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Recent Tasting Notes
Got a bag of this and well, it’s not often I make 1 liter of tea so not sure why I bought it lol. I almost always gongfu cha it. Been drinking it cold brew and it’s pretty good. I think it’s overrated on Amazon but it is still decent barley tea. Good roasted flavor, roasted barley notes, that is. I think I prefer my barley even more roasted for a fuller flavor but it’s still a very convenient way to make it since they come in bags for 1 liter.
Flavors: Roasted, Roasted Barley, Toasty
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From the matcha powder residue left behind in the pouch, I thought this might be a brightly colored tea. Well, that and the picture on the box. Instead, it’s a dark brew with no discernible flavor of matcha. Or green tea, for that matter. It tastes instead like a peppermint herbal, and a dull one at that. Maybe it’s because I’ve just had better peppermint teas recently, or maybe this isn’t one of the better quality tea bags out there. Either way, it’s really just a mediocre and lackluster cup. This was shared with me by a coworker who primarily drinks peppermint green teas. I only had the one bag of this so fortunately I don’t have to worry about drinking more of it.
So I’ve been drinking a lot of this lately.
Turns out I love Matcha Lattes. Either that or I’ve been drinking so many that I’ve grown to love them. Either way, the single-serve packets weren’t enough anymore so I graduated to a canister.
Now, I’m going to admit, I have next to ZERO experience with Matcha. I’m very new at this stuff. So I’m going to relate how I make a Matcha Latte… and It is, in fact, all wrong.
1. Fill an empty water bottle with cold milk
2. Measure out 1 tsp of Matcha
3. Add Matcha to Bottle
4. Add 2 Splenda Packets.
5. Shake the bejeezus out of it.
It works well enough.
Anyway, with that preparation in mind, this stuff is pretty much the same as the single-serve packets. I honestly see no difference. I’ve also prepared this in water and it’s pretty strong when made in water. Huge green flavor. But without the milk to temper it, it’s pretty offputting (to me). So I almost always make it with milk.
Now, with milk. I have tried about every type of milk imaginable with this. Every time I have to almost throw my shoulder out shaking it before it dissolves. I don’t have this problem with Water (boom, instant swamp), but with milk, I swear for the first minute of shaking it looks like bubble tea the clumps of matcha are so prevalent. Taste as a latte though is really good. Great froth. Love the froth. Foamy goodness.
I haven’t tried this hot yet, so I can’t give my opinion on that yet. But I will say that between this and the matcha latte’s at Starbucks, this one is more smooth and mild.
Take it as it is. Like I said, I’m new to this realm of tea.
(Copied and pasted because I realized I was in the wrong place)
Well, this is my second try with this, and while the consistency is better, I can’t say much for the flavor.
The first time I mixed this up, I tried to make a latte. I heated some milk and mixed in one packet. Unfortunately, it clumped and balled like mad and I ended up with a metric ton of green goo at the bottom of my mug, while the “latte” just tasted like milk.
So, today, I got a bottle of ice-cold water and tried to do it just like it said – one packet to one bottle. Then I shook the crap out of it. Well, it blended much better, but the taste isn’t the best. It is pretty bitter and blech, and while I have come to appreciate a strong grassy flavor, I found myself needing to add something to this to make it drinkable. I will say that one Splenda in the bottle made a world of difference as it tempered the bitterness but left the grass flavor. But at this point, I don’t know how much of the blech is my not being a pure matcha fan, how much is I don’t like cold matcha (my previous experiences were with hot matcha lattes) or how much is this brand is just bad. It’s frustrating because I really wanted to like this.
Oh well. More research is needed.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass
Another ugly ass matcha green tea from today. This one’s pretty dang brown in my cup. It’s thick and very grassy and mineral with the jasmine scenting reminding me of cheap jasmine green teabags. Weird thing: some sencha can be buttery. This one is. The butter flavor and thickness do not mix well with jasmine scenting.
I feel very calm after drinking this one, just like I would drinking any other Japanese green with high theanine and catechin content. That’s a major plus.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Grass, Jasmine, Mineral, Thick
I picked up a bottle of this at Mitsuwa today instead of my usual Ito-En Golden Oolong and Green Tea. I’m surprised at how much I liked it because I usually don’t care for hojicha and roasted teas in general. This is a roasty tea for sure, but not aggressively so. It’s really smooth and gentle with a nutty flavor and a soft, faint oily finish. It’s very warming (even chilled) and comforting like genmaicha. The taste is similar to a roasted oolong and reminded me of Golden Oolong except this one is darker and doesn’t have the floral-cinnamon notes.
For a bottled tea, this was outstanding and probably the best hojicha I’ve ever had. Its miles above your standard grocery store bottled tea, although that’s generally true for most Ito-en teas. This would be a great summer drink and makes me want to branch out from my standard green teas to explore hojicha.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Nutty, Roasted, Smooth
Okay, actually I have this in tea bag form. So prepared hot. I have no idea where I get it, but; looks fresh.
