|"It tasted exactly as one'd expect a white matcha to taste, like white tea but thicker."|
Now I had a chance to dip into their entries in the ever-competitive matcha market, and I must say...they have yet again outdone themselves in terms of variety. Where most vendors only offer one or two types - usually kitchen or ceremonial grade - Red Leaf has twenty-seven (and counting) to choose from. In true form for me, the first I went for out of the sipping gate was the White Matcha.
This marks the second white matcha that has graced my miso soup bowl. The first was an offering from Kenya. For the most part, I liked it, but it tasted nothing like white tea. It was robust and nutty, like someone stone-ground barley and served it. However, I was still happy with it; I didn't even think white matcha existed anywhere else. Maybe it was the Tea Gods shining on me, but now there were two.
Red Leaf's White Matcha differed from the African variety by a fair margin. The color was the same - khaki beige-to-brown - but the aroma was far different. Whereas the other reminded me of a sweeter slippery elm powder, Red Leaf's smelled like...well...white tea - mildly nutty but floral. Even regular matcha differs a bit from regular green tea in scent. There was no mention on Red Leaf's exhaustive product description as to where this was made. As such, it was difficult to judge regional differences accurately.
With my matcha sample, Red Leaf also sent an adorable wooden spoon. In my early days of matcha-makin', I would've been glad for its presence. However, I had since moved on to using an actual chashaku (Japanese bamboo tea scoop) for a standard prep. Chasen, chashaku; I was almost preparing matcha traditionally. Almost. I still had yet to get the much-lauded ceramic bowl. A cheap, plastic miso soup bowl did me just fine.
I decided to prepare this in a koicha (thick tea) style, using 4 chashaku-scoops worth of white tea powder to a little less than 4oz of 165F water. Before pouring in the hot water, though, I trickled some cold into the bowl and pre-sifted the powder to remove unwanted clumps. After a vigorous, forty-five-second whisking, the light-brown liquor frothed up magnificently. The sign of a quality product.
As for flavor, there really isn't much to say beyond a simple word, "Awesome." It tasted exactly as one'd expect a white matcha to taste, like white tea but thicker. I imagined a Bai Mu Dan (White Peony) latte for some reason. The thicker consistency played up the slighter melon aspects a bit more on the front, but the floral notes maintained dominion over the rest of the body. And the best part, it was smooth from the start, never presenting a vegetal kick-back like some regular matchas do. If there was one minor gripe, it was a bit dry on the finish. However, compared to the rest of the experience, I'll deal with it.
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