I am writing one review for three offerings from Matcha Outlet (formerly Red Leaf Tea). All three are of Japanese origin. All three are culinary grade.
First a little background – I have sampled literally dozens of powder green teas. While I enjoy most tea types, I find I personally have never gotten the matcha bug. I just never crave a bowl of straight matcha. So I am possibly not the best source of guidance on the subject. I do drink a daily cold latte made with milk, sweetener, and culinary grade green tea powder. For the last couple years I have been using Deluxe Matcha which started as a highly floral powder from China. Lately it has become more earthy and far less floral. So, time to see if I want to keep it or find a replacement. On to the review -
All three samples are a deeper green than any Chinese tea I’ve sampled. They are pretty much identical in appearance. All three mix easily and foam well. One thing about the foam, it is a light foam. What I mean is that while the whole cup of tea foams, it is not dense compared to the Chinese tea I’ve been using. No explanation or understanding of why.
I’ve used all three to make multiple lattes and today I made individual cups of straight matcha to try and get a better feel for the differences. I think I have a bit more understanding now. Initial tasting shows very little variation between the three. Really they are very close.
Without knowing the price, my order of preference matched up with cost. That helped reassure my experience with each was at least on the right track. Again these are very close.
The Ryori is like the base model of the three. As a straight cup it has just a small amount of bitter, and is slightly sweet. It is vegetal, green, and seaweed in flavor.
The Haru is step up to my palette. It is more umami in taste. That makes it seem slightly drier. This is more what I expected.
The Oishi raises the bar just a bit higher by being a little more green tasting or possibly it is just a little sweeter while retaining the umami note.
All three are drinkable on there own. That kind of surprised me. Most culinary grade teas are not suitable for drinking straight. What I also notice is compared to Chinese powder, these can easily get lost in a latte. Or probably I just used to a more outspoken variety.
Is this going to be my replacement matcha? All three are as good as and better than most other culinary grade teas I’ve tried. All except the Deluxe Matcha from Matcha Outlet, which I still prefer even if the taste has changed with time. Until DM gets retired I’ll stick with it. If you prefer a more traditional and less floral flavor then any of these will be a good option.