Yunomi’s Organic Uji Matcha G1, Ceremonial Grade

Uji Matcha G1, Ceremonial Grade by Yunomi
Green Tea (Matcha) / Straight
$49.99USD for 30g

20180122-yunomiujimatcha Yunomi has provided me with Organic Uji Matcha G1, Ceremonial Grade for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

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Organic Uji Matcha G1, Ceremonial Grade, came to me from Yunomi in a beautiful gold foil resealable bag – the match was inside in a separate foil packet for me to rip open (and I tried so hard not to spill any of the matcha out – I did fail a little bit). This organic matcha comes from Wazuka, Kyoto and was harvested in spring 2016. My personal experience with preparing matcha is quite limited, but I did my best!

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This matcha consists only of green tea. The powder is a bright spring green, I noticed a few clumps in the dry powder – probably from being compressed in the packaging. I would describe the smell of this tea as being grassy – it reminded me a lot of the smell of a freshly cut lawn.

Preparation

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Yunomi recommends mixing 1g (¼ teaspoon) with a small amount of water (70°C/158°F) to make a paste, and then to add water to the desired thickness. What I did was use a bamboo scoop to put a small amount of the matcha into my bowl, and then whisked it with a small amount of water. Once it was clump-free, I added some more water until I had about ¾ of a bowl of match to drink.

First Taste

I’m quite the novice when it comes to matcha, but I did try my best with this one. For the whisking motion, I do a repeated M shape back and forth in the bowl until it seemed clump-free and well mixed in, although I never did manage to get a very good froth going so I suspect that I might not have used enough for the matcha. Live and learn!

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Uji Matcha G1 mixes to a beautiful green. The aroma is subtle from the whisked green tea though, I found it not as strong as expected, but my matcha experience prior to this has been primarily matcha lattes prepared for me which were probably full of more than just matcha, water, and dairy products. I found to the flavour to be surprisingly sweet, it reminded me of honeydew melon, with some grassy/vegetal notes. There’s a nice smoothness to this tea, and I must have mixed it enough because there was no graininess or clumps noted as I drank it. There was a touch of bitterness that I noted at the tail end of each sip, but it’s not enough to be off-putting.

A Second Cup?

As matcha is a powder that you mix into the water to drink, there were no second steeps here!

My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Organic Uji Matcha G1, Ceremonial Grade. I found this matcha to be really enjoyable. The mix of sweet and grassy flavours made this complex and quite fun to drink. The process of mixing this matcha was fun for me, and I found it to be a great way to slow down and enjoy the tea making process. I realize that Uji Matcha G1 is on the more expensive side, however it is quite tasty. I would consider this to be more of ‘treat’ or special occasion matcha due to the associated costs. However, if you consider it by servings, you get 30 servings in a 30g bag, and that works out to be $1.67/cup – probably a lot cheaper than a matcha at your local café.

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Yunomi’s Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha

Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$7.00USD for 10g

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Yunomi has provided me with Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Yunomi sent me this Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha from the Murakami Tea Garden, located in the Yoshiwara District, Shizuoka Prefecture. I was able to learn from the Yunomi website that the Murakami Tea Garden was established in the late 19th century, and they only produce 1300kg of tea each year as they only harvest the tea leaves from the spring first flush harvest.

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This sencha came to me in a beautiful golden paper covered foil packet that’s resealable. The sencha was steamed for 90 seconds after being harvested on May 4 2017. It’s kind of amazing that they can tell me exactly when it was harvested and for how long it was harvested. The smell from the dry leaf is very lightly salty, a bit of seaweed, a bit of ocean air. There’s a slight underlying sweetness to the aroma from the dry leaf that reminds me of flowers and peaches.

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Preparation

Yunomi has recommendations for the first three steeps. First steep at 60°C (140°F) for 1-2 minutes, second steep for 15 seconds for 80°C (176°F), and the third steep for 45 seconds at 80°C (176°F). I followed the instructions for the first three steeps of this Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha. Yunomi also includes that if you use a hotter temperature water, it’ll be more astringent; and a cooler temperature water, the tea will be sweeter.

