Wednesday, March 19, 2008

O-cha's Organic Matcha Kaoru

Matcha Kaoru is grown in Aichi, a prefecture just west of Shizuoka. Kaoru means fragrant. This one is meant for usucha.

Aroma: 6/10
Sweetness: 7.5/10
Astringency: 0/10
Flavor 7/10.

The aroma is not as fragrant as some of O-cha's other matcha, like the Kiku or Chiyo Mukashi, but it has a pleasant depth, fresh and sweet.

The first words that come to mind when I sip it are sweet, yummy, fresh. It has a warm and thick mouth-feel, quite sweet and smooth. I think this a fantastic usucha. At this point I've now had all of O-cha's matcha save for the organic Kaoru Supreme, and I must say their matcha is consistently fresh and superior with prices more than fair for the quality. Theirs is the best I've had.


If you desire a good head, preheating the chawan is a must. For me it is a simple part of the routine.

I pour boiled water into my yuzamashi, then from the yuzamashi into the chawan and over the chasen, then I refill the yuzamashi and allow the water to cool. This rinses any dust off my utensils and preheats the bowl and chasen. Preheating the chasen helps keep the tines from breaking and will prolong its life.

It is also important to dry the bowl before adding the matcha. I was asked about this earlier today. If you put matcha into a wet bowl, there is a good chance that it will turn into paste, and you wont get a through mix. Yes you can correct this by whisking harder or scraping the chasen along the bottom, but I feel this puts unnecessary wear and tear on what is a rather delicate utensil.

Once I am done rinsing, drying, and have scooped out the desired amount of matcha, the water in the yuzamashi should be at a good temperature.

Remember, I do not claim to be an expert or that my way is the only way. I only add these suggestions on matcha preparation in hopes that someone else might learn from my mistakes, my trial and error.
To give you an idea of the camera I'm working with, and what a difficult time I have trying to get the colors of the matcha to come out, those flowers in the pictures are actually purple.


Hobbes said...

The shots are beautiful, nonetheless. I was thinking "blue petals with a yellow flower in between, surely a conscious decision to use the two colours famously opposite on the colour wheel for maximum contrast" - but it turns out the blue is purple?!

What's the manufacturer of the camera? Have you tried other filter settings (such as "shadow" rather than "daylight" if it's a Nikon?)



Space Samurai said...

The flower's were the only two growing in my front yard. I'm not that good with color coordination.

The Camera is an inexpensive Fujifilm Finepix. There are only a few settings to play with, and I've played with them.

I've looked at Consumer Reports and I've picked out a replacement, upgrading to something much nicer, but that will be in the future, probably a year. For the time being I'll make do with what I have.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I do feel I've outgrown this camera. Six months ago I'd trash pictures because of my mistakes, now I trash them becaus of the camera's.

Steven Dodd said...

I wondered about drying the bowl first. I solved the problem with just whisking harder but perhaps I'll give that a shot.

Matt said...

In the Korean powdered tea ceremony the tea bowl isn't dried after warming the bowl. To counter the problem of the powder sticking to the bowl, one pours in a minute amount of room temperature water into the bowl after the powder is added. Then the cool water and powder is mixed in a slow 'W' or 'M' pattern. Your chasun should gently scrape the bottom of the bowl. This creates a piliminary soup and the feeling adds to the sensory experience of preparing the tea.


Michel said...

I love your blog, and the teaware is beautifull.

I`m also a big fan of M.shimizu Genji.

All the best

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the matcha and other reviews. I just ordered some of this!

Martin Prime said...

Matcha ranks up there in my list of favorite green teas.

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It is relaxing and refreshing to drink Matcha tea.
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The Professional Tea Taster said...

Hey, it's been a while since you updated your blog.

Have you tried any new teas lately?