Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Return Of Matcha Madness - Set Two

Alrighty, we continue our journey of blind taste testing various matcha. The original Matcha Madness was a comparison of lower end culinary grade powders suited for use in lattes and cooking. Although, frankly, there was at least one that I enjoyed straight without additives (Red Leaf Tea Deluxe Matcha). In The Return Of Matcha Madnesss, we stepped up a notch to better culinary grade tea. Now with the current round (set two of three) we move up another step to middle grade matcha. There are 9 samples in this set. All matcha samples have been supplied by Red Leaf Tea. Having a sponsor in no way influenced my reviews as I was not aware of what or who's each tea was until after completing the tastings.

Now on to the sampling:

The dry powder was green, though not as green as some of the Set One teas. The dry smell was hay, grass, and a combination of nuts and popcorn. The dry taste was nuts and popcorn with no bitterness. The powder mixed easily and made a nice thick foam. The color was a cloudy but bright jade green. The taste was of seaweed and kale. It ends with a bite of bitter. Has a nice sweetness.

Since this is the first sample, I am setting all the scores to 5, and all other teas in this round will be adjusted accordingly.
Aroma: 5  Color: 5  Taste: 5  Sweet to Bitter: 5
Price per ounce: $9.99 ($4.99 volume discount)
Price per bag: $9.99

Nice green powder here. It is a little brighter than the first in this set. The dry scent was not as aromatic as the first. It was a mix popcorn and bread. The dry taste was similar. I had a little more trouble getting this to mix but did get a good foam. The cup is bright green in color. The taste was too similar to the first for my limited ability to taste the difference.

Aroma: 4  Color: 6  Taste: 5  Sweet to Bitter: 5
Price per Ounce: $10.55
Price per tin: $29.74

The color is just a tick more yellow than the last. The dry scent is interesting. It is a mix  of the popcorn and nuts from the first along with the bread of the second. Truly, it smells like banana nut bread. The dry taste is more buttery popcorn. The cup isn't as brightly green but a definite improvement over the lower level powders. The taste is more vegetal and grassy to my tastes. There is enough bitterness to be interesting but leans towards sweet. It is good but just feels a little subdued. Maybe I'm just disappointed it doesn't taste like the dry aroma.

Aroma: 7  Color: 4  Taste: 4  Sweet to Bitter: 5
Price per Ounce: $12.51
Price per tin: $32.11

This one seems the most green so far. Bright spring green. The dry powder smells of hay, grass, and chocolate? Yes, I had to open the sample a second time to check. The dry taste is of buttery popcorn and nuts. This mixed easily but I felt I had to work at getting a good foam. The cup color is very nice. Very little bitterness. It feels creamy. The taste is hard for me to come up with comparisons. It is almost like drinking a mild vegetal green tea with a little seaweed and kale. This is a mild cup but I like this one.

Aroma: 8  Color: 7  Taste: 7  Sweet to Bitter: 7
Price per ounce: $12.83
Price per bag: $44.90

This one is a duller green than the others have been but still more green than the average run of the mill culinary grade tea. The dry aroma is lightly nutty. Actually, the aroma is just overall light. The dry taste is... earthy? With no bitterness. Interesting. The cup color leans towards a darker algae green. The taste is leafy, seaweed, and kale. There is a solid touch of bitter and a creamy sweetness. Based on what I have read on various websites, this is what matcha is supposed to taste like, but my rating reflects my personal unrefined tastes.

Aroma: 4  Color: 4  Taste: 5  Sweet to Bitter: 5
Price per ounce: $13.99 ($6.99)
Price per bag: $13.99

The dry powder on this one is yellow green. The aroma is oddly attractive, and not so much, at the same time. Initially it hits as kind of a fresh latex paint smell but then it is recognizable as fruity, like strawberry. The dry taste has little, to no, bitterness and has a popcorn and leafy green taste. This mixed easily enough but failed to develop a good foam. The color of the cup is drab algae. That said, I liked the taste of this one. There is little, to no, bitterness in the cup. It is green and leafy and reminds me of tender fresh uncooked spinach leaves. Sweet with a pleasant aftertaste.

Aroma: 5  Color: 4  Taste: 6  Sweet to Bitter: 8
Price per ounce: $14.99 ($7.49)
Price per bag: $14.99

The dry color is leaning towards brown. The aroma lacks the fruitiness of the previous sample, leaving only the latex paint scent. The dry taste is bitter. This mixed easily but failed to hold the foam once it was whisked up. The color is drab algae. Nothing about this sounds right, but I like the taste. It has a little bitterness. The taste is a simple fresh green leafy tea with a sweet finish.

Aroma: 3  Color: 3  Taste: 6  Sweet to Bitter: 7
Price per ounce: $14.99 ($7.49)
Price per bag: $14.99

Hey, we are back to vibrant green again! I am not getting a lot of scent off the dry powder. I maybe a victim of the paint fumes ;) What I am catching is nutty and buttery. The dry taste is popcorn and malt. Yes ladies and gentlemen - malt. Mixed easily and foamed well. The color is back to jade green. Tasting I get seaweed, kale, and green leafy tea with malt in the background. I thought I also detected brief hints of chocolate. It is creamy with enough bitterness to be interesting. The sweet leafy aftertaste lingers on this one. I think this is my pick of this set, just edging out Kuzama.

Aroma: 5  Color: 7  Taste: 7  Sweet to Bitter: 7
Price per ounce: $15.99 ($7.99)
Price per bag: $15.99

This is as nicely green as the last sample. The scent is similar. I am noting hay and malt. Along with the nutty and buttery popcorn notes. The dry taste is again much like the last, malt and popcorn with just a hint of bitterness. Mixed easily. Foamed well. Pretty jade green color. A little bitter. A little sweet. Creamy. This is certainly easy to sip. The problem with it is that after tasting all these teas in a row, this one doesn't stand out. It is grassy and pleasant. It may be a victim of being overshadowed by the previous sample. I certainly can't find a fault with it.

Aroma: 5  Color: 7  Taste: 6  Sweet to Bitter: 7
Price per ounce: $16.99 ($8.49)
Price per bag: $16.99

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