more sweet that many of the samples we've tested and doesn't have much of a bitter note. The price falls square in the middle of the pack, so I think it's an excellent value.

Tea Review - Yunomi Gokou Matcha

Sample B – Yunomi Gokou Matcha 8/10

Origin: Kyoto, Japan
Price: $24.43 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 9/10
Flavor: 9/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Value: 8/10

Notes: This matcha has a scent and flavor similar to fresh cut grass. It falls mid-way between sweet and bitter, giving it a good balance. If you prefer your matcha thin with a light flavor, then this is a great pick. Added Bonus: it barely needed any sifting at all (always a plus if you don't have a sifter!)

Tea Review - Ito En Koto No Tsuki Matcha

Sample 26 – Ito En Koto No Tsuki Matcha 7.5/10

Origin: Uji, Japan
Price: $27.86 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 9/10
Flavor: 8/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Value: 7/10

Notes: This matcha had a great color and a flavor similar to seaweed. The flavor leaned slightly more towards sweet, but it did have a bitter finish to it. It's not one of my top picks, but is one I'd definitely consider purchasing in the future.

Tea Review - Epic Matcha

Sample 27 – Epic Matcha 4.75/10

Origin: Japan
Price: $28.27 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 6/10
Flavor: 3/10
Sweetness: 5/10
Value: 5/10

Notes: My least favorite of the bunch. The color was yellow and dingy, not at all what I expected from a ceremonial grade matcha with such a high price tag. The flavor was mildly sweet, but it had an off almost burnt plastic taste to it. 

Tea Review - Yunomi Uji Hikari Matcha

Sample C – Yunomi Uji Hikari Matcha 8.25/10

Origin: Kyoto, Japan
Price: $28.30 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

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

Notes: One of our top picks! This matcha had the most vibrant color of the bunch and whisked up well (even with my crummy kitchen whisk.) The flavor was light, with sweet fruity notes. I definitely see an order of this in my future, it's delicious!

Tea Review - Aiya Ceremonial Organic Matcha

Sample 28 – Aiya Ceremonial Organic 6.5/10

Origin: Nishio, Japan
Price: $29.60 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

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

Notes: The color and flavor of this matcha were nice, but it had a bitter finish that I didn't care for. Overall the flavor was light and grassy. It's not one I'm likely to order again, but I really don't care for bitter matcha.

Tea Review - KENKO Matcha Ceremonial Grade

Origin: Nishio, Japan
Price: $30.16 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

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

Notes: Overall this was a solid matcha. The color was bright green, the flavor light and fruity, and it was more sweet than bitter. It is one of the more expensive samples, but one I'd be happy to order again.

Tea Review - Red Leaf Tea Tanabata Matcha

Origin: Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Price: $34.99 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 8/10
Flavor: 4/10
Sweetness: 3/10
Value: 5/10

Notes: I had question marks next to samples 30 and 31 when I conducted the test. They tasted very similar and I thought they may have been the same matcha, just from different vendors. It turns out I was right, but sample 30 had an off flavor to it as if it was either old or hadn't been stored properly. It also failed to give any sort of froth when whisked.

Tea Review - Aiya Premium Matcha

Sample 31 – Aiya Premium 6.5/10

Origin: Nishio, Japan
Price: $48.00 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 8/10
Flavor: 7/10
Sweetness: 5/10
Value: 6/10

Notes: While the color and flavor of this matcha were nice it's one that I'm very likely to pass on. At $48 per ounce I don't feel it's worth the price, there are a number of other brands that cost significantly less and deliver a tastier product.

 

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.

Tuesday Tea - Matcha Blind Taste Test - Round 2 Mid-Grade Matcha #Sponsored

This week we're at it again, we're comparing 9 samples mid-level grade matcha in our matcha blind taste test sponsored by Red Leaf Tea. We've already given you our best picks for best budget matcha and best matcha found on Amazon, now we'll see what kind of quality you'll get when you spend a little extra money. 

Matcha Blind Taste Test - Mid Grade Matcha

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. 
 

Which Matcha Would I Choose?

Our winners for this round were clear KAZUMA Organic Ceremonial Grade was my top pick because of it's silky smooth texture and sweet, fruity flavor.

