Matcha. What exactly is it? "Matcha...finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea." - via Wikipedia page for Matcha. The word itself is as strange as the color and brewing method. Yet, this review is regarding a fine quality, premium gold class organic ceremonial green tea powder with a crazy amount of fans, who consider it a 'superfood', regardless of the brand. None of this makes sense. Until you discover it for yourself.
This review is for Midori Spring Matcha founded by Ying Han in early 2015. It is 100% pure ceremonial gold class, matcha green tea powder from mostly the Aichi, Kagoshima region of Japan. This is NOT a cooking grade powder (although it can be used for cooking if you prefer), the quality is so high that it is primarily reserved for tea ceremonies for it's full flavor, and health benefits. This matcha is: "Organic (Certified USDA Organic by NOP via U.S. and Japan organic equivalency agreement, Certified EU Organic via EU and Japan organic equivalency agreement, JAS Organic Certified by OCIA), Kosher (OU) Certified, Vegan Certified (Vegan Action), GMO and Gluten Free" - midorispring.com
If you're interested in exactly HOW this green powder is grown and crafted, visit the informative page (photos too!) on the Midori Spring website. In essence, the vibrant green color is created by growing green tea shaded so that it produces more chlorophyll in its quest to obtain sunlight. Great care is taken to provide expanded space to increase the oxygen provided compared to compact traditional green tea manufacturers. They then utilize the 1st harvest (highest quality) of leaves and then grind the leaves on a specialized Mikage Stone Mill. This mill is so specialized that the type of stone, pattern, weight and number of spins per minute when grinding also plays an important role in obtaining matcha perfection. Lastly: "Matcha is sampled by a 9th degree tea master known as a Cha Shi 茶師. Our Cha Shi is trained to quickly identify the type of tea only by tasting and smelling. There are only ten 9th degree tea masters". -midorispring.com
So, you can now see that this is premium matcha, but how is the taste and quality? Does it live up to the hype? Does it provide the balance of quality as expected? In honesty, I have no idea as I have no other matcha experience of which to compare this brand to. However, for my first ever matcha experience, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised at the quality for something so strange compared to the green tea I've always enjoyed. For me, I've been a heavy drinker of modernized green tea in white bags that are left to soak in heated water until saturated to the user's preferred strength. Unlike this, matcha is a vibrant green powder that requires a bit more specialized process. Once you learn how to make matcha correctly, it's not at all inconvienient unless you're in a great hurry, but the health benefits are worth the added time to your daily routine.
"There are many immediate and long term health benefits when consuming Matcha, which include: Energy boost without the jitters, reduces stress and improves mental alertness, increases metabolism and aids with weight loss, boosts immune system and reduces inflammation, helps the body detox and cleanse harmful elements, help prevent cardiovascular diseases, decrease the risk of cancer, reducing arthritis and the list goes on. A great energy booster...does not give you the jitters compared to coffee or energy drinks...[natural caffeine] enters the bloodstream in a time-released manner. Matcha is also nutritiously superior to loose leaf green teas because you are consuming the entire leaf and not just the infusion. Research has found that Matcha contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market. -midorispring.com
How To Brew
Full brew instructions can be found on the product's label or via midorispring.com.
My Review and Final Thoughts
Upon first impression, I found the color to be a rich, vibrant and beautiful green. Very bold in color, it is also bold in taste. The smell is very earthy and green. My reaction upon my first ever taste of match was that it was bitter and in need of lemon or honey as I'm used to with green tea in a bag. For the sake of an honest review, I tried again and realized I'd used too much powder by not accurately measuring. My second attempt was effective and once diluted a bit more with water, any bitterness I'd originally detected was gone. The flavor is very unique and though it does slightly remind of me green tea, it is so aromatic and fresh that it confuses me. I honestly can't decide if I love it or hate it, but I find that the more I drink the more I become used to the unique taste and actually seem to crave it a bit. Though I don't yet desire it as a daily ritual, I definitely can see so many possibilities for using it in the future. The texture is so fine and smooth that it blends easily making me want to use it for smoothies instead of common and less healthy green tea in a teabag. As for the packaging and the company itself, the metal tin is easy to open and securely protects the contest from becoming stale or spilling. I dropped it and the lid remained in place though I had to be cautious opening so that I didn't waste the delicate powder. The size seems small, but lasts far longer than expected for such a fine powder. The company was quick to respond to questions and eager to please and work with customers. My only issue is that I would like to see the traditional bamboo whisk and a teaspoon included in a kit for match newbies like me. Overall, no complaints and would order from again. With time, I will update this review once I've decided if I love or hate it.
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