Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Den's Tea Matcha Miyabi

The Miyabi is the highest grade matcha that Den's Tea offers.

According to Wikipedia, Miyabi is a traditional Japanese aesthetic ideal that "demanded the decline of anything that was absurd or vulgar and the 'polishing of manners, diction, and feelings to eliminate all roughness and crudity so as to achieve the highest grace."

This matcha should be used for koicha (thick tea).

Aroma: (5/10 - and that's being a little generous) The fragrance was typical but subdued.

Sweetness: (6.5/10) It has decently sweet characteristics, you just have to be sure to use enough.

Astringency: (1/10) It's as smooth as can be, not the slightest bit of astringency or bitterness.

Flavor: (5/10) Like the Kaze this tea was very mild, and I simply prefer my matcha to have some umph to it. Even when using more, 5-6 scoops vs the traditional 3-4, it only serves to add a smokey throatiness, but fails to increase the over all flavor.

Again, like the Kaze, this matcha comes from Shizuoka instead of Uji. I will keep an eye out for another Shizzy matcha from a different vendor to see if the Kaze and Miyabi are typical examples of that region, but in the meantime, if you like lots of flavor in your matcha, I recommend giving Den's a pass.

Whisking, if you care about this kind of thing.

I have been told when whisking matcha, part of the idea is to avoid large bubbles. Of course this is more of an aesthetic concern, because as long as you whisk the matcha thoroughly, it won't effect the taste one way or the other.

I have found the best way to avoid large bubbles in the froth is to use deliberate strokes, fast at first, then slow. You're not beating eggs.

Kickboxing Geishas
How Japanese Women are Changing Their Nation

The title alone sold me on this book.

I have become deeply interested in gender roles, so I enjoyed this book a great deal. While the author, Veronica Chambers, focuses on the diverse and changing lives of women in Japan, since it is impossible to define gender roles without exploring both sides, you learn about the part Japanese men must play as well. Chambers does a wonderful job of providing a fair illustration of the complex relationship between men and women, both in the corporate world and in their personal lives.

I learned a variety of things along the way, parasite singles (people who live with their parents, who support them, well into their late 20's or 30's ), Narita Rekon (newlyweds getting divorced as soon as they return from the honeymoon, because the wife realises just what her husband is like, thus ditches him at the airport upon their return), and Japans ostentatious costume culture, from hip hop to "Lolitas." Chambers also explores how unique aspects of Japanese culture make certain things that we take for granted, like dating, problematic.

It was a very good book, very enjoyable. Learning more about someone's culture, helps us to better understand our own.


MarshalN said...

From what I understand, there are two schools of thought on bubbles. One school thinks there shouldn't be any bubbles at all.... the other thinks bubbles are fine. I can't remember which one's which though.

By the way, want to try some six year old sencha that I've found in my tea closet? :)

Cap & Kettle said...

I wonder if you might consider writing a post explaining the criteria for your tea judgment. The sweetness one strikes me as odd; that sweetness is a variable, optional quality, not a benchmark for tea. Care to elaborate a bit on the how and why of judging matcha?

Space Samurai said...

Huh, good question.

You know, I have no idea.

The criteria started with my review on the matcha kaze. I don't have a sophisticated palate, but many varieties of tea are easy to describe. You can taste chocolate, charcoal, or camphor; peach, fruit, or muscatel; green tea is either floral, nutty, vegital, or grassy, but I can't pick out anything distinct in matcha.

I looked at other blogs for help, but not a lot of people were writing about matcha unless they were putting it in cupcakes or something. I presume I picked attributes that were the most remarkable to me, one of which is "sweetness."

Perhaps this had something to do with things I read about usucha and koicha; koicha is supposed to be higher quality and sweeter.

Some matcha tasts thick, green and sweet to me, while others are more "dry."

Also, for the most part I drink each matcha singularly; I rarely have an opportunity for side by side comparison. So sticking to a set criteria helps create a comparison by using a specific guideline to rate one tea from the other.

I am going to do a matcha recap once I do ten matcha reviews, rate them in order of over all superiority and all. Perhaps I'll better explain my criteria at that time.

Ann T. said...

I love matcha. The color, the smell and taste. But I'm not sure that's enough to judge whether you've purchased the best matcha. It's important to know where it came from because not all can produce top quality matcha tea.

Matcha said...

Chah have a really good Matcha highly recommended. They also have a great range of green tea and oolong tea.

Anonymous said...

I found a How to Matcha Tea video here:

Matcha Green Tea said...

Sounds like you have the whisking technique down to a tee (or should that be tea?).

Good work.

Vitalife Matcha offer a great range of matcha if anyone is looking for the stuff.

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