If I'd paid attention to the tea catalog, I wouldn't have been so surprised that this tea came in a tin.
Anyone here read Japanese? I'm being cautioned about something, but what? On the other side of this little piece of paper is more Japanese text and a graphic of hands carefully opening the pull-tab can. I'll bet the Japanese lawyers made them do that.
So I *cautiously* opened the can so the powdered tea wouldn't spill all over the place. It didn't, because it's still in the bag!
After opening the bag of Matcha, I carefully measured out just under half a teaspoon (the directions said half a teaspoon for 6 ounces of water, and my little tea-tasting glass is 5 ounces).
My first "whisking" didn't result in too much foam, so I decided I'd probably done it wrong and tried again.
Number two looked only slightly foamier, so I decided it was time to drink up and move on. Besides, this may be what "thin" Matcha looks like anyway!
* * *
I have to tell you, "Matcha Saturday" almost didn't happen! First, I realized late last Friday I had failed to place a new order with Harney and hurriedly went online to play catch up. Bless 'em, it arrived Wednesday, so I'm good for tea tastings for at least a few more months, Lord willing. Then yesterday, I realized I failed to order a Matcha whisk, and the local tea shop is out of Matcha whisks, but I read on the Internet you could use an ordinary wire whisk instead if you had to. (Later, when I read the book, Michael Harney said the same thing.) So I figured with my mini-wire whisk this Matcha process wouldn't exactly be "authentic," but at least I could give the Matcha a whirl. (So to speak.) I don't know how much of a difference it makes that I bought the cheaper thin grade rather than the more expensive thick grade of Matcha, but hey, I was trying to be economical!
Category: Japanese Green Tea
Purveyor: Harney & Sons
When purchased: May 2009
Appearance: A rather bright apple green powdered tea. I'd like a T-shirt this color.
Steeping temperature and time: Just under 1/2 teaspoon of tea, 175 degrees, 30 seconds (or however long it took to whisk the tea).
Scent: I had to force myself not to think about the powdery appearance, but when steeped I realized that oh, it smelled just like green tea.
Color: Deep olive green.
Flavor: I did not enjoy my first sip at all, as I "felt" the powder swirling around and the tea was too strong and bitter. But after a minute or so, once some of the powder settled in the bottom of the teacup, I sipped again and it tasted just like good green tea. Of course, I am going to *have* to get a Matcha whisk now and see if it makes any difference in the foam level. We won't call it a re-match but a re-Matcha! (Also, I want to try some recipes that use Matcha as an ingredient.)
Additional notes: Michael Harney tells of visiting a factory where Matcha is made and says he had to "don protective clothing as if heading into surgery. I even had to pause in an airlock where machines blew off from the protective clothing any particulate matter that might contaminate the powder."
Next week's tea: First of the oolongs, Wenshan BaoZhong
And if, like me, you would enjoy seeing how someone who knows what they're doing prepares Matcha, check out this brief video on YouTube!