Tea Experience: Tsujiri

Tsujiri
Burnaby, BC
Matcha-Infused Drinks $4.25-9.00

I was spending some time with my sister last month as we’re in each other’s social bubbles, and decided we needed a treat (as one does). So we decided to try out Tsujiri after hearing about it from her husband. Tsujiri is self-described as a “matcha infused restaurant”. Fun fact, you can pre-order on their website, and even opt for local delivery with the various side-gig food delivery services out there (I take zero responsibility if your frappe is all melted by the time it gets to you).

The menu consists of parfaits, drinks, shaved ice, floats, frappes and more. Tsujiri also features drinks with matcha, houjicha, and yuzu (which is not a tea, but is an Asian citrus fruit). The prices aren’t the cheapest, but considering the ingredients in play, it’s not anything to turn your nose up against. It probably isn’t a sustainable treat option for the every day choice though.

My sister ordered a float while I ordered the Matcha Frappe ($7.00) which has the product description of “Rich and creamy blend of Matcha slush and yogurt with a swirl of whipped cream and Matcha crumbs topped with a luscious Matcha sauce”.

Unfortunately, the soft serve ice cream machine broke after we had placed our order, so we ended up getting a refund on the float. Fortunately (for me), the Matcha Frappe that I had ordered did not contain ice cream so I could still receive my order.

The matcha slush and yoghurt comes layered in the drink, topped with whipped cream and then with the matcha “crumbs” on top. I found that the yoghurt adds a nice layer of tangy flavour to the matcha, which is sweetened. The matcha sauce on top has a good amount of grassy flavour and umami, which is tempered considerably with the fresh whipped cream. I really found it to be tasty but the cup isn’t very large (and there weren’t a variety of cup sizes to choose from).

While I did enjoy my Matcha Frappe with the tangy yoghurt layered with the matcha slush, I think the experience was soured a bit by their machine malfunctioning. I would definitely give them a try again, but very wary of going back for a third time if the machine had an issue on the second try. I wasn’t too fond on the matcha crumbs on top though, as I feel like it didn’t add a nice texture to the frappe. That said, I think the drink was tasty, albeit I would have hoped for a much larger drink for the price (I would definitely consider the cup size offered to be more of the “small” size).

 

Tsujiri’s Kabusecha

Kabusecha by Tsujiri
Green Tea / Straight
$11.25 for 30g

First Impressions

Another Tsujiri tea! Kabusecha came in a blue linen paper packaging, with a cardstock loop to hold it close. Inside was the same sealed but not resealable silver pouch, and the paper with the steeping instructions (photographed in my review of Tsujiri’s Premium Houjicha last week).

The aroma of Kabusecha is grassy, roasted notes. The leaves themselves are dark green, fairly short, flattened, with a considerable amount of tea fannings in it, that reminds me a lot of just dust. Lots of small particles that made me a bit disappointed, especially considering the cost of the tea itself. But onwards!

Preparation

Tsujiri recommends steeping Kabusecha in 60-70°C (140-158°F) water for 1 minute. I used the lowest temperature setting of my variable temperature kettle (175°F/79°C) and ignored it for a while after it beeped to allow the water to cool.

First Taste

After I poured the water through the stainless steel infuser, I felt some regret. I knew that there was a considerable amount of dust yet I didn’t use a filter bag for this tea. Kabusecha steeps to a yellow-green colour, and is a bit cloudy/murky with the tea dust suspended throughout. The aroma is salty and grassy. The flavour profile has a considerable amount of umami – some saltiness that reminds me of being near the ocean, grassy notes, with just a hint of bitterness at the tail end of each sip. It reminds me of a sencha, but less refined overall.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Kabusecha twice, adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The flavour profile remained fairly similar, but the bitter finish with each sip remained present.

My Overall Impression

I didn’t like Tsujiri’s Kabusecha. While I was happy with the initial appearance of the packaging, the pouch that can’t be resealed is a let down. The amount of tea dust present was also a let down, as was the flavour as there’s a good amount of saltiness, but also the bitter finish at the end of each sip doesn’t really make it appeal to me. There’s a lot in this tea that reminds me of sencha, but I prefer my green teas with more intact leaves, and less bitterness.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tsujiri’s Premium Houjicha

Premium Houjicha by Tsujiri
Green Tea / Straight
$9.50 for 20g

First Impressions

Tsujiri is a restaurant that features matcha related desserts, and while I was there waiting for my dessert (more on that soon!), I spotted loose leaf tea for sale… Which of course meant that I had to buy some! I ended up picking out a trio to purchase, and this is the first of the three. Premium Houjicha comes in a a really pretty packaging. A cardstock loop acts as a sleeve over these linen paper with gold and silver splatter marks all over. It definitely feels like a luxury item despite being wrapped in paper.

Inside the linen paper is a silver packet that’s sealed and not resealable (think like the packaging for a bag of chips), along with a piece of paper that has the whole list of tea types that they sell with a brewing guide. Simplicity at its finest? I do wish that the silver packet did indicate the type of tea because there is nothing on it that indicates to me that there is Premium Houjicha inside of it. That said, opening the packet was an experience. Premium Houjicha has a strong roasted note to it, woodsy, earthy, and nutty. The dry leaf is a mix of green and brown, but mostly shades of brown. Not a lot of information on the packaging regarding the exact origin, but the only ingredient is green tea from Japan.

I am disappointed that the packaging isn’t resealable – since exposure to air (as well as moisture, light, and heat) are ways that tea can go bad. And considering the price per gram, I don’t think it’s too much to expect some kind of resealable packaging.

Preparation

Tsujiri recommends steeping Premium Houjicha in 80-90°C (176-194°F) with a step time of 1 minute. I opted to do an initial steep at 85°C (185°F) for 1 minute (60 seconds).

First Taste

Premium Houjicha steeps to a lovely golden orange, as seen below. There was a bit of dusty tea bits that did managed to sneak through my stainless steel strainer, so if that’s something that does bother you, I would recommend using a filter bag instead for a more clear tea without sediments. The aroma of the tea is a mix of earthy and woody. There’s definitely the roasted notes that make me thing of roasted nuts, a hint of mushroom-y earthiness, and I just find it quite enticing. It has a nice finish to it – smooth, hint of sweetness, and just a lot of flavour in a sip.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Premium Houjicha three times (four steeps total), adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the flavour remained fairly consistent throughout. The nuttiness is a bit strong in the first and second resteep, which is nice. It lends itself to a nice earthy flavour and a good finish – with just a hint of sweetness.

My Overall Impression

I loved Tsujiri’s Premium Houjicha. As far as hojicha goes, it’s definitely on the pricier side. This one is nice because it is of a good quality so you can get a good number of steeps from the same leaves. That said, I think if you’re not the biggest hojicha fan, it’s probably not going to be for you. It’s at a higher price point, but if you are a hojicha fan, I really think Premium Houjicha is worth the try. I really like the experience of tasting it, but I do wish that the packaging was resealable to keep the tea from going stale. Especially at the price point, it would have been worth it to provide resealable packaging. That said, it has a great flavour and I really think it is a good hojicha.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.