First Taste

The initial steep of Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha steeped to a pale green-yellow. The aroma that wafts up from this sencha is one that reminds me of salty air by the ocean and there’s underlying honeyed sweetness to the tea. I sipped it and found it to be just a touch sweet and salty at the same time. The umami flavours are quite good, I found zero astringency and bitterness when I steeped it at such a low temperature compared to other green teas I’ve had in the past. There was a subtle flavour of floral sweetness in the tea that I find quite enjoyable.

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A Second Cup?

I followed the Yunomi steeping recommendations for the second and third steeps for this sencha. The green tea became sweeter and saltier with each steep. I found that I could steep the same leaves a fourth and fifth time, and found this Japanese green tea became a touch sweeter. The sixth steep was quite watery and unenjoyable. I would recommend a total of five steeps with this sencha.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha. From the dry leaf to the steeping process and the smell that comes up from the wet leaves, this sencha has a beautiful fragrance and flavour. I really enjoyed the contrasting sweet-and-salty flavours in this sencha and I’m quite happy to have tried it. I like that the tea can be resteeped a few times is a lovely quality to the sencha – especially as Yunomi included extensive steeping instructions for not only an initial steep for subsequent steeps as well.

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Yunomi’s Echigo Boucha

Echigo Boucha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$8.00USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Echigo Boucha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Yunomi was very kind to send me some Echigo Boucha, which is an interesting Japanese green tea blend that I haven’t experienced before. Echigo Boucha consists of toasted brown rice and roasted tea leaf stems that are aged in a building that’s kept at lower temperatures with snow. Say what? At first sniff when I opened up the resealable bag, I thought it smelled a lot like a genmaicha (which is roasted rice with green tea leaves), but Echigo Boucha has a much deeper aroma than genmaicha, with a light smokey quality to it to the aroma of the dry leaf that highlights the toasted rice smells.

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From Yunomi, I learned that toasted rice is genmai and the Japanese for the roasted tea leaf stems is kuki hojicha. One thing I love about exploring different teas is the exposure to different cultures and languages.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Echigo Boucha in 90°C (194°F) water for 60 seconds (1 minute).

TEA TIP If you’re finding it difficult to keep track of time when you’re steeping your tea, you can always set a timer on your phone! I use my phone constantly to keep track of my tea so I don’t oversteep it. This is particularly handy if you’re doing a longer steep (5+ minutes) in case you’re easily distracted.

First Taste

Echigo Boucha steeps to a deeper colour that I’m used to from a green tea, it’s a golden colour that’s almost brown. I would describe the aroma from this tea as being a mix of nutty, rice cakes, and just a touch of smokiness. The flavour of this tea is initially a touch astringent, which gives way to a pleasant sweetness. There are some nutty qualities in the flavour profile of Echigo Boucha that plays nicely with the flavour of rice cakes. Surprisingly, the smokiness in the aroma of the tea isn’t that present in the flavour of the tea – for me this is a plus as I tend to not enjoy smoked teas as much so I was happy that it faded to the background.

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A Second Cup?

Yunomi suggests that Echigo Boucha can be resteeped three times, which of course meant that I had to push the envelope and resteep it four times. I added an additional 30 seconds per resteep, and found that the tea got sweeter as I resteeped it. The flavours of nuttiness and rice cakes became stronger in the first and second resteeps, while the astringency took a backseat as the tea became sweeter. I found that the third resteep was quite a bit weak, while the fourth was barely palatable. Yunomi knew what they were doing when they suggested three resteeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Echigo Boucha. It was a great experience to try this green tea made up of tea leaf stems! The toasted brown rice added to the flavours of nuttiness and rice cakes, which was quite pleasant. I really enjoyed how this tea resteeped and how the astringency faded into the background as the tea got sweeter. I think it’d be a great tea to be paired with a dessert, given the light sweetness of this green tea. If you like genmaicha, I think you might also like this toasted rice tea as well since it has many of the same qualities (and the smokiness doesn’t transfer over in the flavour).

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