Opened the foil wrapping with my carpet cutter (well, collection, you know :D) and lots of dust went out. A matcha? Anyway, I wanted a green tea today and it is a green tea.
Heated the kettle, the cup, in the cup it goes… Forgot completely make notes about dry leaf! Here is it!
Dry aroma was very strong, I noticed lots of fresh peas, while my brother thought it is rather freshly mowed grass. Both of us are right I guess, then some vergetal notes, and at laste (but not least) buttery and umami.
Added water, about 76°C if my thermometer don´t lie. On bag is just “pour boiled water”. Hehe, 30 seconds steep? Nope here, as I probably used much bigger cup than they mean I used 90 seconds. And tea looks done. A cloudy, lime green liquor. Quite light.
Flavours, taste, whatever you call it. Vegetal, buttery, maybe bit nutty. But tasty green tea. It is 6 pm, and I am drinking probably quite strong green tea? Great, I won´t sleep I guess. So what?
If you get lucky to get it hot, I can recommend it fully! There are better green teas, not so buttery, but up to each one taste.
Flavors: Butter, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Umami
Uh I mean it’s a good strong matcha drink shot in a can.
For an Ito-En, generic but solid company, they can’t mess up. nothing remarkable but it’s a solid matcha with no odd or artificial aftertastes. For those unaccustomed to making matcha you definitely can use this in drink mixes, probably easier. I also enjoy it with sparkling water if I had the time/resources in my cabinet.
But the main reason I feel most people get this is the same reason they get canned coffee. Easy to drink, easy to transport and you need that caffeine. I got these at work all the time back when I worked near a Japanese supermarket. Also a steady flow of energy with no crash, unlike coffee.
It must be said – I am NOT A FAN of standard green teas. Having recently found out I was brewing them too hot (boiling water – URGH!), I have revisited a number of them. While this does reduce the bitterness, I was disappointed that they still taste like, well grass. Not that I have eaten grass, but they taste like it smells (or rather what cut grass smells like after it starts to dry out, something Aussies really know about because of the recent droughts). And because green tea has been advocated for good health, I REALLY wanted to like it…
Well, after much searching I may have found my go-to green tea.
The advantage is this one is designed to drink hot or cold! On that basis I bought two 20 infuser boxes on a twofer deal, so thank goodness I like it…
Admittedly I have only tried it cold so far, but the matcha/green tea combo means the grassy taste of the green tea comes through but doesn’t dominate. There’s that lovely earthy umami taste the matcha adds.
I added the teabag to my water bottle & left it in, as the taste wasn’t that strong even after 3 mins. I imaging if you leave it in indefinitely the typical green tea bitterness will start to dominate, so maybe about 5 mins max, or if you’re a fast water drinker, just finish the bottle!
I’ll have to try it hot next – they recommend the very short steeping time of 30 secs (time for 3-4 dunks) so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
NOTE – I dropped a bag in to cold infuse before heading to work (about 15 mins drive). Then got distracted by said work, so at least 20-30 mins before my first sip and yes, BITTER. So about 5-10 mins maximum seems to be the optimum time.
Flavors: Earth, Grass, Umami
The initial smell of this tea is sweet and inviting. The color is also nice and bright. I made it according to the package directions. I used a chashaku to scoop the tea, 3 ounces of water at ~ 170 degrees, and a chasen to whisk the tea.
The tea was bitter and grassy as I expected, but it was very underwhelming. The flavor was not quite as strong as I had hoped it would be from just smelling it. Next time I will try to use 2 ounces of water to see if that makes a difference.
Each bag of this barley tea is pretty prolific and brews 1-2 liters of fine cold brew tea!! It’s refreshing and simple, tastes like bready barley. If you’re looking to replace literally all of the water you drink with something refreshing that you probably can’t get sick of, this is your jam. One day I’ll get around to brewing it hot.
P.S. I ran out of lemonade once and made a “barley pick” with this tea iced, some good vodka and a little zero-cal sweetener. Absolutely amazing and probably dangerous.
P.P.S. one order of this tea comes with approx. one hundred billion very large bags. This is an extremely cost effective iced tea.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Roasted Barley
This is probably one of my absolute favorites. When blended well, it’s sooooo smooth, and nothing needs to be added to it in order to make it the perfect cup. It just is. If you happen across this at the store, do yourself a favor and try it out.
I need a pick me up. I have to keep going for at least another 90 minutes. I decided I need to drink up some of my older matcha but I think I will change my mind on that. Now that I have had Harney and Sons matcha, this one made me a little sad.
It isn’t terrible and isn’t the worst matcha I have ever had, but life is short and I don’t need to waste time drinking things I don’t love. This is now being relegated to matcha latte stash. This is my last bowl of this one straight. No guilt. No shame.
