Naoki Matcha’s Uji Harmony

Uji Harmony by Naoki Matcha
Green Tea (Matcha) / Straight
$50.00USD for 60g

Uji Harmony is part of Naoki Matcha’s Masters Collection Matcha Set, a collection of three different ceremonial grade matcha. Uji Harmony makes up 20g of the 60g set. Naoki Matcha has provided me with Uji Harmony for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Arriving in a sealed, resealable pouch, Uji Harmony is the third matcha in the Masters Collection Matcha Set from Naoki Matcha. Uji is a city located near Kyoto, Japan, and Naoki Matcha describes it as being a well-known matcha producing region. Green tea has been produced in the area for centuries, and is also home to one of the oldest tea shops in Japan (established in 1160!).

Uji Harmony is described as a matcha blend by Naoki Matcha – but it’s still 100% Japanese Matcha. The colour is a bright spring green, with a light grassy aroma to it. Just check out that beautiful powder! It’s such a nice colour. Fun fact about matcha – it takes hours and hours to produce matcha that’s traditionally produced using a stone mill. If the tencha is ground too quickly, it can cause degradation of the tea. But look at that beautiful colour:

Preparation

Now, there is no preparation instructions on the packaging, but there is a referral to go to the Naoki Matcha website. I opted to prepare Uji Harmony in a traditional method with a bamboo whisk and bowl (my method described here).

First Taste

After a whisk of Uji Harmony, it becomes a lovely grassy green with a thin layer of bubbles and froth across the top. The flavour is grassy, vegetal, with a good amount of umami. I found while drinking that there was a bit of a nutty undertone that reminded me of cashews. It has a a nice flavour profile in that there are subtle changes through each stage of a sip.

A Second Cup?

As with all matcha, there are no second steeps with Uji Harmony.

My Overall Impression

I loved Naoki Matcha’s Uji Harmony. The flavour profile of this matcha was a treat to prepare and drink. Uji Harmony sifts and whisks up easily, and it is easy to drink – which is always a nice feature in a matcha. It has an interesting flavour profile, with the nutty undertones, which makes it a delight to drink and experience. While I enjoyed Uji Harmony straight up, I would imagine it would do well also as a latte or iced. This is not one that I would waste on blending into smoothies or other culinary pursuits.

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Naoki Matcha’s Nishio Bloom

Nishio Bloom by Naoki Matcha
Green Tea (Matcha) / Straight
$50.00USD for 60g

Nishio Bloom is part of Naoki Matcha’s Masters Collection Matcha Set, a collection of three different ceremonial grade matcha. Nishio Bloom makes up 20g of the 60g set. Naoki Matcha has provided me with Nishio Bloom for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Nishio Bloom comes in a sealed, resealable pouch from Naoki Matcha. As with my first review of this trio, Nishio Bloom is a 100% Japanese matcha, where the labeling features the name of the matcha hand written, with an expiry date (I think it’s a year after packaging), and instructions to head on over to their website for information on how to prepare the matcha and more recipes. This particular matcha, Nishio Bloom, is from the Aichi Prefecture, an area that produces what Naoki Matcha describes as “top-tier quality tencha leaves for matcha” – what a treat to be able to experience this!

The matcha itself is a bright, vibrant spring green. It’s quite inviting. For anyone opening a new pouch of matcha (ever), I would highly recommend tapping it against a hard surface, like a table, before ripping it open because it’ll help knock some of the matcha that’s at the seal of the bag down to the bottom. This helps to prevent waste (or a puff of matcha cloud when you open the packaging). That said, Nishio Bloom has a bright fragant – I would describe it primarily as vegetal (reminds me a lot of spinach), with a light floral note in the background.

Preparation

Naoki Matcha does describe on their website several methods of preparing matcha. I opted to prepare Nishio Bloom in a method that’s very familiar to me – the traditional method using a bowl and a bamboo whisk. I also have a detailed guide here on how to prepare matcha – I sifted the powder, and then poured a small amount of heated water into the bowl to whisk, before topping up and whisking some more.

First Taste

Nishio Bloom whisks up quite easily – especially with a sifted powder. It forms a froth quickly across the top, in a bright spring green while the suspension itself is more of a grassy colour. The aroma remains vegetal and lightly floral. I found that Nishio Bloom has a punch of umami on each sip, which gets balanced out by the vegetal notes that linger on the tongue and it has a sweet floral finish that reminds me of chrysanthemums. Nishio Bloom has a really smooth texture to it, and the mouthfeel that you get from the umami flavour really has me wanting more and more of it.

A Second Cup?

As Nishio Bloom is a suspension, there are no second steeps with the same matcha powder.

My Overall Impression

I loved Naoki Matcha’s Nishio Bloom. I preparing this single origin matcha was a treat – it whisks up nicely in my matcha bowl and it results in a very smooth matcha, with a nice texture and a nice amount of umami that makes you wanting more. The floral sweetness in this matcha makes it enjoyable and easy to drink, and I found it to be a delight to drink straight up (although I’m sure it would do beautifully in a latte if you’re not one of the umami-ness of it all).

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Teakan’s Ana’s Green

Ana’s Green by Teakan
Green Tea / Straight
$30.00 for 60g

Ana’s Green is part of Teakan’s Volume 4 Exploration Kit, a collection of five single origin teas. Ana’s Green makes up 15g of the 60g kit.

First Impressions

Rounding out the last tea in the Volume 4 Exploration Kit is Ana’s Green – a first flush green tea from Maipokhari, Ilam, Nepal. The tea comes in a sealed, resealable kraft paper pouch with a minimalistic white and black label. I’ve probably only had a handful of opportunities to taste single origin teas from Nepal, so it’s always a treat to get to do so.

The leaves are beautiful. Tightly coiled, twisted, and a blend of shades of green as you can see. There’s fuzziness to the lighter leaves, and it’s just a brilliant mixture of greens from pale creamy green to a deep hunter green. The aroma of the leaves is vegetal – it reminds me primarily of dark green vegetables like spinach, gailan, and broccoli.

Preparation

Teakan recommends steeping Ana’s Green in 75°C (167°F) water for a steep of 1 minute (western style) or 15 seconds (gongfu style). I opted to follow the steeping instructions and did an initial steep of 1 minute before pouring a cup of tea.

First Taste

Ana’s Green steeps to a bright yellow after the one minute steep. Just look at the brilliant colour! It reminds me of a liquid sunshine, and it has a beautiful vegetal aroma. The sweetness comes through in each sip, with a stark vegetal flavour that reminds me of dark green vegetables – just a hint of bitterness at the tail end of each sip but I do find it quite enjoyable. It adds something to the mouthfeel and I find that the tea has a thickened mouthfeel to it.

A Second Cup?

Resteeping Ana’s Green was a delight. I did five resteeps with the same leaves (six steeps total), adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The leaves open up an remarkable amount, and the uniformity of the green colour of the unfurled leaves is beautiful. The flavour remains vegetal with sweetness, and the bitterness goes away by the second resteep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Teakan’s Ana’s Green. This Nepalese green tea does a beautiful job of being resteeped, and has a wonderful colour and delightful flavour throughout each resteep. I found it to be pleasant to drink, and smooth. It does have a nice bitterness to it, that I actually enjoyed it as it balanced well with the sweetness that was naturally found in the tea.

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