Kennin Matcha from Red Leaf Tea was my second pick. It was the most expensive matcha in this group, but I loved the silky-smooth texture and nutty flavor. If it weren't so expensive I'd recommend it for baking, I think the nutty flavor would be fabulous in a wide variety of desserts, but there are other less expensive options out there for culinary purposes.

Another good choice is the DoMatcha 2nd Harvest MatchaIt had a lightly grassy flavor and slight sweetness that I found pleasant. It even comes in it's own tin, which I prefer to matcha sold in bags.

Sample 6 – Red Leaf Tea Royal Matcha 6.5/10

Origin: China
Price: $9.99 per ounce (or as low as $4.99, depending on size)
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 5/10
Flavor: 6/10
Sweetness: 7/10
Value: 8/10

Notes: This matcha from Red Leaf Tea was middle of the road in color, but had a pleasant vegetal flavor. What kept it from scoring higher during the taste test was the fact that the flavor was almost too light, it needed a little more depth.

Sample 7 – DoMatcha 2nd Harvest Matcha 7.25/10

Origin: Japan
Price: $10.55 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

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

Notes: I was excited to find this in our mix for the blind taste test (it was one that I suggested for this round since I've heard great things about it.) The flavor was light and grassy with a good dose of sweetness. It really stood out against the competition and is one of my top picks. Added bonus: it comes in a tin for easy storage.

Origin: Kagoshima, Japan
Price: $12.51 per ounce
Packaging: Tin

Color: 6/10
Flavor: 4/10
Sweetness: 3/10
Value: 5/10

Notes: This is an organic version of the previous tea and also one of our lowest scoring for this round. It had a bitter flavor and unpleasant gritty texture, despite sifting. This is proof that paying more for organic doesn't always guarantee a better product. I'd save a few dollars and buy the standard DoMatcha 2nd Harvest instead.

Origin: Japan
Price: $12.83 per ounce
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

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

Notes: This was the clear winner for this round. It fell into the middle of the pack as far as price and is well worth spending a little extra on. It had near-perfect coloring, smooth texture, and even frothed well with my kitchen whisk (I'd award bonus points for that alone if I could.) The flavor was sweet, slightly fruity, and will appeal to a wide range of tastes.

Sample 10 – Red Leaf Tea Imperial Matcha 5.75/10

Origin: China
Price: $13.99 per ounce (or as low as $6.99, depending on size)
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

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

Notes: I found this matcha to be very middle of the road and it didn't leave much of an impression on me. It was very mellow, not too sweet or too bitter and tasted slightly of freshly cut grass. I think Red Leaf Tea has much better offerings, so I'd pass on this one.

Sample 11 – Red Leaf Tea Shokuku Matcha 2.75/10

Origin: Uji, Japan
Price: $14.99 per ounce (or as low as $7.49, depending on size)
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 4/10
Flavor: 2/10
Sweetness: 3/10
Value: 2/10

Notes:  I was not impressed with this matcha. It's color was yellow and unappealing, it did not froth well, and had an odd flavor to it that I can't quite pin-point. Not the worst of the bunch, but another I would pass on.

Sample 12 – Red Leaf Tea Tenryu Matcha 2.25/10

Origin: Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Price: $14.99 per ounce (or as low as $7.49, depending on size)
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

Color: 2/10
Flavor: 1/10
Sweetness: 5/10
Value: 1/10

Notes:  This matcha had the dubious distinction of being the worst I've sampled to date. It had very poor coloring and an odd paint-like flavor to it. I took two sips, then gave up entirely on it. 

Origin: China
Price: $15.99 per ounce (or as low as $7.99, depending on size)
Packaging: Resealable Pouch

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

Notes: This matcha had a nice color and flavor, but what ultimately kept it from scoring higher was the very bitter finish. It's not a bad matcha, but I'd rather spend a little more per ounce on the Kennin Matcha from Red Leaf Tea.

Sample 14 – Red Leaf Tea Kennin Matcha 8.25/10

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

Color: 9/10
Flavor: 9/10
Sweetness: 7/10
Value: 8/10

Notes:  My second place choice happens to be the highest price matcha from this group. It had one of the nicest colors from this round, a silky-smooth texture, and even whisked well with my kitchen whisk. 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.

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.