A quick cup for a pick me up this afternoon. Two scoops, paste made with cold water, 160F water added and whisked, three chocolate squares consumed. And I made it! Trip to grocery, post office, bank, and….ahem….the liquor store, for vodka that I use to clean the chicken coop, preserve my homemade juju, and make vanilla extract. Yes, really. I don’t drink the stuff! It seems quite horrible to me, honestly.
This is a very drinkable matcha, though it doesn’t hold a candle to the now defunct KaiMatcha Premium. I miss you, KMP!
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one, as I have had it quite a few times.
Yesterday I saw a video on Facebook of a tea master making Matcha. He used cold water to make the paste and it said you didn’t need to sift if you do this. I do always begin with a paste using sifted matcha, but always the same water I am making the matcha with – around 160F. I decided to give his method a try.
I consider it a success. At first I thought I was going to have some clumps but they dissolved well. I probably used a little more cold water than I should have. Next time I will make a thicker paste. I added two scoops of powder because I have a headache and a lot left to do today.
I really believe this is the thickest, loveliest froth I have ever seen for this matcha. As sticky and muggy as it is outside, I do not mourn the loss of a degree or two of temperature in the cha wan.
As for the matcha itself, it was a super economical buy and tastes good enough to drink as a daily drinker. It still doesn’t beat D25 or KaiMatcha Premium, which sadly seems to have gone out of business. But for the price and for a quick afternoon bowl of sustaining matcha, I’ll take it! Grassy, not sour, sweet and smooth enough to stand above culinary grade.
I’m really surprised this has so few reviews, considering you can buy this at asian grocery stores and health food stores all across America.
Skip this section if you don’t like anecdotes in reviews!
I had the pleasure/honor/curse of reviewing about 70 different matchas in a blind taste test a couple years ago for a company that sells matcha. This was done to help the vendor evaluate their products and decide on new matchas to source. Among the blind samples were also samples from other companies and vendors. The idea was that rating and ranking these teas would help this vendor understand how their matcha compared in quality and value to those from other companies. The experience was really fun, and at the same time daunting, and the end result was I burned out on matcha so badly I didn’t drink it for a year!
Now the matcha spark has been relit in me because I saw a beautiful chawan in an Asian market that I just had to buy. I’ve been broke this past year due to a move to my first house and various other factors, so for me it’s been rare to order or review any new teas. I feel like a ghost here since I used to be so active. Anyway, this matcha love usucha cost me a whopping $6 because Sprouts Farmer’s Market had it on sale for $10 and was running a $4 coupon at the same time. What better opportunity to try it?
Actual review begins here!
This was actually one of the matchas included in a blind taste test I did a couple years ago, but it has been so long since I had matcha that when I bought a tin of this recently I decided to just try this one over again before reading my initial evaluation from that taste test, give it a fresh chance.
I do want to share my initial impression though here. My initial rating for this tea back then was only 40/100. My notes read “This tea doesn’t leave a very strong impression. The scent and color were inviting, but the flavor is lacking and finishes moderately bitter. I’m mostly getting a seaweed impression from the flavor, and it’s a bit creamy as well. The bitter finish is unfortunate and really subtracts from the subtle flavors, which in themselves aren’t that easy to discern.”
Now, trying this again a couple years later, are my impressions the same? Has the company changed their product in any way? Let’s give it a try. I’m preparing this the traditional (a.k.a. ceremonial) way with the matcha whisked in about 2.5 oz of water.
This time around, I’ll start by saying the color and aroma are nice. The powder is a nice jade green. It’s not a very vivid color, but it is at least green and not tending toward the dingy yellows and browns of terrible matchas. The scent is sweet, mild, and nutty. The taste is, let’s be honest, rather unremarkable and difficult to describe. In fact, I’m just going to stick with my original description because I think that was a pretty accurate one!
I will say, I have been using this matcha also in soy-milk iced matcha lattes as well as for matcha affogato, and I’ve found both applications to be pretty good. This is not a matcha I’d recommend for traditional use unless you are like me and are scraping the bottom of your savings, yet desperate for matcha. For the modern “froufrou” uses, this one is just fine. I have to say I recall this tasting better a few weeks ago when I opened the tin. I haven’t stored it in refrigeration so I think maybe the powder has just gone “off” a bit since then. I feel pretty neutral about this matcha, so I’ll up my initial review score to a nice even 50. I don’t really feel it is good or bad. It’s just (barely) matcha. Take it or leave it.
I think for the price of this matcha though, you can do better. The tin seems cheaper than others but I only recently realized that it’s also because it is smaller than most that are available Stateside. Most matcha tins I’ve seen hold an ounce, while this one holds just over 2/3 of an ounce. The catch reveals itself.
Flavors: Bitter, Nutty, Seaweed, Vegetal