A high grade matcha grown without use of pesticides/synthetic fertilizers, this matcha has an umami-rich flavor profile with a slightly astringent side note.
The "Naturally Grown" series are products chosen by Yunomi Tea Merchant Ian that have been verified to be grown without use of pesticides / synthetic fertilizers. Products may also be certified organic according to the Japanese JAS standard (look for the JAS logo on the package).
Flavor Profile - 33/50
Based on our own tasting, this product has the following profile. However, tastings are not conducted side by side, and different water, ambient temperature, etc. may affect the outcome. Please use this profile as a simple guide.
- Umami: 7/10 (10 being the richest umami)
- Creaminess: 6/10 (10 being the creamiest)
- Lack of Astringency: 6/10 (10 being least astringent)
- Lack of Bitterness: 6/10 (10 being least bitter)
- Color: 4/5 (5 being the most vibrant green)
- Texture: 4/5 (5 being most smooth / least grainy)
- Ingredients: Green tea.
- Harvest: Spring
- Grinding date: Printed on label.
- Cultivation: Grown without use of pesticides / synthetic fertilizers. Shaded 3-4 weeks before harvest.
- Packaging: Bag inside resealable bag.
- Storage: We recommend storing one 30-gram bag at room temperature for daily use in the screw top can or resealable bag, and the remaining in your freezer for long-term storage if you buy more than one at once. NOTE: For freezer storage, double-seal in a plastic ziplock bag and tupperware container for maximum freshness and to avoid other food smells from affecting the matcha. Always allow the bag to sit for 24-hours before unsealing to acclimate to room temperature. This avoids condensation from damaging the matcha powder.
Did you know matcha is best when it's freshly ground?
How good your matcha is depends of course on the quality of the underlying leaf. However, producers buy many different production lots from many different farmers. Their skill, the reason why we call them master blenders, is in blending the leaves prior to grinding to create a specific profile in terms of powder color, powder aroma, grain size, matcha color, and most importantly the flavor of the matcha.
While the harvest season can make a big difference in quality since larger autumn leaves will be more bitter and more difficult to grind into fine powder, the harvest year is not necessarily important particularly right after the spring harvest (May - August). At this time, leaves may actually be too fresh to make good matcha--their flavor may create matcha that is very strong in umami but also too bitter. Meanwhile, leaves that have aged over the past year will be more mellow and perfect for balancing the fresh leaf.
Matcha however does get old quickly after grinding. In 6 months after grinding the color will fade, and the aroma will disappear. After 9 months, the strength of the flavor will also fade. As a result, higher grade matcha tends to have a best by date of 3-6 months, while lower grade matcha has a best by date of 12 months in Japan. Western brands often have a 18-24 month shelf life though.
As a rule, we do our best to ensure that the Yunomi branded matcha is never older the 6 months from grinding, and that matcha other brands are never older than 6 months from procurement.
Comparison between Master-class (C1) and Premium (G1)
I had the rare chance to compare two beautiful matcha teas from @yunomitea: • Uji Matcha C1 Ceremonial Grade Masterclass (Conventional) • versus • Uji Matcha G1, Ceremonial Grade (Organic) • Both are so good with aroma of warm oats, an incredibly refined texture, and flavors of lasting flowery, sweetness. • To be able to drink them side by side was a luxury that I am very grateful to have been able to try. Thank you very much @yunomitea for the opportunity. With this experience, I was able to pick out some of their unique characteristics. • The C1 has additional hints of nori, while the G1 has a touch of cantaloupe. The astringency of the C1 transitions quickly to a clean and glowing sweetness at the back of the throat, whereas the G1 has a rougher, earthier flavor that envelopes the palate with sweetness lingering around the base of the tongue. The C1 also seemed to oxidize a bit slower, however this would probably never be noticeable at a normal pace of drinking. • From my small experience of growing backyard vegetables, organically grown vegetables and herbs always tasted superior than conventionally grown ones. So organic matcha's reputation for being less flavorful seemed counter-intuitive. While I was at the Portland Coffee Fest, a nice guy from Sugimoto America explained to me that the main difference between organic and conventional farming methods is that organic teas do not receive fertilizers. As a result, the plants have less resources to build nutrients during the shading process in contrast to conventionally grown. He had also mentioned that the driving force behind the high price of organic matcha is the lack of supply versus rising demand from western markets, and the fact that the EU bans the imports of non-organic tea. Definitely an interesting collision of quality, quantity, sustainability and tradition. • Overall, each of these teas are extremely delicious. I can't confidently say which one was better, because there were multiple times where I preferred one over the other. Much thanks to @kimhakem for graciously whisking the many, many bowls.
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