2 Tasting Notes
This. Is. Awesome. It’s everything I love about green tea — that seemingly disparate flavors and scents harmonize. Here, a the vegetal quality gets smoothed out by both a velvet mouthfeel and the “sweetness” that good matchas are purported to have. It’s really its own variety of green — lush, wet grass and moss, a hint of seaweed, faint butterscotch, and what I imagine to be dewy tea leaves on the branch. For reference, Aiya says that its Premium Matcha is made from the same gyokuro. The result of processing the tea into matcha powder brings out robust spinach-like aspects, while retaining the sweetness. (I do a “thin” unfroth-y preparation.)
I love both, depending on my mood, but the whole leaves yield such an amazing, bright green liquor and silky smoothness that I reach for this more. It’s expensive, but well worth it. I brew it according to the instructions, which uses a very low temperature and 4 minutes brewing time. I no longer have the tin, so I can’t remember which temp it is, so I recommend following Aiya’s instructions. Hotter temps (165˚F +) ruin this tea with bitterness. And shorter brewing times (1.5-2 mins, as with Aiya’s sencha and genmaitcha) do not bring out the qualities of this precious leaf.
Flavors: Butterscotch, Freshly Cut Grass, Seaweed, Sweet
Pouchongs retain a top spot in my lineup, as their low oxidation yields delicate flavors, uncluttered with the metallic after-qualities that darker teas can bring. This is a lovely tea with distinctly floral qualities. Rishi cites orchid and lilac. I’ve never smelled scented orchids, but this falls in line with other so-called orchid oolongs. Other florals are hinted, sans the headiness of actual lilacs.
It’s flavor is well worth exploring if you lean towards nuttier, pan-fired Chinese greens (e.g. Dragonwell, Melon Seed) — as opposed to grassier, velvety Japanese varieties (Sencha, Gyokuro). It’s nutty, green qualities are muted and rounded out on the first one or two brewings. Subsequent brewings bring out more vegetative aspects and heighten the florals in my trials. It’s here that a bit of “iron” comes in.
This is my 7th day with this tea, and I’m still experimenting with different temps and times (and oolongs/pouchongs in general), so it’s hard to recommend specifics.