Monday, January 21, 2008

Matcha Jobetsugi from Harney & Son's

Scent in package: sweet and grassy, like a fresh mown lawn
Brewed in: matcha bowl
Steeped: whisked w/steaming water
Cup: matcha bowl

I've been drinking matcha with my lunch daily since discovering the stimulating properties of this true powdered tea. If you know anything about matcha, you know it's not the least expensive daily drink. So when it came time to replenish my meager stock, I decided to try this matcha from Harney & Son's, which was less expensive than the tea I got from Rishi last time.

I'd like to say I don't notice a difference, but I do. I sifted the whole 30 gram container first, then measured out my normal "serving" of 1/3 teaspoon into the bowl. I normally make matcha with a good amount of steaming water to bring out more of the sweetness and less of the bitterness characteristic of matcha.

Sadly, it seems that this particular matcha is just plain more bitter than the Rishi brand. No matter how I brewed it, amounts I used, water I used, or temperature of that water, this jobetsugi just isn't as sweet or "tasty" as the more expensive tea.

That being said, it's still very drinkable, especially as it cools. Traditionally matcha is downed quickly in a few largish sips, but I'm a sipper, so it typically takes me at least 20 minutes to finish a bowl. As it cools, this particular matcha does lose some of it's bitterness, and gains more of that sweet, grassy flavor that I crave from it.
I may eventually return to this matcha, but I think I'll try a few more companies first, to make sure I'm getting the best possible flavor for the least amount of money I can. Since I am drinking it every day, I want a good deal, but at the same time, quality is everything when it comes to such a stimulating and potentially enjoyable tea. I'll keep you posted on the next brand of matcha I try in a few weeks.


  1. Ooh matcha! My friends L and U, and I baked matcha cupcakes last weekend using the Magnolia Bakery cupcake recipe (view the recipe on Food Network), but I've never had matcha tea. I recommend the cupcakes with a black tea (I drank Steap's Black with Apple Caramel).

  2. Lots of people seem to bake with it, Georgia - I wonder if that's because it tends toward the bitter side as a brew...or if it's just so easy to bake with since it's a powder. Do you (or does anyone) know if it changes the chemistry of the tea at all to bake it into things?

    In any case, definately try drinking Matcha sometime. It's definately a different taste experience, and even if you don't like it at first, it tends to grow on you (and if nothing else, it makes great lattes!). :-)

  3. There's a matcha they sell in my local asian supermarket for $6 or $7. Do you have an asian supermarket you can go to? I can go check the name of the tea out if you want next time I go.

  4. That would be great, Marshal...but I don't really have an asian market here, that I know of (still in the dark ages, sort of). But I'll check around, see if there's one hidden away somewhere...

  5. I was not at all fond of the Rishi matcha. My experience is still limited with matcha, but I am fast froming the hypothesis that it doesn't pay to buy matcha from non Japanese vendors, if you want a good, quality matcha.

    Have you tried O-cha? For 15$ their kiri no mori is a quite decent daily matcha.

  6. I haven't tried O-cha - thanks for the tip! I have some on order from Dragonwater, but I'll try the O-cha next...

  7. I would advise you to shop for teas from a specialist importer. When you go to one of these all in one stores for tea they tend to import so so stuff and they tend to be a bit more old. When looking for matcha find a importer that only imports from Japan.

  8. Thank you, Jamie.
    Have you ever tried Gotcha Matcha from Matcha Source? To me this is the best matcha out there, even though it is quite pricey. This particular tea grade stands out not only for its exquisite flavour, but also for the outstanding stimulating qualities it has - soft but remarkably uplifting. Highly recommend!


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