Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kukimatcha (Rishi Tea)

Tea: Kukimatcha
Origin: Shizuoka, Japan
Year: 2007 (Presumably)
Price: $15 for 70g Tin
Vendor: Rishi Tea

Rishi's Kukimatcha is a blend of fukamushi (deep steamed) sencha and twigs grown from the Yabukita tea bush in Shizuoka, Japan. It is enhanced with matcha, giving the tea a creamy body, rich liquor, and a high concentration of the amino acid, L-theanine, which reduces stress.

First, this was some well packaged tea. It was nitrogen flushed and sealed in a Mylar bag, then packed into an air tight tin that you have to open with a pull tab. This is something new for Rishi. They are now packaging their other Japanese teas this way, but it is unclear if they will continue to offer it on their website, or if the new tins are meant strictly for retail distribution.

The leaves looked good and had a pleasant, rich, rather sweet aroma, that reminded me of the flavored sugar candy that came in straws, pixie-something-or-the-other.

I used a kyusu for the session and followed these instructions. I am new at green tea, so I will try my best to describe it adequitely.

First steep: 1tbsp per 7oz. spring water/165 F./1.5 minutes. It had a dark green almost jade liquor, that my camera completely failed to capture, so I tossed the pictures. The taste was smooth, naturally sweet yet bold, grassy. I didn't taste any bitterness or astrigency. It was honeslty just friggin' good. If you like kukicha, you will love the kukimatcha. Everything that a good kukicha is, but...more. Like the difference between chocolate and fudge.

Second steep: 7oz. spring water/ 165 F./ .5 minutes. The color was just as good, but the over all taste was not as bold and a little less complex.

Third steep: 7oz. spring water/ 170 F./ 1 minute. This time the natural sweetness was standing out again. Still a very good cup.

Fourth steep: 7oz. spring water/ 175 F./ 2 minutes. Tasty enough, but unremarkable. Definitely time to call it quits, though in the future I will try higher temperature and longer steeping time to see if this tea will stretch a little farther.

Overall I rate this tea a 4.5. I refrain from giving it a 5 only because I am still largely inexpereinced when it comes to Japanese teas, and I do not want to declare something perfect, until I have had a chance to experience more of what Japan has to offer. This is a great tea, and I don't think any lover of Japanese tea would be dissapointed. If you are, tell me what you're drinking, 'cos that stuff has to be awesome.


Mary R said...

"Like the difference between chocolate and fudge"--dead on. I did a comparison between Adagio's kukicha and Rishi's kukicha and kukimatcha recently. I'll have to repeat the experiment before I make a write up of my own (I'm pretty sure the water temp (180F) was too high for the kuki's), but the difference between the kuki and the kukimatcha? Holy Wow. You've made a believer out of me. Thank you so much for the sample!

Space Samurai said...

You're very welcome. I'm glad you are enjoying the samples.

Bret said...

Another Tea Co. you guys should check out is Hibiki-an. They are a tea farm in Uji that sells theyre teas dirrectly to the consumer. The highest quality and by far the freshest your going to find anywhere. Rishis teas are great but youll see the difference as soon as you open a bag of Hibikis teas.