Monday, February 4, 2008

O-cha's Matcha Chiyo Mukashi

Ocha's Chiyo Mukashi, a wonderful birthday present from my in-laws, is from Uji. According to Kevin the name translates as chi: one thousand, yo: era or period, mukashi: long ago, ancient.

I had just opened a fresh tin of Nakai's Uji Matcha, so I planned to wait a while before opening it. My self-control lasted twelve, maybe sixteen hours, eight of which I was asleep. Go will-power.

This matcha is meant for koicha, but can be used for usucha. I found usucha to be too mild for this tea, so the following notes are for koicha.

Aroma: (9/10) Strong, you open it and seconds later you can smell it. Sweet, thick. Vegetal; I shit you not, I smell...french fries or veggie chips. I think my brain, when encountering a new, unknown smell, simply spins a wheel and picks whatever random association the needle stops on.

Sweetness: (3/10) Not very sweet.

Astringency: (5-7/10) This is the most astringent matcha I've had yet. If I prepare it using Hibiki's koicha instructions, it is very astringent, I can feel it predominantly on the sides of my tongue. If I use O-cha's koicah instructions, its dialed down a bit, and I can feel it in the back of my throat.

Flavor: (7/10) This is a distinctive matcha, with a clear vegetal profile that helps it stand out. It is bold and clean. As I said, I found usucha was too mild, but koicha is just a smidgen more astringent than I prefer. I think three scoops is a good compromise, and yields a more enjoyable bowl.


Sifting the matcha is a must in my opinion. I have my eye on one of these matcha sifters, but in the mean time, I have been experimenting with different methods.

Most of the time I use one of these brew baskets to sift the matcha as I go, using the chashoku as a paddle, sort of a back and forth sweeping motion. It works quite well. The baskets are durable and easy enough to rinse or wash afterwards.

I read about using the chasen to break apart the clumps and sift the matcha in the bowl, using the tines in a chopping motion, kind of like you're preparing lines of coke. This way is a little quicker, but the matcha tends to stick to the tines.

Either method produces the same, positive results in the end.


Brent said...

"...kind of like you're preparing lines of coke."

Oh Alex, you never fail to impress. :)

Salsero said...

The photos so ethereal against the dark background and the advice about sifting so practical.

Lovely post. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You can buy Chakoshi (matcha sifter) also here :

here :

and here :

Anyway, you don't care about my links, heh !


Space Samurai said...

Oh, you dirty bastard.

You post your fine links, tempt me and all, but they're out of stock on the one I want. :(

Space Samurai said...

Nevermind, they said it was a mistake and it was in stock.

Thanks for the link Fortunato, I know have a mathca sifter, well, when it gets here I will.

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